When night falls and the moon’s aglow, our Jack-o’-lanterns light the show!


I am sure you are wondering why I would make a pumpkin lantern out of paper when I could just carve a pumpkin. Well the answer is that when I used to live in Vancouver, I lived right next to a lake, Trout Lake, and every year in late August they would have a lantern festival.

Everyone would make their own lanterns and come to the park in the evening and have a processional all around the lake. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Some people made floating lanterns and would set them out on the lake and the reflections of the lights on the water was breathtaking. Beautiful music played in the warm summer air and the gold glow from all the lanterns filled the park. It was magical!!!

The memory of those serene lanterns crept into my mind recently and gave me the idea to make a pretty pumpkin lantern for fall.

Hand Crafted Society pin

Imagine, how happy I was to have this idea and then be asked to join as a guest with the Hand Crafted Society! The Hand Crafted Society is a group of talented bloggers who once a month share a diy project. They are all so creative and I know you are going to love their projects.

This month, the theme is pumpkins, so my pumpkin lantern is perfect!

If you are coming over from Missy’s blog, Sonata Home Design, welcome. Missy is the true expert on color and her pumpkin floral arrangement is so beautiful, vibrant and perfect as a fall centerpiece!

So let’s get started but first how about a jack o’lantern joke?

Why are jack-o’-lanterns so smart?
A candle makes them bright

Materials for pumpkin lantern:

Materials for gold pumpkin lantern
  • 5 pieces of brown cardstock paper (8.5 inches wide x 11.5 inches long) (250 GSM is the ideal choice)
  • tissue paper or fabric (9 feet long and 5.5 inches wide)
  • mason jar
  • battery operated candle
  • white tissue paper
  • glue stick or glue gun
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • pencil

Step 1: Creating panel supports

For this pumpkin design, we are going to create eight separate panels to create the structure of the pumpkin.

Describing in words how to do this can be a little hard, so I am going to give you a sketch with the dimensions of what needs to be done and then will also describe it. While I am showing it to you on white paper, be sure to actually do it on your brown cardstock. White paper just allowed the dimensions to show up better.

Dimensions and diagram for pumpkin lantern panels
Close up of dimensions of pumpkin lantern panels

Sketch out the panels, by measuring out two strips 3 inches wide.

These panels are going to taper to the widest point in the middle and down to the narrowest part at the ends. Mark the center point vertically. On the ends, measure 3/4 inch in from each vertical line leaving a space of 1.5 inches in the middle.

Repeat until you have 8 panels.

Cut out panels.

Fold panels in half.

Brown paper with pencil marks for panels
Panels cut out for pumpkin lantern
Panels for pumpkin lantern folded

Below is another diagram with dimensions and visual photos to show you what to do.

From the outside edge, measure in 1/2 inch all the way along the long side and the two short sides as shown below.

Measurements for cutting out center of panel
Close up of panel with cut out dimensions

Cut along that line.

Showing panel being cut
Showing panel cut out
Showing panel cut out

Here is what you will actually be doing on your brown cardstock panels.

Measuring for cutout on panel
Measuring for cutout on panel
Creating structure for lantern

Step 2: Covering the panels with fabric

Lay the paper panel on your fabric or tissue. Cut around leaving a half inch of fabric on all sides.

Fold over and affix with glue. I tried a glue stick and it worked well but it was slow because I had to hold it down for so long. I switched over to a glue gun because it went much faster.

Laying out gold fabric on panel
Covering strips with gold fabric

Step 3: Create a top and bottom for the mason jar

Place the mason jar on the brown cardstock paper and trace out the top and the bottom.

Drawing a circle on paper around the top of a mason jar
Drawing a circle on paper around the bottom of a mason jar
Brown topper and bottom

With the top piece, place it on the fabric and cut approximately a 1/3 of an inch extra all the way around.

Fold the edges of the fabric over and affix with hot glue.

Set aside.

Wrapping fabric around round cardboard circle
Gluing fabric onto round cardboard circle
Gold fabric for top of pumpkin lantern

Step 4: Creating the lantern

Place the bottom round circle on a flat surface.

Evenly space the panels around the edge of the circle with the good side facing up.

Place hot glue under the base of the panel that is on the circle and make your way around the circle attaching all of the panels to the round circle.

Let dry.

Flip over so that the bad sides of the panels are facing up.

Panels for pumpkin lantern laid out on a counter

Step 5: Optional – mason jar prep

This step is optional. I did not want to see the mason jar and the candle as I felt that would be too busy and would take away from the pretty gold sheet panels of the lantern.

I wrapped tissue paper around the mason jar and affixed it with tape.

Place the mason jar on the brown paper base circle as seen below.

