How to make a DIY Jack-O-Lantern from a laundry pod container — we created three different designs! Kids will love this cute and easy upcycled Halloween craft!
Easy DIY Jack-O-Lantern
Don’t throw away those empty laundry detergent containers!
Halloween is just a month away and we’re already getting in the fall spirit around here! We love to decorate and especially crafts that use upcycled and recycled materials.
The round plastic laundry detergent jugs are perfect to make glowing Halloween luminaries and they’re super easy to make!
All you have to do is remove the labels, decorate, and add a light source!
How fun would these be to decorate your doorstep on Halloween night?!
My little girls LOVED this craft — especially turning off the lights to make them glow! They’ve already informed me that they will be using them as night lights for the time being!
Related: Check out the holiday version…we made a Grinch and Snowman Christmas lanterns!
Here’s what you need to get started:
Note: I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience in finding supplies used to make this craft; disclosure policy available here.
- Empty laundry container — washed and labels removed*
- Black permanent marker — jumbo size will be easiest to work with for drawing the face
- LED tea lights
Which Laundry Detergent Containers Should You Use?
- To make our pumpkin jack-o-lantern, we used an orange Tide Pods container.
- To make our Frankenstein luminary, we used a green Gain Flings container.
- For the ghost, we used Tide Pods “Free & Gentle,” which is a white container.
How to remove labels from plastic
Before you can get crafting, you’ll first need to remove the labels from the outside of the laundry container.
There are a few different ways you could probably do this, but here is what worked for us.
First, soak the container in a sink full of soapy water. This will soften up the label and make it easier to remove.
We used an old credit card to scrape away as much of the label as we could, without scratching the plastic itself.
For the sticky residue left behind, we used kitchen degreaser. Simply spray until all remaining label is saturated, then scrape that away with your credit card or other tool.
We used Method Degreaser and it worked really well. It seemed to dissolve the residue and then we were able to wipe away anything that was left after scraping.
You can find Method Degreaser on Amazon, but I purchase it at a much better price from Grove Collaborative.
If you’re not a member of Grove Collaborative yet, I highly encourage you to sign up today! This is where I order all of my cleaning essentials, from soap, to sanitizer, to toilet paper!
Being a Grove VIP member has been so much fun! You get an awesome Mrs. Meyers gift set when you sign up …AND they keep sending me other surprise freebies and offers!
I got all these goodies free with my first order:
Other methods for getting labels off of plastic:
- Goo Gone Adhesive Remover
- Peanut butter
I haven’t personally tried peanut butter or mayo, but they were recommended by multiple readers so I included them here just in case!
Now the fun part…decorating!
How to Make a Jack-O-Lantern from an Empty Laundry Detergent Container
We kept our Jack-O-Lantern design pretty simple, but you can make it as elaborate as you like! We’ve had readers suggest adding hats or other accessories too!
You can even use different color containers to make different characters:
- Green: Frankenstein
- White: Ghost
- Purple: Witch
Those are the colors of containers I’ve seen laundry detergent containers made in, but there could be more options I don’t know about! So many possibilities!
Make sure the surface is clean and dry, then use a permanent marker to draw the details of the face.
When you’re done decorating, place a couple LED tea lights inside to make your jack-o-lantern glow! We used two in the pumpkin and the ghost. The green plastic of our Frankenstein lantern was a little more opaque so we used twice as many tea lights.
Feel free to add more accessories to your lanterns too!
Here’s a look at the three we made:
Can you use real candles?
NO!! Please make sure to stick to LED lights, as any open flame would be a fire hazard, especially with plastic that could melt or burn. Do not use candles!
More of our favorite easy Halloween crafts:
- Mickey & Minnie Pumpkins
- Mix-N-Match Pumpkin Faces Craft
- Halloween Sensory Bottles — 3 designs!
- Ghost Magnet Craft
- Felt Monsters Craft
DIY Plastic Jack-O-Lantern Craft (Printable Directions)
Laundry Container Jack-O-Lantern
- black permanent marker
- empty laundry detergent container
- battery powered candle
- Before you can get crafting, you'll first need to remove the labels from the outside of the laundry container.
- Soak empty laundry detergent container in a sink full of soapy water to soften the label and make it easier to remove.
- Use an old credit card or plastic scraper tool to peel away as much of the label as possible, without scratching the plastic itself.
- Spray remaining residue with kitcken degreaser and scrape away until plastic is clean.
- Rinse and dry the container.
- Draw your pumpkin face on the front of the container with black permanent marker.
- Place battery operated candle inside to make your Jack-O-Lantern glow.
Pin this DIY Jack-o-Lantern Craft on Pinterest:
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