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  • Travis

    Fence Board Jack-O-Lanterns

    Here is a fun little project you can knock out in an afternoon.  These little wooden jack-o-lanterns will certainly delight and add some spooky decor to your house this Halloween.  This project is made from cedar fence boards, so they're super cheap to make, and they look great!

    Step 1

    Pumpkin_01.jpgI'm using cedar fence boards.  Not only are they super cheap (between $3-4 per board) they have a rough-sawn look that will really make the project look great!

    The cedar fence boards have little fuzzies on them.  Using 80 grit sandpaper, I knock off those fuzzies.  I don't want to get it too smooth.  The character of the uneven surface and milling marks is what makes this project sand out.  

    Step 2

    Pumpkin_02.jpgI'm cutting down each of the panels on the table saw.  You can certainly cut out the panels with your scroll saw using the full-sized drawings in the pattern.  I'm making 2 jack-o-lanterns, so I doubled the number of panels I need.


    For each pumpkin, I need two of each of the following:  

    • Top & Bottom
      • 5.5"x5.5"
    • Front & Back
      • 4.5" x 6"
    • Sides
      • 3.5"x6"
    • Caps & Inset
      • 3.5"x3.5"

    Step 3

    Pumpkin_03.jpgI like to paint the inside of the jack-o-lanterns so it reflects the light better.  It's easier to paint them now than later.  For the front and pack panels, I'm taping up the edge.  I don't want any paint on these edges, since it will be visible on the outside.

    Step 4

    Pumpkin_04.jpgI'm giving it a quick coat of white primer, followed by a quick coat of yellow spraypaint.  I don't worry too much about perfect coverage.  In fact, it looks better when there is variation in the coverage.

    Step 5

    Pumpkin_05.jpgI grab my front panel and attach my scroll saw pattern to it.  I use spray adhesive on the back of the pattern, then stick it to the front.

    Step 6

    Pumpkin_06.jpgAt the drill press, I make pilot holes for the blade to fee through.  You can also use a regular hand drill.

    Step 7

    Pumpkin_07.jpgThese patterns are really easy, and you'll be able to knock these out in a few minutes.  I'm using a #3 scroll reverse blade.

    Step 8

    Pumpkin_08.jpgTime for assembly.  I'm using standard wood glue and brad nails to pin it together.  You can also use regular hammer and nails.  Just be careful not to split the wood.

    Step 9

    Pumpkin_09.jpgFor the bottom, II put the box on the bottom panel and trace around it.  I'll use this as a guide so I know where to put my brad nails into.  I don't do any measuring, just eyeball it.

    Step 10

    Pumpkin_10.jpgWith the traced side facing up, I lay down a bit of glue.  I know where the perimeter of the box is, so I know where to drive my nails into.

    Step 11

    Pumpkin_11.jpgThe inset is supposed to fit inside the box so the lid nestles in nicely.  This will be a bit too big and will require some trimming.  Just trim off a little on each end until it fits.  I don't like it too tight, just enough where it will settle in nicely.

    Step 12

    Pumpkin_12.jpgI glued and sandwiched the top panel between the inset and the cap piece.  The cap is only decorative.  I didn't bother nailing this one.  I just put a little weight on the top and let the glue dry.

    Step 13

    Pumpkin_13.jpgWith a propane torch, I went outside and scorched the box.  This is a lot of fun and will make your jack-o-lantern look awesome.  Keep the flame moving, or you'll get uneven scorch marks.

    Step 14

    Pumpkin_14.jpgI'm using a water based stain from Minwax I got at the big-box store.  They can tint the stain any color you want.  Naturally, I chose pumpkin orange.  I applied the stain fairly heavy, then when I was done with the side, I quickly removed the excess with a paper towel.  For the face, I dabbed on the stain, trying hard not to get it into the cuts.  I found it easiest to work on one side at a time.  Apply stain, then quickly wipe it away.

    Step 15

    Pumpkin_15.jpgI found a stick outside and started stripping away the bark.  We'll use this as our stem on our pumpkins.  I like to find interesting parts of the stick, just to add a bit of interest.

    Step 16

    Pumpkin_16.jpgOn the scroll saw, I trimmed off sections of the stick to make the stem.  I also sanded the bottom edge on a belt sander to get it flat.

    Step 17

    Pumpkin_17.jpgI drilled a hole through the top of the box.  I also drilled a pilot hole into the bottom of the stem.  I'll attach the stem with a screw that goes through the bottom of the box and into the stem.

    Step 18

    Pumpkin_18.jpgI painted the stem with regular craft paint.  I painted it on and quickly wiped off the paint with a paper towel before it dried.  This gives the stem a stained look and you can still see the wood grain.

    Once dried, I attached the stem to the lid with a screw from below.  I also tied a bit of raffia around the base of the stem for a little extra pizzazz.

    Step 19


    I'm using battery-powered fairy lights.  I like this set because it had different displays, as well as a remote and timer.  I've put a link to the ones I got here.

    🎃 Happy Halloween! 🎃 

    Final Project


    Fence Board Jack-O-Lanterns

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