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Magical Christmas Lanterns

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.


– 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)


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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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. Wow! That look amazing! Love it! Thank you for sharing it with us #pintorials

  2. So beautiful! I would love to make this. Do you think there is a good substitute for the blue spray paint? Thanks!!

    • Would you like a substitute for a spray paint in general, or just the blue colour?
      Spray paint is pretty nice for this: it gives an even and thin layer. But if it is not available, I would use acrylic paints. I tried once, but liked the spray paint version more. With acrylics, I would not use brushes, but a sponge (like a make-up sponge or a dish-washing sponge). The result would be more textured, and the light will come through less, but it should work.
      I hope it helps!

  3. What is the name of the spray paint product in RSA and where could one buy it please



  4. A good color other than blue?

  5. would it be possible go use stickers for these. I am not an artist and know I would mess it up big time. They are gorgeous!!

  6. I would suggest maybe instead of white paint.. try using stickers (like stars) on the jars b4 painting them. then remove. this would leave a clear area of maybe take paint thinner or nail polish remover in a cotton swab and try removing painted areas (for snow effect) so it is clear. This way when lit everything shines nice and the clear areas would be brighter. which works nice for stars or moons.

  7. Wouldn’t the spray paint stop you from seeing the picture to trace??

  8. Beautiful lanterns ! I have some another way to make lanterns you can refer

  9. Could you not just put a your template of the own, around the inside of the glass, but on black paper? It would still create the shadow effect. Or would this not work?

  10. How cool are these!!! Just wondering how the paint holds up once the jar gets hot from the candle??? Does it peel etc???

  11. Hi! I love these lanterns! So cosy! Do you mind if we share this idea on our Norwegian creative site “kreativeideer.no”? That means translate the instructions to Norwegian and borrow some of your photos. We will of course credit you with name, URL and blog name!

  12. I’m going to try this with frosting spray paint. I think it might come out nice or at least I hope anyway.

  13. Hi, okay I’m a little confused on the instructions. We put the downloaded template inside of the jar and then trace and fill in the black areas on the outside? Thanks! I think these are just beautiful and my Mom would love them. :)

  14. Wow, this is a cool project! I’m going to make a mini-sized version for my younger sister tomorrow. It’s going to be her Christmas gift this year. Thank you for this gorgeous tutorial! :D

  15. Beautiful jars! Definitely want to give this a go sometime! Do you usually remove the picture from inside the jar once you’ve traced it or do you just leave it in? :)

  16. I would like to try my hand at this, I think my two little ones will absolutely love these. When I downloaded the file, it does not give me the ability to print on multiple pages, any size adjustments cuts off the sides. I ran into the same issue with the halloween lanterns. Is there another format for these, available for download?

  17. I too tried to download even with your updated links and still cannot print. I absolutely love these and I’m sad I can’t print the templates. Help! Thanks

  18. This will be a fun project. I think I’m going to try flicking some warm wax on it before the spray paint then I can wash it off for the snow affect

  19. Hi Jeffery & Liska,
    Your website is beautiful! I just did a post called “10 Fantastic Frugal DIY Christmas Decor Ideas” and I featured your enchanting Christmas lanterns. Love them! Thought you might be interested in seeing it! If you enjoy, feel free to share!


    Thank you!

    Mary Harp

  20. Could this be done easily with black vinyl for the pictures?

  21. These are so neat! I can’t wait to get your post to see what else I can make!

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