Make your own Pumpkin animation!

How to make your own Pumpkin Animation like this one by Lesleyanne Rose!

Tools you will need:
A Pumpkin, uncarved (my pumpkin just wanted to hold the sweets). electric candle, scissors, coloured electrical tape, fishing wire, marker pen, two toothpicks, a blunt knife, a spoon, a serrated tool suitable for a young person, lump of plasticine, a small screw and some trick or treat sweets (optional).

You can make the animation on a phone, ipad or device using stop motion animation software. There are free apps out there, this demonstration uses istopmotion app on an ipad.

For this task you are going to transform your pumpkin from a vegetable with no face, to a gnashing, chomping monster. I have been inspired by the Artist Takashi Murakami for the design of my pumpkin.


Use the marker pen to draw the circle of the face of your design onto the pumpkin.

Now looking down to the top of your pumpkin, draw a semicircle like in the photo. This will be your lid.

Cut out the semicircle of pumpkin and keep this piece safe.

Now your pumpkin should look like this. Don’t scoop the insides out just yet.


Now we are going back to the face to plot in the mouth and teeth.

Draw in the teeth. I have coloured the bottom teeth to stop me from cutting them by accident. I have also used the coloured tape to indicate when I need to start following the line of the top teeth. Take a look at image 10 if you are unsure where you should be cutting. Be extra careful cutting the teeth out.

Once you have cut around the teeth, the face will come completely off! Your bottom teeth should still be part of the rest of the pumpkin. Now you can scoop!

Take the lid you cut earlier and cut out two circles as big as you can from your lid. Your circles might not be perfect, it doesn’t matter.

Pumpkins can be all different thicknesses, mine was really thick! If you hold your circle you just cut, the ear part of the pumpkin, roughly in the position you want it and use the marker to measure the width.

You will need to cut a little groove to put the ear into. If the ear keeps falling out, cut one of the cocktail sticks in half, put it into the groove and press the ear onto the cocktail stick. Note: try not to have the ears too close to the pumpkin's face as it will hinder the movement of the gnashing teeth. Use the photo as a rough guide.

Chop the other cocktail stick in half. stick each little half in the side of the pumpkin face, the
small part that you have cut out.

Using the cocktail sticks you need to get the face back on, ever so slightly higher than where it was before you cut it out. This next step is not quite an exact science, I found that if you get one side in first, you can squash the other side in. Once in, the cocktails sticks should act as a pivot and you should be able to move the face up and down with your hand.

Usually, we don’t want to see our hands in the animation so we need to make a system that will hold the teeth in place, once we have moved them. Using a cocktail stick, put a hole through the top of the face, as shown in the photo.

Thread the fishing wire through the hole, as shown in the photograph.

I have used red thread in the next few images so that you can see it, the fishing wire goes across the top of the pumpkin, which is why we use an electric candle, so that the flame doesn’t melt the wire.

Secure the small screw onto the back of the pumpkin. This is for you to wind your fishing wire around to keep the teeth in position. You may have to use some electrical tape as well, on the back of the pumpkin to stop the wire from slipping.

This image shows how the face moves up when I pull the wire, you will need to test the movement on your pumpkin before you start animating.

This is the little icon for the istopmotion application on the ipad.

I have opened the application, I am going to practice a scrap of pumpkin first. In the photo, you can see the pumpkin lid on the table and on the ipad. At the moment, the lid is a bit blurry because I need to focus the camera. Your animation will look miles better if your subject in is focus.

Tap at the top of the screen and a hidden menu bar will pop up. You will see a small grey icon that looks like a movie camera. Tap on this. A box will open with a smaller box inside it marked ‘settings’. Tap on the settings box

A small square should appear on the screen. Drag the square over to your pumpkin and the image should become nice and clear.

The reason I use this software is because it is very simple. On the screen you will see a dot on the right hand side and a triangle on the left. Press the dot and you will take a photograph. the photo you took will appear at the bottom of the screen. Take a second photograph. In the image here you can see a ‘ghost’ image of the first photograph, that is to help you in case you knock something over by accident and need to get it back into the same position.

The basic principle of stop motion animation is that you move something, your pumpkin for example, take a photo (hands out), move the pumpkin again, not to far, small movements, take another photograph until you have taken at LEAST 20 photographs, more if you can! Press the play icon on the left hand side to look at your practice animation. Do you need to take more photographs or move the pumpkin more slowly?

Now you are ready to make your master work. One of my pumpkins wobbled around when I
was trying to animate it and I used plasticine to keep it steady. You can delete frames by holding your finger down on them until they become loose, pull the frame upwards and it will disappear.

You can use any pumpkin to make an animation, if his mouth doesn’t open, he can still spin around and chase another pumpkin or steal the sweets like one of my pumpkins did. Note: Always try and keep the ipad or devise as still and steady as possible! When the ipad is moving around too much the animation will not look as good, you could use a stand or books to prop the ipad in position.

When you are happy with your animation, tap the screen at the top. The word Gallery should appear on the left hand side. Go to the gallery and you will see a picture of your project. Under the picture in the center is the share button, a square with an arrow coming out of it. Tap on this button and you will see a list of options.

Send your spooky animation the Get Creative Family Arts Festival and to friends and family!