Jack-o-Lantern Guitar

11 Materials
3 Hours

A little history behind my latest creation. I went with my friend Susan to a little clothing boutique in my town called The Dirt Road. As soon as I walked through the door, I was inspired at what I saw sitting on the table before me. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Heck, I could make that from one of the old guitars I have upstairs.” Therefore, I did.

The photo below is of the wooden jack-o-lantern that inspired me.

My first job was to take off the saddle and the pickguard so that the top would be smooth.

Next, on a piece of wood that had been cut to the length of the guitar's body, I drew the shape of the "face." I made sure it would be wide enough to cover the soundhole when attached.

To make it the desired thickness, I sent it through the planer a few times.

This is what I had so far.

Now I had to decide how I wanted my jack-o-lantern to look. I opted to sketch it on the wood before I cut it out. I sat it on top of the guitar to make sure I was placing the eyes, nose, and mouth in the appropriate spots.

To get started with cutting, I had to drill holes in the eyes and nose so that my Dremel tool could fit inside. My hubby told me that I could use the jigsaw to cut them out but I figured my design was too intricate for such a bulky tool.

It was taking FIVE-EVER (which is even longer than FOREVER) to bore it out with the Dremel. Not to mention, my hand was starting to cramp. Hubs got home and showed me how much easier it is with the jigsaw. He cut away the big pieces and I was able to finish it off with the Dremel. (I know, I know...I should have listened to him in the beginning.)

So that its eyes, nose and mouth would ALL be illuminated when lit, I'd have to make the soundhole bigger. Much bigger. I placed the cut out "face" on the guitar and traced around it. With the jigsaw, I cut around some of what I'd traced but knew I had to leave enough intact for the face to sit on.

My next step was to paint it. I chose an acrylic terra cotta color as the base coat then used Krylon Classic White Chalky Finish paint on top of that.

I finished it off with Valspar Antiquing Glaze and sanded in places with fine grit sandpaper it to expose the orange color.

Here's a close up of the paint job.

I knew from the git-go that I wanted this to light up. All of it.

I debated on what type of light would work best inside it. Maybe a black light? Maybe a bulb light? I finally decided to go with string lights. Two sets of them, even. (I have another set somewhere but can't seem to find it. Once I find them they will go inside, too.)

Now all that's left was to doll it up a bit. I made a bow and added a few sprigs of berries. What do you think?

Honestly, that's not all that's left. I need to decide how to afix the "face" to the body since I need to be able to access the lights. I could possibly put a hinge on it at the top and have the bow hide it. Or, I'd thought about velcro. If you have any ideas on how to do this, I'd love to hear them.

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Heather McKinney
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Frequently asked questions

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3 of 4 questions
  • John Koene John Koene on Oct 12, 2018

    How do I get bumper rubber off my car from an auto accident? Without ruining the paint thanks

  • Jan Jan on Oct 12, 2018

    can you go in from behind cut a little door use little hinges

  • Patt Patt on Sep 24, 2021

    Could you have put the face on the back of the guitar? That way an opening is already there.


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2 of 55 comments
  • Cheri Tanner Cheri Tanner on Sep 26, 2021

    Very Very clever and well done. I agree with you...velcro on the top and bottom would be simpler to do. No drilling needed and you're done!

  • Leslie Leslie on Sep 26, 2021

    Hi Heather, These are FABULOUS!!! You have a wonderfully creative and imaginative mind. Thank you for sharing your process with us.