It's your call how to carve this heart symbol pumpkin stencil. You could carve the design right-side-up, as shown, to make your message perfectly clear. Or you could turn the pattern 90 degrees and carve it text-style. Just follow your heart to decide!
If your heart-symbol pumpkin starts looking sad and droopy, give your gourd a little love by submerging it in a cold-water bath for a few hours. Just fill a bathtub or cooler with ice water and soak the entire pumpkin for up to eight hours. The pumpkin will rehydrate and firm up nicely.
1. Create an opening in your pumpkin by flipping it on its side and carving a circle in the bottom. Pry the circle out with your knife and reach through to pull out the fibrous strings and seeds. Use a metal scoop or spoon to scrape the interior walls clean. Cut off the pulpy side of the pumpkin circle cutout to create a flat surface; this will become a candle platform later.
2. Click above to print the free heart symbol pattern and secure the pattern to your pumpkin's exterior. Reproduce the heart symbol on the pumpkin's skin by poking along the stencil lines with a needle tool, creating tightly spaced holes.
3. Cut out the heart design with a skinny, serrated knife by gently carving along the needle marks. (Hint: Use a sawing motion while carving; this is less likely to cause breakage.)
4. Place the flattened pumpkin circle where you wish to display your pumpkin and rest a battery-operated candle on top of the circle. Set your carved pumpkin over the top of the circle.