Placing mason jar with tissue on it in center of panels

Step 6: Affixing panels to mason jar

Pull the panel up perfectly vertically and affix the end of the panel to the edge of the mason jar with hot glue. Hold until dry.

Make your way around the mason jar with each panel. You may need to overlap the panels depending on the size of your mason jar.

Gluing each panel to the top of the mason jar

It should look like this in the end.

All panels glued to the top of the mason jar

Step 7: Creating the pumpkin stem

Using the leftover piece of cardstock from creating the panels, we are going to create a simple stem. There are many ways to create pumpkin stems and most involve many more steps than this one. I wanted to create a very simple stem, that was quick to create.

Fold the strip of cardstock in half.

Fild the last 1 inch of paper on either side outwards.

Draw a half circle with a pencil.

Brown piece of cardboard folded in half
Brown cardboard folded in half with base folded outwards

Now, draw a one dimensional pumpkin stem.

Cut out.

Place glue on one side down to the fold line. Do not place glue below the fold line.

Press the other side of the stem into the glue.

Drawing pumpkin stem on brown cardboard
Gluing brown paper stem together

Fold the bottom portion out.

Twist the upper portion as seen below.

Brown paper pumpkin stem

Place glue on the two outward flaps and affix to the round top circle covered in fabric.

Insert battery operated candle inside mason jar and turn on.

Place the faux stem on top of pumpkin lantern.

Gold pumpkin lantern stem

Style & enjoy!

I placed the pumpkin in front of an old fashioned gold framed mirror to show the reflection on all sides.

A few gold candlesticks around and a branch of brown velvet pumpkins complete the look.

Pumpkin lantern with brown velvet pumpkin stems and gold candlesticks in front of a mirror

Next I tried it as the centerpiece in a tablescape. It was the perfect addition as a tabletop pumpkin lantern due to it’s cordless design, easy setup and less smelly than a real pumpkin can be.

Top view of pumpkin lantern

For the tablescape I started with a base of a burlap runner down the middle of the table. In the center, I placed a pumpkin charcuterie board and put the pumpkin lantern on top.

Two cutting boards were placed on either side of the centerpiece. Velvet pumpkin sprays and gold faux fall leaf garlands were wound down the center of the table.

On the china cabinet, I placed pampas grass and old sticks in a vase, a gold mirror and small gold pots filled with neutral faux flowers and twig pumpkins. On the left side is a candeholder placed in a large gold bowl with hydrangea and small sweater pumpkins.

Dining room with gold pumpkin lantern

The table setting is a layering of a rattan charger, a gold charger and vintage plates with a neutral napkin in a rattan napkin ring. For this I would use gold cutlery as well along with the beautiful gold stemless wine glass.

Table setting for gold pumpkin lantern

Festive and pretty!

The extra good news is that your whole family and your guests will enjoy the simplicity of this centerpiece and still be able to speak to each other without their views being hampered by large arrangements.

Gold pumpkin lantern in tablescape

Do you have time for another joke?

How did the jack o-lantern quit smoking?
He used a “Pumpkin Patch”

Halloween version of the pumpkin lantern

As Halloween is just right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to create a spooky Halloween pumpkin lantern. For this one you will need:

  • Dollar store Halloween tablecloth
  • Black cardstock paper
  • Battery operated candle
  • glue gun & glue sticks
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
Materials for black pumpkin lantern

Follow all the steps above for making the gold pumpkin lantern except when it comes to laying out the panels on the tablecloth, be sure to frame up the scenes.

My tablecloth had a ghost, cat, witch, cobweb, etc. I wish I could have used the pumpkins with the diabolical grins but they were horizontal rather than vertical.

Simply place the paper panel on the fabric and cut 1/2 inch excess around the panel, fold over and glue.

Paper cutout for black pumpkin lantern

Space out your scenes so that they don’t repeat beside each other. If you look below you will see that I have two ghost panels so I placed them on opposite sides to each other.

It is very important to make sure that when you glue to the bottom circle of cardstock that all of the images are in the right direction. You do not want to have an image upside down, so take care in this step.

Assembling black lantern

Follow the rest of the steps as you did with the gold lantern, including making the pumpkin stem.

I did not cover the black cardstock with fabric as I did not feel it would show up, so I skipped that step.

Look how cute all the different scenes look!

Be sure to check out those reflections in the mirror!

Ghost on pumpkin lantern
Witch on pumpkin lantern

RIP and cat on pumkin lantern
Spider web on pumpkin lantern
Cat on pumpkin lantern

Now how about a fun tablescape to go with the Halloween pumpkin lantern?

Black pumpkin lantern tablescape

For this I used my Halloween decor consisting of some black cobweb style charger plates, a gypsy style scarf as a table runner, black with copper interior wine glasses, black candlesticks, silver and black faux pumpkins and rose gold cutlery.

