How to Make Lanterns Out of Old Jars

Why buy lanterns for your backyard when you can recycle empty jars into beautiful ones?


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You Will Need

  • Glass jars
  • Templates of decorative shapes
  • Removable adhesive paper
  • Scissors
  • Glass-frosting spray
  • Votive candles or tea lights
  • Heavy wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Sand or sea salt
  • Wire hangers


  1. Step 1

    Wash and dry

    Wash glass jars in hot, soapy water and let them air dry.

  2. Step 2

    Make templates

    Cut templates out of poster board in decorative shapes such as stars, half-moons, or hearts. Or buy ready-made templates from craft stores.

  3. Step 3

    Cut out shapes

    Use the templates to outline the shapes on the nonsticky side of removable adhesive paper, and then cut them out.

  4. Step 4

    Decorate the jars

    Stick your designs onto the outside of the jars.

  5. Step 5

    Spray them

    Coat the outside of the jars evenly with glass-frosting spray. Let them dry completely. Then, remove the adhesive-paper designs.

  6. Step 6

    Add candles

    Put a votive candle or tea light inside each jar.

  7. Nestle the candle in sand or sea salt to keep it stationary.

  8. Step 7

    Measure wire for handle

    To make hanging lanterns, take a piece of strong wire and measure how much you need for a handle by wrapping the wire around the mouth of the jar, looping it over the top of the jar, and bringing it back down to the mouth of the jar. Clip with wire cutters. Create a small, open-ended loop on each end of the wire with pliers.

  9. Wire hangers work just fine.

  10. Step 8

    Make the handle

    Wrap one end of the wire around the jar's mouth, securing it by slipping the loop around the wire and tightening it with pliers. Take the free end of wire, and bend it into an inverted U to make a handle. Secure the end by wrapping the other loop around the wire at the jar opening.

  11. Step 9


    Enjoy the beautiful outdoor lighting your homemade lanterns provide.

  12. One of China's most popular winter attractions is the annual Ice Lantern Festival in the north, near Siberia.