If you’ve used candles as pumpkin lights, you’ve likely encountered one of the many problems they present. From getting blown out due to a breeze to falling over and burning the inside of your pumpkin, candles can end up being a pain. Well, we have an inexpensive solution that will modernize and simplify your pumpkin lighting: LED strips.
LED light strips, designed for TV backlighting, work perfectly for illuminating Jack O’Lanterns. Plus, these have numerous color settings and a remote control, and some (like the model we used) respond to sound or music. Adapting these LEDs for use as pumpkin lights is pretty simple, takes about 10 minutes, and might utilize stuff you already have.
Supplies You’ll Need:
- LED strip light kit
- Wide-mouth mason jar with lid
- Empty paper towel tube
- Tracing paper
- Rubber grommet
Build the LED Light Element
First you’ll need to cut the paper towel tube to fit in the jar. You’ll wrap the LED lights around the tube so they reflect in all directions inside the pumpkin.
More From Popular Mechanics
Make a Light Diffuser
Use the sheet of tracing paper to make a light diffuser. This will prevent “hot spots” and provide a softer, even light.
Make a Hole in the Lid
You’ll need to drill a hole in the lid to pass the power cord through. We’ve installed a grommet in the hole to prevent damage to the wire, but you could wrap the wire with electrical tape instead to help protect it.
Assemble the LED Light Fixture
Now all you have to do is assemble the pieces.
Light Up Your Pumpkin
To use the light in your pumpkin, place it in the bottom, upside down. This makes for a flatter base, more so than the bottom of the jar, for stability. Test out all the color options to see which you like best.
Brad Ford has spent most of his life using tools to fix, build, or make things. Growing up he worked on a farm, where he learned to weld, repair, and paint equipment. From the farm he went to work at a classic car dealer, repairing and servicing Rolls Royces, Bentleys, and Jaguars. Today, when he's not testing tools or writing for Popular Mechanics, he's busy keeping up with the projects at his old farmhouse in eastern Pennsylvania.