You'll have sunshine on even the cloudiest of autumn days with this handsome sunflower pumpkin on your porch. Its crosshatched, etched center and full petals naturally brighten the moods of anyone within eyesight. We backlit this blossom with the glowing sun -- or rather -- a glowing battery-operated LED light.

By Jessica Tull

Just like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds are deliciously edible. Before you toss the pumpkin innards, pick the seeds out to toast as a snack later. To toast, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and spread 1 cup of pumpkin seeds evenly over a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour to dry the seeds out completely. Then take the pan out of the oven, remove the parchment paper from under the seeds, and mix in 2 teaspoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake the seeds for 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring once.

free sunflower stencil pattern

To carve:

1. Log in to to access our free sunflower stencil; print it out and resize it, if necessary, to better fit your pumpkin. Fasten the printed stencil to the side of your cleaned-out pumpkin with clear tape.

2. Reproduce the pattern onto the pumpkin's exterior by piercing the stencil lines with a push pin, creating closely spaced holes. Detach the pattern.

3. Following the pin hole lines, etch the sunflower's center with a wide-blade cutter or gouge. To etch, just shave off slivers of pumpkin skin, uncovering the light-orange rind beneath.

4. Carve stencil areas within solid lines by sawing along the pin hole lines with a skinny wood-cutting knife. With your fingers, press gently on the cutout pumpkin pieces to dislodge them, popping them toward the surface.


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