Pumpkin designs that contain symmetry, like this flourish stencil, look best on a smooth, flat pumpkin. A lumpy surface can throw off the symmetry, resulting in a lopsided design. When selecting a pumpkin, look for gourds with shallow ridges and at least one flat side with no warts.
1. Tape the printed art nouveau flourish stencil to the outside of a pumpkin that's been cleaned and scraped. (Hint: For easier carving, scrape the inside of the pumpkin on the side you're planning to carve until the pumpkin wall is no thicker than 1".)
2. Score the design onto the pumpkin's surface by piercing the stencil lines with a wooden skewer or large nail. Keep holes within 1/8" of each other for best detail. Tear off the pattern and keep it close by.
3. Review the pattern to find etched areas, which are located within dotted lines. To etch these areas, use a gouge to peel off the pumpkin skin, revealing the rind beneath.
4. Review the pattern to find carved areas, which are located within solid lines. Carve these areas with a sharp serrated knife by sawing gently along the nail holes.
5. Gently press on carved sections from within the pumpkin to nudge them out. Wipe a thin coat of petroleum jelly on carved and etched surfaces to help keep the pumpkin fresh.
6. Light up your art nouveau flourish design by placing an LED candle inside the pumpkin cavity.