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Enchanting Halloween Lanterns

In the long, dark autumn evenings, we often find ourselves playing with light: puppet theatre performances, glow-in-the dark toys, lamps and lanterns occupy our rooms. We worked on these easy-to-make lamps over the last couple of days to decorate the house for Halloween.

Update: Check this tutorial for making Christmas lanterns!

Enchanting Halloween Lanterns: Turn Mason Jars into Lanterns and Explore Light with Children
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– jars of different sizes and shapes

– a can of purple spray paint (I used Krylon Purple Aerosol Paint)

– paint marker (I used Uchida Deco Color Fine Point Paint Marker)

It was especially fun to hunt for the jars. I wanted them to be different, so the biggest one used to hold pickles, and a couple of smaller ones had jams. What a turn of fate for them to become lanterns! The medium jar was standard sealer intended for home canning. It had a raised design in the glass, but I turned it to the back. At least, it did not have labels! All the rest of the jars had to be submerged in a sink full of very hot water for a while, then scrubbed to get their pickle and jam labels off.



Enchanting Halloween Lanterns: Turn Mason Jars into Lanterns and Explore Light with Children

1. Clean your jars thoroughly as any oily residue will interfere with painting.

2. Spray paint the outsides of the jars. The jars need to stay translucent, so start with a thin layer of paint. Once it is dry, drop a candle inside of one jar and see how the light comes through. If you think that one layer of paint was not enough, you can add another thin layer.

3. If you use our design, print it and insert into the jar. Trace it with a marker. If you make your own design, it may be a better idea to sketch it on a piece of paper first and then insert the piece into the jar anyway. But confident young artists may want to paint right on the jar.

4. I used this black fine point paint marker for tracing the picture on glass. It worked well. In the past I also tried acrylic paints, and they should work as well. There are probably other options, so it is good to experiment!

Now it is time to put some candles in and add some illumination to the room!

Enchanting Halloween Lanterns: Turn Mason Jars into Lanterns and Explore Light with ChildrenIn the dim light

Enchanting Halloween Lanterns: Turn Mason Jars into Lanterns and Explore Light with ChildrenIn the dark 

Budster was giddy over the lanterns, and it was touching to watch him alternate between dancing with excitement and staring in wonder! He cooed over them as if they were babies. Right away he learned the word “candle”, or at least an approximation of it in his own special language. We talked about hot and cold, and Budster was very careful of the flames. I showed him how to blow the candles out, which he found very funny. He tried to blow them out too, but laughter got the best of him, and he only managed a noise, “Pfff!”

Even after I blew the candles out, Budster was enchanted by the lanterns. He wanted to take the cold candles out and put them back in, rearranging them and dumping them from one jar to the other, and somehow his simple games lasted and lasted. What was just a bunch of jars a few hours ago held magic for him now.

Enchanting Halloween Lanterns: Turn Mason Jars into Lanterns and Explore Light with Children

I cannot stress enough the importance of staying close to your children at all times while introducing candles to them. Glass jars also require careful handling in little hands. If you are in doubt about the suitability of this project for your children, please, use plastic jars and flameless candles.

If you liked these lanterns, download our design and make them together with your family! You may also find these related activities interesting:

Magical Christmas Lanterns: find my Christmas design for these lanterns

Witch’s Doll House in a Box: a doll house in a box, featuring a kind and friendly witch as an owner

Button Pumpkin: make this bright and easy autumn collage to decorate your house for the fall

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Enchanting Halloween Lanterns: Turn Mason Jars into Lanterns and Explore Light with Children

About Liska Myers

When not building towers and measuring the depth of puddles with her toddler, Liska likes to make toys and write about them. She is also a bookworm and fond of painting. Accompanied by her husband and son, she lives and adventures in Ontario, Canada.


  1. Just incredible! Such a beautiful fun idea :) Thank you for sharing:)

  2. Just beautiful. I am taking part in a Halloween craft party soon and these would be a great idea for the older children.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • These are beautiful. I am lazy and a VERY poor painter so I am going to try cutouts from my cricut and see how that goes

  3. This is super cute! I may use this idea for a Nativity Lantern Set for Christmas. Sub purple paint for royal or dark blue…

  4. You traced the outline with the paint marker… did you paint the rest in or did you color in with the marker?

  5. it looks like the outside was not spray painted though…. did you spray the inside at all?

  6. This is adorable. I tried to print the image from you link, but it will not print.

  7. Liska, thank you so very much for sharing! I blogger about your idea, as we did your craft yesterday! I adapted a bit but linked it all back to you: http://campfiresandcleats.blogspot.com/2014/10/bewitching-lantern-for-halloween-artful.html
    Thank you again!!

  8. Works wonderful and distinctive thanks to good work

  9. What type of krylon spray paint did you use? These are absolutely gorgeous!

  10. your very talented this are awesome!

  11. I just love the idea! Thanks so much for the tutorial and the design. I will try this very soon :)

  12. Those are beautiful! Did you enlarge you template? If so how and what size? Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. I must be missing something. I can’t seem locate the link for the stencils.

    • I’m sorry. As soon as I sent this comment, the link declared itself! My daughter and I can’t wait to get started on these!

  14. Przepiękne! Zapisałam i jak się uda też zrobimy swoje lampiony :)

  15. Hi there. Do I need a fine tip or extra fine tip marker please?! They’re quite expensive here in the uk so I need to buy it right first time!

  16. This is such a great idea! I’ll be sharing it on The Crafty Crow soon!

  17. Hi! I’m Tina from Amanda’s Books and More (Amanda is my youngest daughter). I saw this cool project of yours featured on Oh My Heartsie Girl at http://ohmyheartsiegirl.com/wordless-wednesday-28/karren

  18. Very nice! I have been cleaning out my garage and came upon various odd jars among my canning jars! NOW I know what to do with them! I’m going to try to put a less holiday design on them and try making a “night light”. I’ll use LED lights to keep it safe.

  19. Did you enlarge your template and if so how did you do it? Thanks for sharing.

  20. Hi, I was just wondering if the tree template design was the only one on here or if I was just missing the other ones! Thanks!

  21. Are you able to share the template in a different format? I want to print it out in vinyl because my painting skills are awful. Either a jpg or .doc. I can convert it from that format but PDF won’t allow for a cut and paste. Thanks for the cute idea. I tried painting it…not a kill I possess.

  22. Wow. These are spectacular. I don’t know how you made them so perfectly – what a talent!
    I attempted to make my own version using your guide… Dad-craft FAIL! You can see the disaster here: http://bigkidlittlekid.net/choose-your-dad-interest/dadnerd/a-dad-gets-crafty-with-cleverpatch-christmas-presents-day-5-the-nightmare-before-christmas-lantern/

  23. I can’t find the templates for your Halloween and Christmas jars. Could you send me a link?
    Thank you

  24. I love this and was trying to print the pattern but it will only print it small (prints across top of a page). I can’t make it bigger for the bigger jars I have. My daughter tried to also and we cant figure it out. Any suggestion on how to enlarge this pattern? please and thanks

  25. Heather Robinson

    Can you please Email me the design for the Halloween lanterns? I can’t find the link. Thank you.

  26. Love this idea! Just thought I’d share something I’ve learned bottling home brews: If you take a five gallon bucket and fill it with water mixed with 1/2 cup of baking soda, you can soak off labels in thirty minutes. They will slide right off and any residue washes off easily with soap and warm water.

  27. Wow, this is really fun and I can do this with my kids.. Thanks for sharing.

  28. I want to make all of these!!! Love these ideas:)

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