Wheat Stalks Pumpkin Stencil

Deluxe pumpkin-carving kits are fabulous, but home-scrounged tools can yield great-looking results, too. A stiff metal spoon can easily replace a pumpkin scraper, and a long nail is a great substitute for a needle tool. Experiment with different instruments, whether specially designed or found in your garage, to achieve your desired look.

To carve:

1. Tape the printed wheat stalks pattern to the side of your hollowed-out and scraped pumpkin, flattening the paper as best you can as you tape. Mark the pumpkin surface by piercing holes along the stencil lines with a needle tool or large nail, keeping holes within 1/8 inch of each other for best results.

2. Pull off the pattern, and keep it close by. Refer to the pattern to locate areas within dotted lines, and etch those areas with a gouge or sharp craft knife. To etch, peel away the pumpkin's top layer, revealing light-color rind below.

3. Refer to the pattern to find areas within solid lines, and cut out those areas by carving along the pin holes, sawing gently from point to point.

4. Dislodge cutout sections by pressing gently on them from inside the pumpkin; discard excess pumpkin pieces.