Tutorial: How to Make a Solar Jack-o’-lantern

how-to-make-a-solar-jackolantern2Confession: We love summer. Long, sunlit days and warm evenings are perfect to show off our solar lanterns and string lights. But when autumn arrives and the Halloween spirit kicks in, we can take a fresh look at things, and see how to transform outdoor lighting for Halloween.

Every once in a while, we like to take our normally elegant lanterns and have a little fun with them. Lots of us dress up for Halloween, and there are a few ways for your solar lanterns to get into the silly spirit too for a couple weeks, if you wish.

This is a also a fun Halloween project to make with kids. The director of this project was eight years old, and materials reflect what was closest at hand. You could make this more permanent by using materials like felt, fabric glue or special paints. But the point of this tutorial is to give you easy Halloween decorating ideas and show how to temporarily and easily transform your lovely solar lanterns into glowing solar jack-o’-lanterns.

IMG_8487 lowYou have endless options in terms of pumpkin expression, hardiness of materials (using fabric shapes on the durable nylon lantern would make it weather-resistant, for example). Fastest and most kid-friendly is pictured here (simple construction paper and clear tape). Simplest weather-resistant setup might look like cutting up an old black T-shirt (upcycled Halloween project, anyone?) and securing pieces with white craft glue. Pictured is what our eight-year-old designer did. First, gather your materials:

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Materials needed:
~~~Soji Original Solar Lantern (in Orange)
~~~Shapes for jack-o’-lantern face (construction paper, felt, or other fabric, in black)
~~~Adhesive (clear Scotch-style tape, double-sided tape)
That’s it!

We used the convenient Soji base unit (included with Soji Original lanterns and available as an accessory for other lanterns) to secure our lantern on the table while we worked.

Cut out your scary or happy or silly face parts, and when you’re satisfied with the “face,” get the parts ready to attach. Old-fashioned tape loop method demonstrated here:

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Secure the face parts onto the nylon lantern:

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Smile back at your smiling jack-o’-lantern!

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Now for the fun as dark approaches and the jack-o’-lantern lights up. From a late afternoon orange glow….

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…to a soft glow as the sun goes down.

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Hanging them outside looks so good day or night, you may want a few, to set up a small “patch” of them. Display your solar jack-o-lanterns in your trees, going up your steps, hanging from your porch, mounted on shepherd’s hooks, or wherever you’d like to add some Halloween glow.

IMG_8477 lowThey are fun during the day…IMG_8372 low

…and lovely lighting up the night!

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IMG_8254 lowKids can make their own jack-o’-lantern nightlight for their bedroom, with no molding pumpkins or fire danger from candle flame with traditional jack-o’-lanterns. Charge the lantern (solar panel facing up to the sun) during the day, then bring it inside to glow for hours. Or hang it outside to welcome visitors.

Wondering by now how to correctly spell and punctuate “jack-o’-lantern?”  Merriam-Webster indicates no spaces, two hyphens, and an apostrophe after the “o.” That’s a lot of punctuation for this tutorial about simple Halloween projects!


Ways to  display your solar jack-o’-lantern:

~~Hang from a Shepherd’s Hook
~~Use the (included) hanging handle to hang it from a branch or porch/deck hook
~~Use the (included) Soji base unit for a table top display
~~Use the (included) alligator clip to attach the hanging handle anywhere else

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