Halloween DIY – Jack-o-Lantern Light-up Box

Halloween is right around the corner. My wife and daughter really have big plans this year for our Halloween decorations. They volunteered me to complete some woodworking projects to help with decorating. Of course, I did as was told and got to work. There are three projects that I have completed and will be staging in the front yard either this weekend or the next. For each project, we will have a post on the BLOG, with details of the build, and a video on our YouTube channel demonstrating how it was built. Sorry, husbands, hopefully I’m not setting you up for a “honey do” as well!

The three projects include:

This BLOG post will focus on the Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box that I’ll build and put lights inside to show the scary face. The YouTube video covering the same is provided here.

Completed Jack-O-Lantern Light-up Boxes with lights on.
Completed Jack-O-Lantern Light-up Boxes with lights on.

Cutting the Wood

Proceed with marking and cutting all the wooden pieces needed for the assembly. Each box requires the following boards:

  • 2 – 10″ by 11 1/2″ for the Bottom and 3rd level top
  • 1 – 8 ” by 7″ for the 2nd level top
  • 1 – 3 5/8″ by 3 5/8″ for the 1st level top
  • 4 – 16″ by 7 1/4″ for the four sides
Cutting lumber needed for Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Cutting the base boards

Draw and Cut out the Scary Faces

Next step is to draw the eyes, nose and mouth onto one of the side pieces (16″ x 7 1/4″ board). You can be as creative as you want. This is not an artist competition (thank goodness). You just need to draw a face to start out with.

Drawing the scary face for the Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
A “not exactly scary” face, but good enough drawing of one.

You will need to drill a hole into the mouth, nose and both eyes in order to get your jigsaw blade through. I used a 3/4″ bit to drill the holes. Unfortunately, my cordless drill died in process so was forced to pull out a heavy, but powerful, hammer drill. It worked until I remembered I had a really old cordless drill that still works with the same batteries.

Cutting a hole to fit the jigsaw in order to cut the eyes, nose and mouth on the Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Drilling holes into face to use the Jigsaw to cut facial features.

Now that we have he holes cut, we can cut out all the facial features with the jigsaw.

Using the jigsaw to cut the eyes, nose, and mouth for the Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Cutting the facial features with the jigsaw
Completed cut-out face for the Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Completed “scary” face

Assembling the Light-up Box

The first part of the assembly is to screw together all four sides. These are the 16″ x 7 1/4″ boards.

Screwing the box boards together for the Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Screwing the box together
Screwing the box boards together for the Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Screwing the box together
Screwing the box boards together for the Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Getting the base ready to install
Screwing the box boards together for the Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Center top pieces and screw into 3rd level top board

Final Construction

Use wood filler to fill in the indentations that the wood screws leave as they are screwed through the top of the box. Once dried, use some #220 sandpaper to sand it to a smooth finish.

Putting wood filler into holes on top of Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box.
Applying the wood filler to the wood screw holes

Spray paint the box black so only the face will show when light is projecting inside the box.

Attaching the Lights

The led lights I choose operate using a remote control and can be set on a timer. They run on three AAA batteries. The lights can be setup to be white or will rotate through a number of colors. I found these on Amazon. They seem to work pretty well but have no idea on how long the batteries will last. We will find out pretty soon.

They come with a 3M double-sided sticker that I used to attach to the inside bottom of the top.

Installing the puck lights on the inside bottom of the Jack-o-Lantern Light-up box top.
Lights attached to inside bottom of the top.

Completed Light-up Box

This was really a pretty simple project to put together. All we have to do at this point is to paint the boxes. I am painting them black.

Three Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up boxes.  One painted and the other two ready to be painted.
One finished and two ready to be painted black.

I finished this project with 3 total Jack-o-Latern Light-up boxes. The final product is shown below:

Completed Halloween DIY Jack-o-Lantern Light-up boxes ready to be staged in the front yard as part of the Halloween decorations.
Completed Jack-o-Lantern Light-up Box with lights installed.

Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Light-up Box

A box with a scary jack-o-lantern face backlit so the face is illuminated at night.
Keyword: Craft, DIY, Halloween, Holiday, Light-up, Lightbox, Project, Scary, Wood, Woodwork, Woodworking

Equipment

  • Combo Saw or other type of saw
  • Cordless Drill
  • Square, for marking measurements on board
  • Pencil, for marking measurements on board

Materials

  • 2 1 x 12 Board Cut 10″ x 11 and 1/2″ 3rd Level Top and Bottom
  • 1 1 x 8 Board Cut 8″ x 7″ 2nd Level Top
  • 1 1 x 4 Board Cut 3 and 5/8″ x 3 and 5/8″ 1st Level Top
  • 4 1 x 8 Cut 16″ x 7 and 1/4″
  • 1 Can Paint, Black Spray
  • 1 Wood Filler To fill in wood screw holes on top
  • 4 1 and 3/4″ #8 Wood Screws For screwing together top
  • 1 box 1 and 1/4″ #8 Wood Screws For screwing everything else together
  • 1 Sandpaper, #220 grit
  • 3 – 6 Lights, Puck (Battery operated) To light up the box

Instructions

  • Measure and cut 2 boards with measurements of 10″ by 11 1/2″ from a 1″ x 12″ board.
  • Measure and cut 1 board with measurements of 8″ x 7″ from a 1 x 8 board.
  • Measure and cut 1 board with measurements of 3 5/8″ by 3 5/8″.
  • Measure and cut 4 boards with measurements of 16″ by 7 1/4″ from a 1 x 8 board.
  • Ensure you sand the edges with some #220 grit sandpaper to make sure you don’t get any splinters while working with the wood.
  • Draw scary face with eyes, nose and mouth on one of the 16″ by 7 1/4″ boards. Be as creative or artistic as you desire.
  • Use 3/4″ drill bit to drill holes inside of the eyes, nose and mouth drawn on your board.
  • Use jigsaw to cut out your design for the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Use 1 1/4″ screws to assemble the 4 sides into a box.
  • Center bottom board and faster to bottom of box with screws.
  • Center first and second level top boards over the 3rd level top board. Use 1 3/4″ wood screws to secure all three boards in position for the top.
  • Apply wood filler or putty in the hoses left on the top board. Let dry and sand to a smooth finish.
  • Apply black spray paint to entire Light-up box.
  • Install lights on inside bottom of top.
  • Setup out where you want the boxes and enjoy your handiwork!


I’ll make sure to post a picture of it in the front yard all staged out. This was a really fun DIY build and didn’t take too much effort to do. Take advantage of the time you can spend together with your family and make memories. As always, don’t forget to enjoy the simple life! Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts.

Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

Check out the other Halloween DIY projects:

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6 thoughts on “Halloween DIY – Jack-o-Lantern Light-up Box”

    1. It sure was. I don’t get to use my jigsaw that often so it was fun cutting out the eyes, nose, and mouth. The other challenge was to light it up. I found some pretty good LED lights on Amazon that will work. I can’t wait to see how they are going to look in the front yard. Thanks!!

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