Box Jack-O-Lanterns

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Introduction: Box Jack-O-Lanterns

simple wooden boxes made to look like Jack-o-lanterns. Can be cut with a jigsaw, scroll saw, or CNC router. Do a Google image search for "pumpkin faces" to find patterns to use. There are thousands of options to choose from or you can make your own. One cedar fence plank can make two of these box pumpkins with enough left over to fix at least one oops. The cedar fence planks can be purchased at almost every home improvement store for only a few dollars. They are easy to make and fun for kids to assemble and paint.

Supplies

Cedar fence planks work great. The cedar wood is naturally bug resistant, easy to cut/carve, cheap, and rot-resistant. these boxes will hold up for many years of Halloween fun. Brad nails, outdoor wood glue, clamps, a 1 1/4 inch screw, and a piece of a tree limb. Sandpaper and paint or stain are optional.

Step 1: Setup

Choose a design. There are many patterns to choose from when you do a Google image search for "pumpkin faces" or "jack-o-lantern faces". I tried to share the faves I used but the website You can also make your own pattern from your imagination.

If using a scroll saw or jigsaw, cut your cedar planks into four 6x5 3/4 sections and one 5 3/4x4 1/4 section. The cedar planks are 5 3/4 inches wide, so you only need to make one cut per piece to reduce work and waste. There is a total of only 6 cuts per box. Size your image to no more than 4 inches wide and 5.5 inches tall. Draw or transfer the image to one of the 6x5 1/4 pieces of wood and cut the pattern. If you print the image using a laser printer, you can use a hot iron to transfer the image to the wood.

If using a CNC or laser cutter, transfer the image to your software. Size the image to a max size of 4 inches wide and 5.5 inches tall. I have had the most success with doing a full-depth pocket path instead of a contour path. Trust me, you will save time when you don't have to worry about cutting the tabs and cleanup in tight spots. The pocket path might take longer to cut, but it is much easier in the long run and you can use that extra time to sand and cut the other pieces while you wait. You can precut the boards, cut them after carving, or set the CNC up to cut all the pieces at once. I set up my Onefinity Woodworker to cut all the pieces at the same time.


I have included a .svg file that has many of the faces that I used and the cut lines for the correct board length. When creating your toolpath, just move the face you want into the lower space and center it. Then mill out the face and the lines. me extra careful to use plenty of hold-down clamps or double-sided tape to ensure your workpiece does not come loose. Some people use blue masking tape on the waste board and the project material, then use super glue to quickly secure the two pieces together. When done the tape comes right off without damaging the material or the wasteboard.

Step 2: Cut and Assemble

The boards can be assembled as a rough cut or sanded. I prefer the sanded look because it looks more professional and it is easier to paint or stain. The next step is to assemble the box. I like to start by placing the face upside down on a flat surface. Then glue the sides and hold them in place with a clamp, brad nails, or staples. Then I glue the edges of the smaller piece that will be used for the backside. Note that this piece will have the wood grain running horizontally while the larger pieces have the wood grain running vertically. You may have to gently pry open the boards to get the back piece in without scaping off all the glue. There will also be a small gap to be left open at the bottom side of the pumpkin to make room for wires if using a light inside. Remember that your pumpkin face is upside down, so the bottom where the gap should be is now at the top. The bottom of the box will also be left open to make access easier. Flip the box over so that the face is upright. If you did the previous steps on a good flat surface, then the top edge should be flat and will make a good seal with the lid. If not flat, you will need to do some sanding to make it flat. If you leave a gap between the box and the top, the light will shine through ant the gap will be noticeable. Glue the top in place and secure it with clamps, nails, etc... The final assembly is the stem. This is totally optional, but I like the way it looks. You can cut a stem from some scrap or do what I did and cut a short piece of a small tree branch. Pre-drill a hole through the top of the box, it doesn't have to be centered. In fact, it looks better and adds the character if it is off center. Pre-drill a pilot hole into the stem so that it doesn't split when you put the screw in. Tighten the screw from the inside and secure the stem to the top.

