Raven Pumpkin Stencil

With just a gentle tapping while your family lies napping, you can trace a stately raven from the famous poem of yore. You'll soak up exclamations from its lovely presentation, and when asked for variations, you'll reply, "No, nevermore. I will ever carve a raven for my Halloween decor." But in all seriousness, this lovely carved raven pumpkin is pure poetry. From its deep-black profile to its etched window perch, this artistic pumpkin carving makes a statement. Who wouldn't want this gorgeous pumpkin by the entry door?

Carving this lovely raven might be the fun part, but finding a good-quality pumpkin beforehand is the most important aspect of ensuring a long porch-life for your creation. Be sure to check pumpkins for hidden soft spots -- a fresh pumpkin will be firm all over, and its stem should be firmly attached.

To carve:

1. Start with a pumpkin you've hollowed out from the bottom, and tape your printed pattern to the pumpkin surface. 

2. Use a pin tool to tap in closely spaced pin pricks along the stencil lines, puncturing the paper into the surface of the pumpkin. Tear off the printed stencil when all lines have been traced.

3. Use a gouging tool to carve the decorative shapes around the window opening, scraping deep enough to reveal the inner rind.

4. Paint the raven black, and allow it to dry.

5. Cut out the opening around the raven with a thin, serrated knife. Retouch paint, if necessary.

6. After paint has dried, lightly mist the raven with varnish to set.

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