Black Halloween tablescape

A few spiders here and there, purple pumpkins and black cheese cloth draped over the mirror complete the scene for a festive touch.

These pumpkins could be used elsewhere such as front porches, in living rooms, in cabinets, or even in children’s rooms. The good news of these lanterns is that using a battery-operated candle makes them safe rather than using a real candle.

Did you enjoy this project?

I hope you enjoyed this project. If you did, please leave a comment below as I love to hear from all of you!

How about one last joke?

What’s the problem with eating too much pumpkin pie? You’ll get autumn’y ache.

Time to check out the other projects!

Next up is Susan from Hen and Horse Design and she has the sweetest Dollar Tree wire pumpkin wreath.

For the rest of the projects, just click on the images or names below.

Pin it for later

Pumpkin lantern diy pin

Shop my post

If you are looking for the products that I used to make this pumpkin lantern, they are linked below. Just click on the bolded description and you will be redirected to the product. Should you decide to purchase the product, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Earning this commission is how I am able to provide free tutorials like this one so I greatly appreciate your support!

Brown cardstock paper

Black cardstock paper

Fall ribbon 6″ wide

Black Halloween tablecloth

Battery operated candles

Fall table runner

Burlap table runner

Rattan charger plate

Vintage style dishes

Gold stemless wine glasses

Pumpkin shaped charcuterie board

Marble and wood board

Acorn shaped cutting board

Velvet pumpkins

Black champagne glasses

Velvet pumpkins

Black wine glasses

Black chargers

Halloween haunted house table decor

Black creepy cloth

What do you think?

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  • Amy
    October 3, 2023

    These make adorable fall centerpieces for the table! Love!

    • Crystal
      October 3, 2023

      Thank you so very much Amy!

    • Crystal
      October 14, 2023

      Thank you so very much Amy!!!

  • Diane
    October 3, 2023

    Crystal!!! How lucky that you used to live by a lake in Vancouver — absolutely one of the most gorgeous cities in the world!

    And your clever lantern is a perfect pumpkin ot use all season long. Well Done!!!

    • Crystal
      October 3, 2023

      Thank you so very much Diane! Yes Vancouver is a beautiful city and we enjoyed living there when we were younger. Thanks for allowing me to be a guest on the Hand Crafted Society!

  • Michelle | Thistle Key Lane
    October 3, 2023

    Crystal your pumpkin lantern is magical! That’s the first word that popped into my head! Makes a lovely centerpiece for your fall tablescape! Pinning!

    • Crystal
      October 3, 2023

      Thank you so very much Michelle – I appreciate your very kind comment!

  • Missy
    October 4, 2023

    You are a crafting architect! I love your memory of the lantern festival and how these pumpkins turned out. From elegant to spooky, I can’t pick a favorite…just plain fabulous!

    • Crystal
      October 5, 2023

      Thank you very much Missy!!!

  • Carol@BlueskyatHome
    October 5, 2023

    Crystal, it’s so nice to meet you. Your lantern pumpkin is so pretty. It looks like one of those expensive glass pumpkins. Love your easy instructions because it looks like it would be hard. BTW, I’ve been to Vancouver and loved it. I’ve even been to Kelowna! Looking forward to seeing more of your pretty creations.

    • Crystal
      October 5, 2023

      Carol that is so cool that you have been to my little city! If you are ever back this way please let me know. What a kind comment – thank you!

  • Jennifer Howard
    October 6, 2023

    How creative, Crystal! Nice job.

    • Crystal
      October 8, 2023

      Thank you very much Jennifer!

  • Susan
    October 6, 2023

    Crystal, I loved this pretty pumpkin lantern. I can see using this idea for so many options throughout the year!

    • Crystal
      October 8, 2023

      Thanks so much Susan. Yes the lantern construction could definitely be used for other shapes and seasons/holidays!

  • Ellen
    October 7, 2023

    Loved the ideas. My kid loves DIY stuff. Is it safe for kids to try at home???

    • Crystal
      October 8, 2023

      Hi Ellen thank you for you comment. Depending on the age of your child, I would say it is quite a safe project. I would recommend using a glue stick rather than hot glue to rule out any burns. Also, be sure to use a battery operated candle for lighting the pumpkin due to the paper and fabric being flammable. This project is definitely not one you could use a real candle with. Happy diy’ing!

      • Jenna
        October 15, 2023

        Wow this is such a great idea! So creative! I love how both versions turned out!

        • Crystal
          October 15, 2023

          Thank you so very much! I appreciate the comment!

  • Noah
    October 15, 2023

    Excellent tutorial you showed each part very well

    • Crystal
      October 15, 2023

      Thank you very much. So happy to hear that you found it to be a good tutorial!