Celtic Knot Pumpkin Stencil

Oh, those enigmatic Celtic knots! Their meanings are shrouded in mystery. But if you craft this knotted pumpkin and set it outside your doorstep, at least one meaning will be unmistakable -- that a skillful pumpkin carver lives there.

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Circular Celtic knots are often associated with infinity. While we can't guarantee your carved pumpkin will last that long, there are a few qualities you can seek out to ensure your pumpkin will last through the season. Look for a pumpkin that's weighty for its size, with a green, solidly attached stem; these are all signs of freshness. Run your hands over the pumpkin before purchasing to check for hidden soft spots -- even a small one can lead to quicker rotting.

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To carve:

1. Log in to BHG.com to print out your free Celtic knot stencil pattern. If the pattern is too large or small for your pumpkin, resize it with a photocopier to fit.

2. Clean your pumpkin by carving a circle in its underside and cutting out the interior seeds and goop. Affix your Celtic knot stencil to the pumpkin's exterior with tape.

3. Mark out the pattern on the pumpkin's skin by using a pin tool to pierce tightly spaced holes along the stencil lines; keep pin holes about 1/8" apart for the most detailed results.

4. Tear off the stencil and use a gouge or power etching tool to nick off slivers of pumpkin skin within the etched areas. Be careful not to puncture the pumpkin wall while you etch.

5. Brighten your Celtic knot design by placing a candle in the pumpkin's interior.

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