I love fall! Butterflies are abundant this time of year. Monarchs are migrating south. Autumn leaves are starting to show their crimson, orange and golden colors. And, then there are pumpkins!
Here are a few ideas on how you can celebrate this wonderful time of year with butterflies and pumpkins.
Monika Moore, the California Butterfly Lady, always creates fun fall butterfly displays using Monarchs she’s raised.
Heather Ward of Heather Ward Wildlife Art carved this Monarch butterfly. She explained, “When carving a pumpkin, it is important to cut out pieces in the right order. Start with the smallest first. In this case, I had a ton of tiny dots. Those were actually the easiest to put in – I just used a drill bit to poke holes in. Then I worked on the smaller patches on the wings, then the larger ones. I still broke a few lines, but it held together. Last, I carved the antennae and upper part of the background circle, then the lower part of the circle.”
This adorable little girl and her butterfly won the 2014 This Old House Pumpkin Carving Contest.
Need some help carving a butterfly? Download this free stencil with instructions from Better Homes and Gardens.
Don’t like scooping out the pumpkin seeds and getting your hands all mushy? Here’s one more project idea that involves absolutely no “pumpkin guts”. These three butterfly-themed pumpkins were carved using surface carving, a design is created by scraping away the tough outer pumpkin rind and creating texture in the softer flesh beneath.
Don’t feel like you are creative? Jill Staake of Birds and Blooms used metal butterfly-shaped cookie cutters and a rubber mallet to make these butterfly designs. She used smaller “pie pumpkins” to create this small collection.
Hollow out each pumpkin as you would for traditional carving. Then, center a cookie cutter on one side and gently tap with the rubber mallet until the cookie cutter goes all the way through the flesh.
Start in the center and work side-to-side to avoid bending the metal. Remove the cut pumpkin along with the cutter, and clean up the edges with a sharp paring knife.
You might want to consider purchasing a Professional Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit to help you carve your pumpkins.
If you raise Monarchs you know that this time of year there is always a shortage of milkweed to feed starving caterpillars. Did you know that you can feed 4th and 5th instar Monarch caterpillars fresh pumpkin?
When you are finished with your pumpkins, save the leftovers for your Monarch butterfly caterpillars.