Halloween Craft: Jar-o-Lanterns

Here’s another Creative Solution that uses recycled materials to make a Halloween craft called a Jar-o-Lantern.

Originally, I saw the Jar-o-Lantern craft in a Women’s Day magazine about two or three years ago; now it’s also all over Pinterest.  My kids love to do it every year because it’s so simple, easy, and fun.  Of course, part of the Creative Solution is to adapt it according to your needs/desires.  Some suggest decoupaging orange tissue paper onto a jar… others suggest painting… Some focus only on pumpkins… others suggest the same varieties of characters that I painted in the Carnival Cans Craft.

IMG_0154

Supplies Needed:

  • Jars – clean inside and out
  • Paint & Brushes – Definitely use Acrylic paints!  Tempra will peel off.
  • Votive or electric candles

Jars: We recycle a ton of jars (from peanut butter, pickles, and salsa).  I started saving the jars and found that it’s easier to remove the label and glue immediately rather than waiting until I am ready to use them later… old glue is harder to remove and I’m less likely to actually follow through on the project if I have to spend the time to clean all the old jars.  While there’s a ton of suggestions for how to remove the label and glue, I find the easiest is to simply soak the jar in a container of hot water with some blue Dawn dish detergent overnight.  Then label scrapes off pretty easily and I wash it before storing.

IMG_0134

Paints:  The first time we painted the Jar-o-Lanterns, we did all pumpkins.  This time we painted the jars similar to the Halloween Carnival Cans Craft.

  • Decide on your painting scheme, and apply the base coat in your chosen color.  You only need one coat of paint, the thinner the better (since these will be luminaries and glow).
    • Orange for pumpkins
    • White for ghosts
    • Green for Frankenstein’s Monster
    • Purple (or lavender) for Dracula
  • Let the jar dry completely.
  • Add decorative details… let it dry.

Light: Add either a tea light candle or an electric votive (usually available in a 2-pack for $1 at the Dollar Store).  My boys love keeping theirs in their bedrooms, in which case the electric version is the way to go.

IMG_0156

Halloween Craft: Carnival Cans

I’ve been intrigued by this old-school carnival “Knock Down the Cans” game, which uses recycled materials, since I first saw the Halloween Cans on Pinterest two years ago.  So I finally sat down to follow through on doing it this week.  The Pinterest link is broken, so I just went with the images and did my own thing.

IMG_0151Honestly, it required a bit more effort than I imagined, simply because the cans required 3 to 4 coats of paint.  While I do use cheap acrylic paints, four coats is a lot.

  • Save and clean at least six 28 ounce cans.
  • Decide on your painting scheme, and apply the whole base coat in that color until you no longer see the can. (Like I said, it took me 3 to 4 coats.)  Definitely use acrylic paint;tempra will flake off.  Be sure to let it dry completely between coats
    • Orange for pumpkins
    • White for ghosts
    • Green for Frankenstein’s Monster
    • Purple (or lavender) for Dracula
    • (not pictured) Black for Cats
    • (not pictured) Brown or Red for Owls
  • Add decorative details… let it dry.
  • Spray finish in Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Enamel (note: if you don’t do this finishing spray, the cans will quickly chip, and the color won’t be as bright… trust me: you want to do the finishing spray).

IMG_0149 IMG_0136

Total time: 2 – 3 hours, paced over the course of a few days.  Cost: $0 (because I had all the paint and finishing spray on hand).

I plan on using this game at a Halloween party we have with family friends before trick-or-treating, but decided to test it out one afternoon that my boys had a friend over.  This old school fun was a HUGE hit!  Definitely worth the time to create.

Halloween Decorations & Crafts for Windows and Doors

Here’s a couple Creative Solutions for decorating your windows and doors for Halloween that are inexpensive and pretty easy.

1.  The Monster Door (as seen on Pinterest)

IMG_0123

This was super, super easy.  Using leftover streamers, masking tape, and paper plates, I put this together in less than 15 minutes.

  • Hair: adhere some streamers to the top of your door with masking tape.
  • Eyes: paint black dots on a couple of white paper (or foam) plates, adhere those to your door with a loop of masking tape… add angry eyebrows with more masking tape.
  • Mouth: more masking tape… one across and several shorter pieces slanting in different directions

Since I already had all the supplies on hand, this cost me $0.

2.  Picture Window Pumpkin (Julie Original Creative Solution)

IMG_0122

We have a 9-panel picture window in the “formal living room” that we use as the boys’ playroom. I decided to cover the window panes by making a pumpkin face using bulletin board paper from the Teacher Supply Store (Lakeshore Learning).  With the help of my 6 1/2 year old, this project took about 1 1/2 hours total.

  • Measure and cut the paper (30 minutes)
  • Paint the face on the appropriate pieces (20 minutes to paint, another 20 min to dry)
  • Hang the pieces on the window using masking tape (20 minutes)

The Pumpkin Window looks great during the day and glows at night.  Total cost: $6 – $7 for a roll of paper; I already had the masking tape and paint on hand.

IMG_0161 IMG_0158