We're not completely certain if we'd allow a rat in our kitchen, but this mousy chef is certainly welcome on the porch! With his sweetly whiskered, grinning face and adorable chef's hat, this fun pumpkin stencil project will be a definite hit with the kids -- especially if you carve it after watching everyone's favorite rat-chef movie. Click below to grab our free stencil!
Gray pumpkin varieties, like Jarrahdale pumpkins, are a wonderful option for simulating this chef's mousy coat. For a white rat, try carving this design on a White Lumina or Moonshine pumpkin.
1. Cut a circle from the bottom of your pumpkin and reach through the opening to clear out the seeds and guts. Level the pumpkin circle with a knife, slicing off the pulpy side to create a flat surface. Scrape the pumpkin's interior walls clean with a metal scoop.
2. Create ears by cutting two similar-sized ovals from the leveled pumpkin circle. Slice off the smaller side of each oval to create a flat edge. Set the ears aside.
3. Resize the stencil pattern to better fit your pumpkin by enlarging or reducing the image size with a photocopier. Smooth the printed pattern against the surface of your pumpkin, attaching it with tape.
4. With a needle tool, trace the pattern onto the pumpkin's surface by creating closely spaced needle holes along the pattern lines. (Note: It's only necessary to trace the eye and mouth outlines; a 3D nose will be added later.) Remove the stencil pattern.
5. Carve the eyes by sawing gently along the needle holes with a skinny woodcutting knife. Etch the mouth by using a gouge to peel away the pumpkin's top layer of skin.
6. To create a nose, cut off the stem-end of a gray gourd. (We used a Gray Hubbard squash.) Cut six lengths of floral cloth wire and push the wire pieces into the nose as whiskers. With wooden skewers, attach the nose to the front of your pumpkin and attach ears to the sides of the pumpkin, placing the flat side of each ear flush against the pumpkin.
7. Crown your rat chef with a chef's hat and arrange a wire whisk and checkered dish towel nearby to round out the scene.