Cute Cat Jack O’ Lantern DIY

Set your pumpkin apart from all the other Halloween pumpkins with a beautifully carved cat Jack O’ Lantern.

If you’re a cat lover, then why not carve a cute cat, instead of a typical Jack O’ Lantern face?

I’ve had so much fun carving pumpkins this year, as this is my second pumpkin and my second one of a cat.

carved face of cat jack o lantern lit with candle on porch railing

The first was a mini pumpkin, where I used a mini carving stencil.

The design for that was the silhouette of a black cat. I also surface/etch carved it, which is a little different, that cutting straight through.

The frustrating thing about wanting to carve a cat design was finding carving templates that were designs of cats. 

I finally stumbled upon some and then compiled all 67 creative pumpkin carving cat patterns into one post. 

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FAQ For Carving A Cat Onto A Pumpkin

How do you make a cat Jack O’ Lantern?

The best way to make a cat Jack O Lantern is by using a pattern to draw the image of the cat.

Just use scissors to cut the paper at different angles so that you can bend the cat pattern around the pumpkin. 

How do you carve a cat in a pumpkin?

Use a paring knife and wood cutting tool to carve away the outlines you have drawn from your cat carving pattern.

The flat blade from a wood carving set will help clean up the edges after using the paring knife.

What tools do you need to carve a Cat O’ Lantern?

You don’t necessarily need an official pumpkin carver kit to make a cat Jack O’ Lantern, but it wouldn’t hurt.

You can usually pick those up at Michaels stores or on Amazon.

Out of all my clay, linoleum and wood carving craft supplies, there were only a few tools I actually used

I found the most useful to be a few wood carving tools and a clay one that served as a scooper. Please see the photo of the materials below.

DIY Cute Cat Jack O’Lantern Materials List

DIY DIFFICULTY LEVEL | EASY

large pumpkin on table ready to be carved into cat design for jack o lantern
materials for making a cat jack o' lantern

Tutorial For How To Make A Cute Cat Jack O’Lantern Step By Step

Step 1. Cut An Opening In The Top Of The Pumpkin

bottom of jack o lantern with cut marks from where it was opened for pulp to be removed

In a Youtube video I watched, someone recommended cutting the bottom of the pumpkin instead of the top, so that you don’t have to look at the cut line.

One big thing to consider here is that if you are going to put a real candle inside, you will need to cut the top off, otherwise, the candle can’t get oxygen and the flame will go out.

I used a battery powered candle and so decided to follow that recommendation of cutting the hole in the bottom, but regretted it. It made for very messy carving.

The bottom piece didn’t want to stay in while I was carving, so pulp kept falling off of the areas I was carving and down through the hole.

Plus whenever I go to turn on the light, I have to keep pulling the bottom off and more pulp comes out.

This may be an issue that you don’t encounter. I think it was because my pumpkin had an unusual texture inside, it was like spaghetti squash.

If you think you may find this troublesome as well, then you may want to cut the standard hole in the top. 

Step 2. Choose And Download A Cat Carving Pattern

Go here to find your free cat pumpkin carving pattern digital download. There are 67 amazingly adorable options to choose from. You can find the cat stencil I used here. It wasn’t free, but it was cheap.

Step 3. Print And Resize The Pumpkin Stencil To Fit The Size Of Your Pumpkin

paper printout of black and white cat face jack o lantern carving pattern

Once you download the pattern, you will probably need to size it to fit your pumpkin. The image I used came 12” x12”.

My pumpkin was a relatively large pumpkin at 10” high, but still smaller than the stencil size.

After playing with a couple of different sizes, I chose to make the design a fair bit smaller than the pumpkin.

I scaled the carving pattern down to 5 ½”. Unfortunately, I can’t instruct you in detail on how to size the drawing because this will very much depend on what software you are using.

If you have design software, it should be a matter of grouping all the objects, then selecting them and dragging them inward.

If you don’t have design software, you may need to scale it by percentage in the printer dialog box.

In which case, you may need to play with it a little. I am assuming that scaling it to 50% should make it about 5”.

When you print this, it will actually work a little better if you use thinner, cheaper paper. Print this in black and white.