Step 3: Finishing

At this point, you are basically done and can proudly display your effort. If you want you can paint it or use a stain to add to the look and durability of your box jack-o-lantern. When finished you can place a light inside to complete the traditional jack-o-lantern look. I highly recommend LEDs for your lights because they are energy-efficient, don't get hot, and are inexpensive. I don't recommend real candles because of the high risk of fire. It is made of very flammable wood after all.

Halloween Contest

Runner Up in the
Halloween Contest

4 People Made This Project!

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21 Comments

0
DanielP578
DanielP578

Question 7 months ago

I didn’t see your file for the faces am I just over looking it?

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jones84790
jones84790

Answer 7 months ago

They wouldn't upload for some reason. I got a failed message every time. Could be a copyright issue. But you can do a Google image search for them. There are lots of free faces but also some you can pay a small fee for.

0
_Vyper
_Vyper

Reply 7 months ago

You could maybe try zipping them first I think I have seen zip files attached to other projects before. Nice Work :)

0
jones84790
jones84790

Answer 7 months ago

I have now included a .svg file with most of my faces. I couldn't include all of them because I don't own the rights to them.

0
dairytech
dairytech

Answer 7 months ago

In the third sentence the author says, "Do a Google image search for "pumpkin faces" to find patterns to use." In other words, you are on your own to find the artwork.

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jones84790
jones84790

Reply 7 months ago

Thanks for your comment. This is my first instructable and I appreciate the feedback. I will update with better pictures and instructions when I have time. I uploaded the faces, dxf files, and my cut files for my cnc multiple times, but the site rejects them every time. It seems that the only files I can use is the pictures I took from my phone. I will post them somewhere else and share the link when I have time. But as far as the faces, there are literally thousands of them online. I suggested the search so that you can find the unique faces that you want instead of the small selection that I used.

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ScottE
ScottE

7 months ago

Great Idea! May be it's just the time of day, but are the sizes correct? May be add a picture of how it is assembled using the sizes given. I know it's just a simple box but... need 2 pcs. one size and 2 pcs. another size and then the top size. Thickness of the wood changes the size of the top.

0
jones84790
jones84790

Reply 7 months ago

Thanks for your comment. This is my first instructable and I appreciate the feedback. I will update with better pictures and instructions when I have time.

0
jones84790
jones84790

Reply 7 months ago

I added more pictures to hopefully show the assembly better. I chose this assembly style because it was easy, it hid a lot of the end grain, reduced the number of cuts, and minimized waste. I am also working on a video to help show the assembly process.

0
j1shalack
j1shalack

7 months ago

An easy way to size the designs to fit is open MS Word.
(May work in other word processors...)
Open new document
In Page Layout, set margins to Narrow.
Insert Table 2x2.
Select Table
In Table Tools set Height to 4" and Width to 3.75".
Copy/paste design in each box.
Resize to fit box.
Print, cut out squares and use.
Note: if printing from laser, you can 'iron' the design to the board.
Be sure to sand smooth, first. .
.

0
jones84790
jones84790

Reply 7 months ago

Thanks for your comment. This is my first instructable and I appreciate the feedback. This is great to know.

0
CheshireCat68
CheshireCat68

7 months ago

I love these!! What CNC Router did you use to make yours, btw, as I am looking to get one myself??..

0
edells
edells

Reply 7 months ago

Bottom of paragraph just above Step 2 - "I set up my Onefinity Woodworker to cut all the pieces at the same time. My cut files will be included in this tutorial."

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jones84790
jones84790

Reply 7 months ago

I have a Onefinity Woodworker. It has been a great machine so far. I highly recommend it. They are making them as fast as they can, but there is still about a 3 month or more wait time. I waited almost 5 months for mine but it was worth it.

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doo da do
doo da do

7 months ago

Nice and Out of Box Thinker. Yeah

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chaoscreationz149
chaoscreationz149

7 months ago

Box-o Lanterns ;) makes me wish I had a cnc or router

0
jones84790
jones84790

Reply 7 months ago

When there's a will there's a way. You can use a drill and a chisel, jigsaw, scroll saw, coping saw, ect.. There are lots of alternatives, but the cnc makes it a lot easier for sure.

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shandafin
shandafin

7 months ago

What a great idea!!!

0
dberthelotsr
dberthelotsr

7 months ago

Great. Gonna do some for this Halloween. Tha