Cute Upcycled Plastic Bottle Pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern


I am an absolute sucker for anything that involves upcycling to create something new and beautiful. This little upcycled bottle turns into a pumpkin is the perfect jack-o-lantern to add to your mantle. Whether you are using this as a decoration for a party or to light up a room, it’s an easy choice to make yours unique! Get kids involved and turn these empty bottles into cute little lanterns that add light and a cute look to any space this Halloween!

Pumpkin lantern on leaves with candles

Upcycled Bottle Pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern

If it includes upcycling, then I am probably excited about making it. This idea isn’t new or unique, but it is super fun and I am sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I do in my house. Lanterns are a bit of a passion of mine. I really just love how easy they are and how they add that soft glow to a room. Spooky evenings around Halloween with a soft glow like this are so much better when you know you made the lantern yourself!

If you are into making lanterns or lights for Halloween, then you’ll love my paper ghost lantern. You will especially appreciate these classic Halloween luminary bags you can add to your walkway. Kids can make this little paper plate pumpkin lantern, or you could get super creative with something like the mummy mason jar lantern or even the scarecrow clay pot lantern. Your whole house will glow with these ideas!

Pumpkin lantern by chalkboard

What Bottles Work for This Pumpkin?

Any little plastic bottle could be used for this project. I like a soft drink or milk bottles since they have easy to cut plastic. You could use cartons from any beverage or even condiment jars if you wanted to use something a bit larger and sturdier. I’ve even made milk jug lanterns that turned out fantastic. Just use your imagination and make it look cute with paint and decorations.

If you are making a lot of these lanterns, then you’ll want to use something easy to find and on hand. My family doesn’t drink a lot of soft drinks, but we do have water bottles on hand all the time. My son also drinks protein shakes before his workouts, so I have him keep those bottles since they are a bit thicker and more sturdy.

Pumpkin lantern on rocks

What Other Characters Can I Make Into Lanterns?

Pumpkins are classic for the Jack-o-Lantern look that glows or is lit with a candle. I like them the most, but you could easily make these into a few other unique Halloween characters if you prefer. Below are a few of my favorite ideas that you could make with a few changes in colors, accents, or additions.

  • Ghosts – paint solid white and add a few black eyes and different shaped mouths.
  • Bats – use extra plastic you cut off or paper for wings.
  • Vampires -add a cape and paint red blood around the mouth.
  • Witch – paint green with black accents or a black hat.
  • Mummy – leave the bottle clear and wrap in white paper or washi tape.
  • Zombie – paint on “brains” and odd-colored skin.

Pumpkin lantern on leaves with candles

What Candle Can I Use Inside This?

While you could use a traditional candle inside this with close supervision, I prefer using flameless candles. Votives and taper candles can both fit into this little lantern, but the shorter flameless candle means you can set it up and let it glow for hours without being close to supervise them. I love anything like this that is safer, especially around children.

You don’t have to use candles inside this lantern. If you prefer, you can use them as candy holders, just simple decorations on your mantle, or part of a display in a window, or even a centerpiece. I prefer lanterns, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

Woman holding a pumpkin lantern

Supplies Needed

Plastic bottle pumpkin lantern supplies

How to Make an Upcycled Bottle Pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern

Cut the bottom off an empty bottle.

Cutting a plastic bottle

Trim the edges smooth.

Spray paint the entire bottle orange and set aside to dry.

Spraying plastic bottle

Use a candle or lighter to melt the edges where you cut the bottle.

Melting rough plastic edges on pumpkin

Use a marker or paint pen to draw on large oddly shaped eyes, nose, and a mouth then fill them in with the marker.

Drawing face on pumpkin

Place a flameless candle inside the lantern.

Putting a candle inside pumpkin lantern

Display it with your other Halloween decorations.

Pumpkin lantern by chalkboard

More Halloween Decorations

When Halloween rolls around, it’s time to add all of the fun and spooky decorations around your home. I love everything from the yummy treats on the dessert table to the crazy costumes. You can find a few more choices below to add to your Halloween crafting this year. Included are everything from kids crafts to some great additions to hanging in your front yard!

Crafting Tip

If you don’t want to paint your lanterns, you can pick up this set of pumpkin face SVG files to cut out your own faces. You could even use your Cricut to print these on sticker paper! This, or perhaps a stencil, can make creating unique faces on your lanterns easy to manage. You don’t have to create one freehand if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Yield: 1

Pumpkin lantern on leaves with candles

Use an empty bottle to create this cute upcycled bottle pumpkin Jack-Lantern! This is a perfect addition to your Halloween decorations this year!

Active Time
5 minutes

Additional Time
15 minutes

Total Time
20 minutes

Difficulty
Easy

Estimated Cost
$1

Instructions

  1. Cut the bottom off an empty bottle.
  2. Trim the edges smooth.
  3. Spray paint the entire bottle orange and set aside to dry. Spraying plastic bottle
  4. Use a candle or lighter to melt the edges where you cut the bottle.
  5. Use a marker or paint pen to draw on large oddly shaped eyes, nose, and a mouth then fill them in with the marker.
  6. Place a flameless candle inside the lantern and display it with your other Halloween decorations. Woman holding a pumpkin lantern

Notes

Use different colors of paint to create different characters like ghosts, bats, or spiders.

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Finished Project Gallery

Make these in different sizes using things like water bottles, milk cartons, or 2-liter containers from soda.

Pumpkin lantern on leaves with candles

Add happy faces, goofy faces, or scary faces to these to give a unique look.

Pumpkin lantern on white surface

Tuck them along your mantle with other Halloween decorations.

Pumpkin lantern on a stump



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