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Stained Glass Pumpkins

Source: Martha Stewart Living, Volume 16 October/November 1993


Soften and alter the stark light of a jack-o'-lantern's candle or bulb, or enhance unusual gourds and squashes, by using sheets of colored wax paper to create a stained glass-o'-lantern. Or, if you can't resist the lure of tradition, you can also use this technique on a classic pumpkin like the 'Big Max' and carve a motif such as an Indian-summer sun. When the light diffuses through the wax paper, it casts a unique glow onto a stoop or stairway.


  1. With a serrated knife or mini handsaw, cut a hole into the gourd's top or bottom; scoop out the seeds.

  2. If you're using a template, draw the design on a sheet of paper (above, center); cut out. Tape the drawing to the gourd, and use a needle poking tool or pushpin to trace your design. If you'd rather draw directly on the gourd, use a soft felt-tipped pen so the nib won't bruise it, in red or green ink so stray marks don't stand out. Cut out the design. Use a smooth blade to clean rough edges.

  3. Attach colored wax paper to the inside of the gourd with straight pins. If you're using a candle, make sure it's short and sturdy so the paper doesn't burn.

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