Step 4. Trace The Pumpkin Stencil Pattern Onto The Pumpkin

paper printout of cat with scissor cuts on it, taped around pumpkin

First, make angled cuts around the paper, up to the image. This will allow the paper to bend around the pumpkin. Then tape the edges.

awl punching holes on outlines of cat printout so jack o lantern can be carved

Next, use the awl to punch through the paper at the edges of the black. I recommend punching just inside the black lines, rather than right at the edges.

This will give you a little room for error, in case you get too close to the edge. If you notice in this photo, the eyelids and eyeballs are close together.

I took this photo on the backside of the pumpkin because on the front, I didn’t leave room for error.

My cuts were too close and actually ended up cutting these too close together and the eye broke off near the temple. You can see this in Step 5.

polka dots on pumpkin in pattern of cute cat face

Once you have the whole image traced, you can remove the paper. 

outlines of cat face from stencil pattern on pumpkin to be carved

The lines from the awl may be light. Mine were pretty noticeable, but I still found it helpful to trace it with a pen.

You will be cutting out the areas that were black on the paper printout (negative space). It may be helpful to fill those parts in to help avoid any confusion when cutting.

Step 5. Carve The Cat Face Into The Pumpkin

You may find different tools work better for you, but these are the tools I liked using the best. For the bigger, longer lines, the paring knife got the job done quickly.

knife slicing into ear of cat drawn onto pumpkin

First, carve the outline with the paring knife.

ear of cat on pumpkin with cuts made through it -up,down, left, right

Then cut through the middle of that section and chop it up into little pieces. Then push it through into the pumpkin.

wood carving tool carving out shape in cats fur

For the smaller lines, I did the same, but I alternate between the small and large straight cutter, the tiny curved cutter, the regular curved cutter and the paring knife.

The smaller, flat blade cutter is probably what I used the most. 

At the back/inside of the cat Jack O’Lantern, you may have remnants of pulp that get dug up from carving. If so, use the spoon to carefully pull the remnants away from the face.

Note: If you accidentally cut through a part of the pumpkin that should have been attached, it can probably be fixed.

As I mentioned in the previous step, I cut through the eye at the temple.

If you look carefully at the photo above, you may be able to tell that the eye on the left isn’t actually intact. It broke off when I was carving. 

To fix this, I used a toothpick to push through the top eyelid and into the left side of the head.

It worked out nicely that I had plastic toothpicks that were multicolored and one of the colors happened to be yellow.

Step 6. Clean Up The Remaining Debris From The Jack O Lantern

Just go through and use the various tools to scrape away any bits and pieces of sliced pulp, or furry bits that are stuck to the carved edges.

I found the paring knife and straight wood carving tools the most useful for cleaning.

Step 7. Add A Light To The Cat Jack O’ Lantern

carved face of cat jack o lantern lit with candle on porch railing

Make sure you have fresh batteries and turn on the lantern for a glowing design.

Then set your cute cat O’ Lantern out on the front porch to welcome Halloween night trick or treaters.

For other Halloween pumpkin decor, take a look at the shimmery concrete pumpkins and the cement Jack O’Lantern.

And here’s where you can find inspiration for making your own fall decor, and fall wreaths

For other fun for cat lovers, here are 100 cat coloring pages and unicorn cat ones for kids!

Don’t forget to Pin it for later!

Cat Jack O Lantern
Cat Jack O Lantern

DIY Cute Cat Jack O’ Lantern

How to carve a cute cat Jack O' Lantern using a downlaodable free cat carving pattern. Make your pumpkin look professionally carved, for the best Halloween decor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10

Materials

  • Pumpkin
  • Carving pattern of a cat
  • Wood carving tools

Tools

  • Please see the full materials list above the tutorial for details and links.

Instructions

    1. Cut An Opening In The Top Of The Pumpkin And Remove The Pulp
    2. Choose And Download A Free Cat Carving Pattern
    3. Print And Resize The Pumpkin Stencil To Fit The Size Of Your Pumpkin Using Design Software, Or Resize Within The Printer Settings
    4. Trace The Pumpkin Stencil Pattern Onto The Pumpkin Using A Bookbinding Awl
    5. Carve The Cat Face Into The Pumpkin Using A Pairing Knife And Wood Carving Tools
    6. Clean Up The Remaining Debris From The Pumpkin With The Wood Carving Tools
    7. Turn On The Battery Powered Candle And Place It Inside The Cat Jack O’ Lantern

Did you make this project?

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