Introduction: Rustic Pumpkin Lantern

About: I like to design and build random things.

This triangular pumpkin lantern could be a nice addition to your Halloween décor. Basic woodworking skills are needed when working with the wood, as you can see in the directions that follow. To give the lantern an aged timeworn look, the rustic finish uses multiple layers of paint, rough sanding and then an outer layer of oak stain. A final coat of varnish/lacquer seals the finish. Since the pumpkin is made from wood, I would suggest using LED Tea lights for illumination. Then, set your pumpkin lantern out for all to enjoy!

Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Table or Miter Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Band Saw (Optional)
  • Drill & Bits
  • Nail Gun
  • Sander
  • Ruler
  • Pen/Pencil


  • 2x4 x 4 inches
  • 1x12 x 6 feet
  • Nails
  • Wood Glue
  • Yellow Paint
  • Orange Paint
  • Green Paint
  • Black Paint
  • Stain
  • Lacquer

Step 2: Top Level

You will be building to this drawing. The parts are color coded for easy reference.

Step 3: Sides

Cut three 3/4" thick boards to 18” x 10”. I used a table saw for these cuts. You will chamfer the edges later.

Step 4: Top / Bottom

Cut the top and bottom as shown. I used a miter saw for these cuts.

Step 5: Stem

The stem was made from a scrap 2x4. Use a jig or band saw for the rounded cuts.

Step 6: Face

The face design is arbitrary. I chose the 'mad pumpkin' version for the build. Depending on your preferences, I have provided two versions of the drawing. The first is dimensioned. The second can be scaled to fit your pumpkin. If you choose to latter, tape or glue it to the pumpkin for a template for the cuts.

Step 7: Drawing Face

To draw the face on the board, I used the dimensioned version and a french curve to connect the dots. A large jar was used to draw the mouth.

Step 8: Cutting the Holes - Step 1

Use a drill to create starter holes for the eyes, nose and mouth.

Step 9: Cutting the Holes - Step 2

Insert jig saw into starter holes and follow the template shape.

Step 10: Chamfer Edges

Chamfer the long edges to 30 degree angles. I used a table saw for this cut.

Step 11: Attach Side

Attach the sides together with a nail gun and glue.

Step 12: Attach Bottom

Add the bottom with nails and glue

Step 13: Add Final Side

Use nails and glue for the final side. Note that I showed this sequence since I had the pictures in CAD. I actually put the three sides together before adding the bottom.

Step 14: Lid

Attach the stem to the top with a wood screw and glue. I also added lid alignment blocks made from the excess material.

Step 15: Sand

At this point, you might want to try to fill any gaps in the triangular sections with wood filler. After that dries, sand the entire pumpkin to break the sharp edges.

Step 16: Paint - Step 1

For the finish, the rustic look is achieved through a multi-step process. First, apply a thin coat of yellow paint. Its OK if some wood still shows.

Step 17: Paint - Step 2

Apply a thin coat of pumpkin orange paint over the top of the yellow. For an antique look, add a drop or two of black paint to about 1/4 cup of the orange paint. A tiny bit goes a long way. Some yellow can show through.

Step 18: Paint - Step 3

Paint the stem green.

Step 19: Paint - Step 4

Give all the parts a rough sanding. The yellow will show more and there will be bits of wood showing.

Step 20: Paint - Step 5

Apply oak stain over the all the parts. The stain will soak into the bare wood. Wipe off excess stain. Let the lantern dry before adding the lacquer. To seal the finish after staining, add laquer using a paint brush.

Step 21: Paint - Step 6

As a final touch, I spray painted the inside yellow to brighten up the facial features during the daytime.

Step 22: Final Product (Daytime)

Here is the lantern for autumn decorations during the day.

Step 23: Final Product (Night W/Lights)

Night time brings out the beauty of the season!

Halloween Decor Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Decor Contest 2015