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DIY Jack-O-Lantern Jars

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Happy Fall everyone! Tis the pumpkin (or jack-o-lantern) season. While the weather here hasn’t been too fall like until today (Thank you Hurricane Matthew!), Our fall pumpkin patch is already planted and growing, but not nearly ready for harvest. Even though the weather is still a bit warm, I can’t help jumping into fall as soon as the Pumpkin Spice Latte is unveiled. (And speaking of pumpkin spice, you should totally check out these pumpkin spice oatmeal cream pies!) I’ve got a great diy halloween decorations tutorial for you today that uses old jars you’ve got laying around for a fun pumpkin craft!

pumpkin jars

DIY Pumpkin Craft

Not only do I enjoy PSL and fall gardening (it’s so much more comfortable to garden in the fall), but I’m a bit of a jar hoarder. I just can’t bear to throw them away. Even though recycling is an option, I always feel like it’s a better use of resources to reuse instead of recycle. I’ll blame that on this article I read about a family that creates virtually no household waste. I feel a small twinge of guilt with every bag I take to the trashcan after having read her article. But even if we don’t have the gumption to go full-on no waste, I can do my best right where I am.

So, how could I put my jar stash to good use this fall? Decorating! Pumpkins! or Jack-O-Lanterns to be exact. This fun project took an afternoon (with a lot of that being drying time), and now I have jars that can be used as teacher gifts (filled with goodies) or votives for decorating the house. Here’s what you’ll need:

DIY Halloween Decoration Supplies:

Empty Jars (any shape you choose!)

Painter’s Tape


Spray Paint (in orange and green)

Newspaper or Cloth to lay beneath jars

How to make Jack-O-Lantern Jars:

  1. Be sure jars are cleaned of labels and residual glue. Soaking in warm soapy water usually does the trick, but Goo Gone is great for hard to remove glue.

empty jars sitting on table with spray paint in background

2. Lay a strip of painters tape out on a table. Use your sharpie to draw eyes (triangles), noses (triangle), and mouths (any shape you choose) for your jack-o-lanterns onto the painter’s tape. Cut out shapes. Press shapes firmly on glass. Be sure to make sure all edges are adhered so paint doesn’t seep in.

pumpkin jar faces using painter's tape on glass jars

3. Place jars on a paper/cloth covered surface and spray with orange paint. (And paint lids with green paint.) Allow time to dry and apply a second coat. (You could also start with a coat of primer for better paint adhesion, but I’m not nearly patient enough to add another step.)

orange painted jars sitting on box

4. As soon as second coat is dry, remove tape. (Waiting too long could make the tape difficult to remove.) Ta-da!diy jack-o-lantern jar with lit candle inside

Use as a votive in your halloween decor, or fill jars with candy corn and give as gifts to teachers, friends, and neighbors.

I’d love to know how you decorate for fall! And how do you use jars that you have laying around the house? Happy Fall!



DIY Jack-O-Lantern Jars

candy filled pumpkin
Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • Clean jars
  • Orange Spray Paint
  • Painters Tape
  • Votive candle


  • Exacto Knife


  1. Place clean jars on a clean surface outside. Using a pencil, draw eye, nose, and face shapes for your jack-o-lantern on painter's tape. Cut these shapes out and place on the clean jars.
  2. Be sure tape is secured to jars. Shake spray paint well and following instructions on can, begin to paint jars. For extra coverage, allow jars to dry after first coat and apply a second coat.
  3. Remove tape soon after finished painting. If desired, use an exacto knife to cut away any paint that may want to stick and pull.
  4. Once tape is removed and paint is completely dry, place a candle in the jars for a votive or fill with your favorite halloween candy. For a gift, also paint the lids a shade of green. Once they're dry, jars can be gifted!

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