Free Halloween Decoration Craft: Gypsy Lanterns

Make Spooky Halloween Lamps for Great Decorative Mood Lighting

Materials and Supplies:

1 half-gallon cardboard milk or juice carton
Rectangle template
Fine tipped permanent marker
Scissor or box cutter
Acrylic craft paints
Paint brushes
Glitter glue or embellishments
Clear acrylic sealer (optional)
Translucent paper (waxed paper, vellum, parchment, etc)
Glue or double-sided tape
Piece of molding clay
Battery powered pumpkin light
Ribbon, string, chain or something to allow it to hang

1) Wash and dry your carton. Use a template to trace rectangles on each side of the lantern with a permanent marker.

2) Cut out the rectangle shapes using a scissor or box cutter, so each side has a “window.” Poke two hole along the top pointed edge of the carton, one on each side.

3) Paint the carton with acrylic paints. The first coat won’t take very well, so don’t worry about streaks, just get it covered. Allow the first coat to dry, then paint a second coat, and a third coat if necessary to get an even color and smooth coverage.

4) Lay the carton on the side once dry and paint the bottom with two coats, because if you hang your lantern the bottom will be visible. Allow it to dry.

5) Decorate the lantern with glitter glue, craft gems or whatever other flashy embellishments or Halloween craft items you desire. Allow them to dry.

If you plan to hang your gypsy lantern outdoors where it may be exposed to the elements, you may wish to spray it with a few coats of clear acrylic sealer and allow it to dry before proceeding. This will help protect your paint from washing off.

6) Cut four pieces of waxed paper, parchment paper or vellum for each lantern. Whatever paper you use should be clouded but translucent. Cut the pieces so that they are slightly larger (about 1/4 inch) than the rectangle windows.

7) use a glue stick, double-sided tape or craft glue to cover 3 of the windows on the gypsy lantern. Glue the paper cover on the inside of the carton.

8) Roll up the forth piece of paper and tape the top edge only on the inside of the lantern, just above the window. This opening will allow you to get inside your lantern when necessary.

9) Take a golf ball-size piece of molding clay and work it with your hands until it’s soft and pliable. Press it on the bottom center inside the gypsy lantern.

10) Push a battery-powered pumpkin light into the clay. The clay will hold the light in place. Pull down the window paper to cover that side and arrange it so it falls into place. Use a small strip of “invisible” Scotch tape to hold the window in place if necessary.

11) Push ribbon or twine through the holes on the top to make a hanger. Hang your lantern to glow and guide trick-or-treaters throughout the night.


Get fancy– instead of cutting plain rectangular window for your Halloween craft, cut decorative shapes, use hole punchers for embellishments, or cut grid-like windows if you think your skills are up to it. Just make sure to leave an opening big enough to take the light in and out.

Make your gypsy lantern look like rusted metal for a more rustic Morrocan-style lamp. Paint the base color a metallic gold or copper, and lightly sponge-paint on some black or green glaze to make it look like patina.

Use colored vellum for a stained-glass look or spooky Halloween style glow.

Try the project with an oatmeal canister for a round lantern.

Use an electric miniature light instead of battery-powered. Run the cord along the side, through the top spout and up the string used to hang it.

Warning: Never use a candle or open flame in this lantern.

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