It's all too easy to accidentally mangle a curved edge while carving. (Ask us how we know!) Fortunately, a triangle-head clay modeling tool does a beautiful job trimming off irregularities and leaving ragged carved edges smooth again. Find this tool in art supply stores or online.
1. Log in to BHG.com to print out our free acorn stencil pattern. (Hint: If the pattern is too large or small for your pumpkin, resize it with a photocopier for a custom fit.) Smooth the paper pattern against the exterior of your hollowed-out pumpkin, securing it in position with tape.
2. With a pin tool or wooden skewer, reproduce the acorn pattern onto the outside of your pumpkin by punching holes along the stencil lines. Keep pin holes about 1/8" apart for best detail.
3. Carefully take down the stencil, and keep it handy for reference. Locate stencil areas that require etching; they're located within dotted lines. Use a gouge or power etching tool to strip the pumpkin skin off these areas, scraping deeply enough to expose the light orange rind underneath but not deeply enough to puncture the pumpkin wall.
4. Locate stencil areas that require carving; they're located within solid lines. Use a woodcutting or linoleum-cutting knife to cut out these sections, sawing gently along the pin holes. (Hint: To cause less stress to your pumpkin while carving, allow cutout sections to remain in place within the pumpkin wall until the entire design has been carved.)
5. Pop out carved sections by pressing on them from inside the pumpkin, prodding them out and discarding them. Light your acorn design by placing a bright LED candle inside the pumpkin.