Wink Emoticon Pumpkin Stencil

There's no real secret to creating this coy emoticon pumpkin when you have our free pumpkin stencil and step-by-step instructions. But when friends inevitably ask how you made it, it's up to you how much you share. You could always just give 'em a wink.

A carved pumpkin this cute deserves a long porch life. Preserve your pumpkin by wiping its carved edges with petroleum jelly immediately after carving; this helps seal moisture in, keeping your pumpkin plump and hydrated. If your pumpkin starts to shrivel, you can prolong its lifespan by dunking the gourd in a cooler filled with ice water. Soak it for up to 8 hours to firm up the pumpkin, then dry it off and re-apply petroleum jelly.

To carve:

1. Cut a circle in your pumpkin's underside and pull out the stringy guts and seeds. Thin out the pumpkin wall on the side you're planning to carve by scraping away the pulp with a stiff metal spoon. (Hint: Scrape until the pumpkin wall is about 1" thick for best carving results.)

2. Attach the printed pattern to the outside of your pumpkin, taping it onto the side you've scraped thin. Transfer the pattern onto the pumpkin's skin by piercing along the stencil lines with a needle tool, keeping needle holes within 1/8" of each other for best results. Detach the pattern.

3. With a thin woodcutting or linoleum cutting knife, saw along the needle holes to carve the design. (Hint: Keep carved sections in place until you've finished cutting the entire design; this reduces the likelihood of breakage.)

4. Prod the cutout pieces out by pressing on them from inside the pumpkin. Smear a thin coat of petroleum jelly on all carved surfaces.


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