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Shaved and Carved Harlequin Gourd

Create an unusual and beautiful Halloween decoration by carving a harlequin pattern into a gourd.

Materials and Tools:

pumpkin or gourd (fresh or foam)
pumpkin-carving tools or sharp knife
shaving tools (rotary tool or wood-carving tools)
masking tape
spool of thread
cup hook
string of Christmas lights

Steps:

1. If using a fresh gourd, cut a hole in the bottom and remove the seeds.

2. Tape two strands of thread every 1/2 inch to 1 inch around the top of the gourd. The closer the threads are, the more diamond shapes will be created. Also important, the larger your diamond pattern is, the easier it will be to carve out. Try to leave about 2 to 3 inches between the lines.

3. Separate the two strands into an upside-down V and tape the separate pieces of thread to the bottom of the gourd. Do this for each pair of thread strands until you've created the diamond pattern all the way around the gourd.

4. Once the harlequin pattern is created, there should be about three rows of diamonds. Carve out every other diamond shape on the first row. Leave the middle row solid and repeat carving on the bottom row. Use the pumpkin-carving tools or a sharp knife for this.

5. Shave (remove just the top layer of pumpkin skin) the remaining diamonds on the first and third rows. A rotary tool or wood-carving tools would work well for this.

6. To make sure the string of lights fills the gourd from top to bottom, insert a cup hook into the upper part of the gourd. Hang the lights from the cup hook and position them so they will illuminate the pumpkin evenly.

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