After taking down the decorations for Halloween, we missed the soft and magical glow of our lanterns. So out came more mason jars and paint, and we are prepared for cozy winter evenings with Christmas lanterns.

Magical Christmas Lanterns: DIY tutorial on how to turn Mason jars into lamps and create a simple Christmas decoration

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My favourite part of this project was making the designs. I have a fascination with little town silhouettes with clock towers. So you can notice! But there are some other characters here: a reindeer couple is carrying a sleigh in the sky, and the third reindeer is hiding behind the tree on the last lantern. You can download the design here and scale to the right size for your jars, or you can make your own. This is a good project for adults and children collaborating.

Materials

– jars of different sizes and shapes (in addition to a pair of canning jars, here you can see featured a pickle jar and a spice jar)

– a can of blue spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum Brilliant Blue Spray Paint)

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

Tutorial

Magical Christmas Lanterns: DIY tutorial on how to turn Mason jars into lamps and create a simple Christmas decoration

1. Wash your jars thoroughly as any oily residue will interfere with paint adhesion.

2. Spray paint the outsides of the jars. For this project I used Rust-Oleum Brilliant Blue Spray Paint, which gives very good coverage. It is great for most projects, but for this project you need to be careful to leave the jars translucent by spraying a thin, even layer. Once they are 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, add another.

3. If you use our design, download it here, print it and insert into the jar. Trace it with a marker. If you make your own design, it may still be a good 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. There are probably other options, so it is good to experiment!

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

Magical Christmas Lanterns: DIY tutorial on how to turn Mason jars into lamps and create a simple Christmas decoration

Magical Christmas Lanterns: DIY tutorial on how to turn Mason jars into lamps and create a simple Christmas decoration

Budster was excited to see the new lanterns. Under my close supervision, he watched the flickering light of candles. Later, when he played by himself, he used flameless candles. He likes to illuminate the room, and in the evening can bring me a lantern over with a request, “Cannya! (Candle!)”

Magical Christmas Lanterns: DIY tutorial on how to turn Mason jars into lamps and create a simple Christmas decoration

In the picture of Budster, marvelling at the candles, you can see that I tried going over the black silhouettes with white acrylics to imitate snow, lying on the roofs… But I did not include this step in the tutorial. When we put the candles in and dimmed the light, the white was not really noticeable.

What are your favourite decorations to make for Christmas? I enjoyed making this set of lanterns, and I am very excited to start tree ornaments soon.

If you liked this craft, you may be interested in these related articles:

Wooden Toys You Can Make Yourself: a selection of my favourite tutorials for making wooden toys

The Gingerbread Man Shadow Play: cut the puppets with our free printables and stage a shadow play at home

Make a Christmas Countdown with Wooden Blocks: if you cannot wait until Christmas, start counting days

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