Glass Bead Jack-O-Lanterns 

Polka Dot Jack O LanternsIt’s that time of year when daylight begins slip-slidin’ away, which means opportunities for comforting candlelight every day! Isn’t it handy that it’s also the season for jack-o-lanterns? This year, I wanted to actually carve some pumpkins (which I’d been avoiding for years), but I didn’t want to buy new carving knives or put in the effort to make fancy-pants designs on pumpkins that might not make it to Halloween. So I grabbed my power drill (my trusty companion hasn’t left my side lately) and got to work. And wow! Who knew it was so easy to make polka dotted pumpkins? Too easy, maybe. I had to step it up a notch and add glass gems. Fancy and fun!

The most difficult part of making these pumpkins was removing the pumpkin guts from the inside. A fun sensory experience which gets old quickly. But I’m in the no-seed-left-behind camp, so I didn’t mind it too much (I say as I sit here munching on the roasted seeds). Check out how easy these were to make!

Easy Pumpkin Carving IdeaSupplies:
-pumpkins (medium or large sizes work best for scooping out the inside and having room for a candle)
-sharp knife
5/8″-3/4″ spade drill bit* (both are useful because of the irregular size of the gems)
-power drill
-black marker (optional but helpful)
glass gems or marbles

*I purchased my gems from a local craft store, but the sizes of the gems varied greatly within each package. You should purchase your gems before selecting a drill bit for your holes so that you’ll be sure that they match.

Easy Pumpkin Carving IdeaStep One: Cut out the lid for your jack-o-lantern with a sharp knife. My knife was not super sharp, and I don’t have a perfect circle because I did a plunging method for each little cut. This was the most difficult part of making the jack-o-lanterns.

Step Two: Remove the pumpkin guts from the inside. After pulling out most of the guts, I used a sharp-edged ice cream scoop to scrape the interior walls of the pumpkin.Polka Dot Jack O LanternsStep Three: Use a marker to evenly mark polka dots where your holes will be drilled. Make sure they are not too close together.

Step Four: Use a spade bit to cut the holes in the wall of the pumpkin. This part is very easy, and the holes will be nice and crisp. I recommend doing a mix of 5/8″ and 3/4″ holes, because once the holes are drilled, it is difficult to make them bigger for the variety of gem sizes. I drilled into existing 5/8″ holes with my 3/4″ bit and the edges weren’t so crisp.

Polka Dot Jack O LanternsStep Five: Clean up all of the pumpkin scraps which will be hiding in the holes and inside your pumpkin.Glass Bead Jack O LanternsStep Six: Push gems into the holes. This can be tricky if the holes aren’t big enough, but the trick is not making the holes too big to hold the gems. That’s why I recommend doing two different sizes of holes in step four.

Glass Bead Polka Dot PumpkinsGlass Bead Polka Dot PumpkinsI love how the pumpkins look in the daylight with the shimmer on the gems. Polka dotted, but a bit more glamorous. But the real fun comes when the sun goes down. (Doesn’t it always?!)

Glass Bead Jack O LanternsThe best way to light these jack-o-lanterns is with an LED candle, because you can replace the top of the pumpkin to increase the glow factor through the glass gems. Of course, you can leave the tops off if you plan to use traditional wax candles, but the light won’t shine as dramatically through the glass. Oh, and be sure the candles are securely in place and that they’re never left unattended.

Glass Bead Jack O LanternsLook how cute and cozy they are! Do you think I should whip up a few more a bit later in the season for our front porch? I mean, I’m definitely down to roast some more seeds. It was shocking how quickly the last batch disappeared …

Polka Dot Jack O LanternsI just love the cozy glow that these pumpkins add to the inside of our home! Not that I’m trying to rush daylight saving time … but I don’t think I’m going to be mad about it this year. – Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Really dumb question, which I think I know the answer to: gem insertion was from the inside out, correct? …do they just STAY, held in by pumpkin flesh?

    • Not dumb at all! You should be able to put them in either way– they will hold themselves in place.

  • This is a stunning idea!!! I can’t wait to try, thank you for sharing xx


  • That’s a great idea. I did something similar to light wall sconce and it turned out great. Looking forward to get my hands into this DIY!

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  • What a great, innovative, and inexpensive way to glamorize pumpkin carving! I love the non-traditional ways of sprucing and spicing up pumpkins during fall/thanksgiving/halloween season and this is so cute! Thanks for sharing, I think I will have to give this one a go!

  • Its so cute,great post
    New post:

  • Love how elegant these look! Would be an awesome centerpiece for a Halloween get together!

  • These are definitely more up my alley than the traditonal Jack-O-lanterns!

  • They look beautiful, especially with the light inside!

  • This is SO CUTE! Definitely do it again, if only for the seeds! Also, imagine if you painted the pumpkins as well.

  • They’re cute! What a simple alternative to the usual Jack O Lantern face!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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