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!
– jars of different sizes and shapes
– a can of purple spray paint (I used Krylon Purple Aerosol Paint)
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.
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 inside the jar. Trace it with a marker on the outside of the jar. I used this black fine point paint marker for tracing the picture on glass and this black broad point marker for colouring. Be careful not to go with the marker over the same line twice. It’ll smear. The trick is to do the best you can with the first layer and later, once the first layer of paint has dried up, touch up the spots with the marker.
If you make your own design, it may be a better idea to sketch it on a piece of paper first. Once it’s done, insert the piece into the jar and trace the outlines. But confident young artists may want to paint right on the jar.
4. There is an alternative way of transferring the designs onto the jars without using paint markers. After you printed the designs, cut them out with scissors and glue them onto the sprayed jars with clear glue like Elmer’s.
Now it is time to put some candles in and add some illumination to the room!
Our son 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!”
On that note, if you have kids, stay close to them when showing the lanterns and put the lanterns out of their reach when you cannot. If you are in doubt, use plastic jars and flameless LED candles.
If you liked these lanterns, download our design and make them together with your family! Do you want other ideas? Here are some more lanterns we have made:
– Star Wars Paper Lanterns: may the force be with you!
– Flower Petal Lanterns: preserve your summer memories to enjoy in the cold months!
– Magical Christmas Lanterns: with the Christmas printable design!