We aren't the most crafty bunch in our household, so when we DO commit to creating something, we enjoy displaying it at home or using it in our day-to-day lives. When we got the opportunity to make these functional, sturdy and colorful mason jar lanterns for a celebration, we were so excited to find more ways to use them!
We used our lanterns for a community Lantern Walk as well as a Spiral of Light celebration for Winter Solstice. Now that the celebrations are over, we mostly use our lanterns as night lights in our bedrooms. After the children complete their nightly hygiene practices, we light our lanterns before reading bedtime stories. I've noticed that it brings some intention and ease to transitions in our bedtime routine.
Additionally, they make great lanterns for the backyard as the sun goes down (if you use a slightly larger candle or use many lanterns at once). The children have suggested we go for an evening stroll with our lanterns in hand. It sounds good!
I told them only if they hold their own lanterns for the entire walk. I can see myself now, three glass jars clinging together as I speedily walk to keep up with them, while also trying to keep the candles aflame because they'd be so disappointed if the lanterns weren't glowing, as they frolic freely knowing I'm doing the heavy lifting... Sooo, needless to say, we haven't gotten very far on an evening walk just yet because that was maybe too much responsibility for them (me!) to hold, literally!
For those who are into ritual and sacred circles, these lanterns would be a wonderful addition to any ceremony whether for utility or aesthetic. I’m envisioning different shades of red for a red tent or moon lodge. A beautiful web of lights symbolizing communal support and lighting the way for a new family during a mother blessing is also coming to mind.
If you or your children try this craft, please send us a photo and tell us how it went!
Let's make some lanterns!
You will need:
Metal wire or string
Start by cutting tissue paper into desired shapes and sizes. You can get really creative here. Some of our friends used beautiful leaves that had fallen to add a touch of natural beauty to their lanterns.
You will use glue to “paint” the pieces of paper onto the outside of the jar. We enjoyed using a less viscous mixture and decided we'd thin out the glue with water in a separate small container, dipped the paintbrush in and brushed it on top of the paper we positioned on our jars. If you use leaves, you’ll apply them to the jar in the same way as the paper and you may need to glue the underside of the leaf before applying to the jar. Then you can continue by applying enough glue to saturate the leaf on the outer side.
Once your jar is covered to your liking, allow it to dry. We decided to allow ours to dry overnight to give our hands a break.
When dry, you can add a handle. There are two ways you can do this. The first way is by using some floral wire or pioto wrap around the underside of the rim of the jar, making a complete circle and tying. Then you can use another piece to create the handle part going across the top making a rainbow shape and connecting either side to the circle. The second way is to use some thick string or yarn to create the handle part and tie each side to the circle.
If you want to really get fancy, consider weaving the string/yarn into an intricate pattern or try using some beads for a more textured handle. Those colorful plastic strings we used to make keychains from in childhood come to mind; use those weaving skills and show the children what you got!
You can try other add-ons like buttons, glitter, or sharpie markers directly onto the jar to create a stained glass look. We’ve seen some really cool ones with cut-out designs on the lantern that project the shapes around you when illuminated!
Once you’re done designing your lantern it’s time to add a tea light and FIRE IT UP!
Feel free to send us pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you and learn how you're using your lanterns this season!