Acanthus Leaf Pumpkin Stencil

If you're a fan of Gothic architecture, you'll appreciate this new take on pumpkin-carving designs. We featured the acanthus's graceful foliage in this symmetrical pumpkin stencil, nested with a subtle square cross for medieval authenticity. It's elegant enough for a cathedral, but simple enough to carve for your front porch.

Before tracing on this stately acanthus stencil, be sure to select the smoothest, flattest side of your pumpkin to carve. Symmetrical designs can be distorted by surface lumps and bumps, so select a pumpkin with shallow ridges and no warts for best carving results.

To carve:

1. Log in to BHG.com and click above to download the free acanthus leaf stencil. (There's no charge to register, either, if you don't have an account with us yet.) Print out the acanthus stencil and tape it to the smoothest side of your hollowed-out pumpkin.

2. With a large nail, pierce the stencil lines by creating tightly spaced holes through the paper and the pumpkin skin below. (Hint: Keep nail holes within 1/8" of each other for most-detailed results. Be thorough!)

3. Remove the pattern and keep it nearby for reference. Find pattern segments outlined by dotted lines and etch those areas by using a gouge to scrape off the pumpkin's skin.

4. Find pattern segments outlined by dotted lines and carve those areas with a thin serrated crafts knife. (Hint: Carve sections from the center outward for less risk of breakage and leave carved sections in place in the pumpkin until you've carved the entire design.)

5. Gently nudge carved sections out by pressing on them with your fingers from inside the pumpkin cavity. Add an LED candle to your pumpkin's interior and enjoy the Gothic glow!

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