Learn how to create an easy DIY Pallet Jack-O’-lantern! This great family project will get everyone in the Halloween Spirit.
Building this Jack-o’-lantern using pallet wood is a great family project; everyone can participate in building one of the greatest Jack-o’-lanterns of all time! Depending upon the availability of pallets near you, your yard could be filled with inexpensive Halloween décor that would get the family ready for all the fall festivities that come with Halloween.
This project is easily customizable for your space — Make your Jack-o’-Lantern as large or small as you’d like! They look great painted, but they add a lovely rustic touch when left unpainted as well. Add them to a display of gourds, haybales, cornstalks, DIY Wooden Pumpkins and this DIY Candy Corn Décor for a beautiful fall display.
Tools and materials you will need for this project.
- Jigsaw blades
- Drill bits
- Wood glue
- Wood clamps
- Measuring tape
- Carpenters square
- Screwdriver or wood chisel
- Pallets or salvaged wood
Let’s get started.
Step 1 – Cut the slates from your plates.
Cut the slats from the pallet using your jigsaw. Cutting each end as squarely as possible will save you some aggravation when you are putting everything together.
Step 2: Determine the size Jack-o’-lantern you want to build.
Determine how large you want the Jack-o’-lantern to be. To minimize the amount of cutting needed I would suggest using the width of the slates to determine the overall width and height of the jack-o’-lantern.
The pallets we are using today have slats that are 3 1/2 inches wide. To minimize the amount of time cutting with the saw, we could use 2 boards and have a 7 1/4 inch jack-o’-lantern or 3 boards and 10 3/4 inch Jack-o’-lantern. I have chosen to use three boards for each wall; they will be a little more than 10 3/4 wide.
Step 3: Form an assembly platform.
An assembly platform made up of a couple of scrap 2 x boards will provide the clearance needed to install the wood clamps once all the walls are assembled.
Step 4: Assemble the walls.
Place the wall boards side by side on the assembly frame, and check the squareness of the boards with a carpenter’s square. Two of the walls will need to be assembled with horizontal pieces short enough for two of the walls to be flush with one another. Two of the walls will have full-width horizontal boards.
Step 5: Apply glue to the horizontal boards and assemble another wall.
Once they are square it’s time to apply the glue to the horizontal boards and place them evenly from top to bottom. Make sure to leave room (the thickness of your boards) at the top and bottom for the inset of the floor and top of the jack-o’-lantern. Placing a sheet of paper between each layer will prevent the glue from oozing to the layer below. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have 4 walls built.
Step 6: Remove the wood clamps.
After about twelve hours you should be able to remove the clamps, separate each wall and begin assembling the jack-o’-lantern. If the glue has oozed between layers you may need to use a chisel or screwdriver to wedge them apart. I had to separate two walls using a screwdriver.
Step 7: Assembling the walls.
Now it’s time to attach the walls. Match your walls edge-to-edge to create a square. Make sure the walls are flush with one another. Tip: Laying one wall on the work table or having a helper stand each wall on end and match the corners while pilot holes are drilled and screws are inserted are two great ways to accomplish this task.
Step 8: Create the Jack-o’-lantern face.
With the walls secured it’s time to cut out the face for the jack-o’-lantern. First, draw the face you would like to create. Second, use a 3/8 drill bit to create holes in areas where you will be changing directions or starting/stopping. I like to use a thinner jigsaw blade to help get around the corners
Step 9: Create the top and bottom for the Jack-o’-lantern.
Building the top and bottom is going to require ripping the final slat down to fill the remaining gap left after adding the first two slates. I used 4 slats 10 3/4 inches long, then measured the width of the final board for the top and bottom.
Step 10: Add finishing touches.
This step is optional–It’s all up to you! If you want a pop of color, paint it! If you want a smoother, more store-bought finish, you could sand it. Adding a wood sealant will help protect it from moisture if you want to keep it in great condition for years to come. If you prefer the rustic, farmhouse style, leave it bare and allow the weathered look to show.
For a special spooky touch, place battery-operated candles inside. This will help the face glow at night, inviting trick-or-treaters and adding a beautiful glow to your yard!
More DIY Halloween Projects:
- This DIY Candy Corn Décor is an inexpensive, easy way to get the family ready for Halloween without breaking the bank.
- These DIY Halloween spiders are another simple decoration that the kids will enjoy putting together and finding spooky spots for them to hide.
- Cute DIY Bats can be hung from the porch or placed on a mantle for a super simple project that will be fun for kids!
- These DIY Wooden Pumpkins are super easy and great for indoor or outdoor fall decorations!
- Making a Corn Husk Wreath is another way to embrace the changing season.
- Bring the fall vibe to the table with this DIY Pumpkin Centerpiece! Keep them natural or paint the pumpkins white, gold, or your favorite color for a fun customized holiday spread.
Want more? Check out this list of Easy DIY Halloween Decorations!