See a step-by-step on this super easy Halloween décor project that is also fun to do with the kids.
Plus, it’s a great use for all that scrap wood you have laying around.
See it All
Below you will find:
- Tool and Material List
- Video tutorial
- Step-by-step written tutorial with snapshots
Tools, Supplies, and Materials
See all of the tools and materials you’ll need for this project.
Power Tool Accessories
- 1×6 is best for a wide face
- 1×4 is what I used for the front/back
- 1×3 is what I used for the sides
Transcript highlights and images are below the video too!
Subscribe to Heartwood Art on YouTube
See each step in the process, with images to help guide you.
Plan the Face
Before you get started with your cuts and build, you’ll want to do a little planning for the Jack o Lantern face.
Side or Front Mount
If you have wide wood, like a 1×6 for the face, then you may want to mount it on top of the side boards.
But, if you have more narrow stock, like a 1×4, which is what I’m using, then you may want to mount it flush to the sides.
This will make the face look wider.
Brad Nails and Side Margin
Whichever way you choose to mount the face, be considerate of where the brad nails and/or side boards will be.
You certainly don’t want to run into either one of them with your jig saw blade when cutting out the face!!
Candle or Light Placement
Ensure that the interior dimensions of your build will have enough room for the light source you intend to use.
Common light sources are:
- Tea light candle
- Battery operated tea light candle that flickers
- String of LED lights
- Low watt light bulb
If using a real tea light candle – plan your Jack o Lantern mouth so that it is high enough not to show the flame directly and wide enough to insert a flame to light it and blow it out.
Cut Box Boards
Cut the sides of your box to equal length.
Mine are 8”.
I used 1×4 boards for the front and back and 1×3 boards for the sides.
Since I’ll be painting this box, it’s okay that these are different looking boards, and since this is scrap wood, it’s also okay that some of them are cupped and not in the best condition. That may also make things a little out of square, but that’s part of the rustic charm of these things.
Draw the Face
I drew my face on paper first, then cut a stencil out using a stiff file folder.
That may come in super handy if you plan to make several of these.
Then I laid that over my face board and traced with a Sharpie.
Jigsaw Blade Type and Size
I’m using my Ryobi jig saw for this project. It has plenty of power and 2 different settings for both max speed and type of wood. So, I was able to dial it in perfectly for this project. And not having a cord to deal with was fantastic!
And I chose Diablo 4” blades for fine wood cutting, as they would leave the cleanest edge.
It’s not easy to sand fuzz off all these interior angles, so a good blade is worth getting.
Drill the Holes
I’ll be cutting on the outside of the Sharpie lines.
So, I drilled holes near to those lines and/or close to tight angles.
Drill as many as you think you’ll need.
I used a 11/32 drill bit, which was just a little wider than my jig saw blade.
Build the Box
I chose to build my box first so that it would be super simple to clamp the back side of it while I cut out the face.
I used the corner lip on my bench to clamp the bottom back piece in place.
Then I used a good wood glue on the side edge.
Brad nails at the top and bottom held the side into place while the glue dried.
And I love this Ryobi brad nailer!!!
Clamp to Attach the Face
Glue up the sides of the face.
Place between the sides and use a clamp to hold it until you can get the brad nails in.
Cut the Face
My workbench is a little high for this project, so I clamped the back of my box to my WorkMate.
That also made it super easy to walk around all sides to get the proper cutting angle without overreaching or being at an odd angle to the jig saw.
Sand the Cuts
A folded piece of 100 grit sandpaper made quick work of any rough edges in the holes cut.
Cut Lid and Base Pieces
Now that we have our final box dimensions, it’s time to cut the pieces for the top and bottom.
I used 1x4s for this, and cut them a bit longer than the box for overhang on all sides.
I cut mine to 6-1/2”.
Cut Top Handle
I used that same 1×4 to cut a 2” piece to use as the handle for the top piece.
Cut Interior of Top Lid
Measure the interior dimensions of the top of your box.
And yes, now you can see why all of this wood was scrap due to its cup. That’s fine for this type of project.
Next, cut a piece that will fit inside.
Don’t try to make it a tight fit. You just want it to be within ¼” to ½” inch on all sides.
Its purpose is only to keep the top from sliding around loosely.
Attach Interior Piece to Top
TIP: Here’s an easy way to ensure you properly position that inner piece on the lid.
Flip over your top piece and put the interior piece in the center.
Then flip your box upside down and place over that interior piece.
Adjust as needed and then remove the box.
Mark the interior piece by drawing a line around the edges.
Now remove and glue it to the lid.
Then secure with 4 brad nails near the corners.
Finish as Desired – I Painted
Since I will be spray painting my Jack o Lantern, I wanted to do that prior to assembly.
I used Krylon spray paints. They were under $4 a can in my area.
I got the gloss finish on each.
Tape the Face
I taped the outside of the face while I sprayed the box interior black, then set it aside to dry.
Paint Top and Bottom
Next I painted the top and bottom pieces black.
I did both sides of them and leaned them against each other to dry.
Next, I put the handle on a rock and painted everything green except the bottom of it.
I wanted to leave that bare wood so the glue would have a shot at sticking to it when I attached it to the lid later.
Paint the Box Exterior
Next, I removed the tape from the outside face and reattached it to the interior of the face.
That would keep the orange paint from going into the box, yet still allow me to paint the interior of the cuts.
I did a quick spray across the top edges and I left the bottom edges bare so the glue would help hold them to the base later.
Attach the Base
After allowing the paint to dry for a few hours, it was time to do the final assembly.
Flip the box upside down.
Spread glue along the edges.
Place the base on top.
Be sure you put the good side down!
Brad nail the base into place.
Attach the Handle
Do a test fit of where you want the top green handle.
Spread glue on the bottom of it and attach.
Then put in a couple of brad nails to hold it.
Because of the piece on the inner part of the lid, you’ll have to nail the handle from the top.
But it’s not likely those little nails will show in that green paint.
Light It Up!!!
And there you have it.
Add your light source to the inside and enjoy!!!