How to Make Your Own Outdoor Lanterns Using Mason Jars


For centuries long before electricity and batteries, candle lanterns with handles---made clear or with stained glass, glass paints, enamels and colored beads or rhinestones---helped light the night for safety and entertainment. You can easily make your own lanterns to light your way with Mason jars and wire.

Things You'll Need

  • Mason jars
  • Glass paint
  • Brushes
  • Stencils (optional)
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Sponges (optional)
  • Wire
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Votive candles
  • Rocks or sand
  • Glass beads (optional)
  • Heat-resistant glass adhesive (optional)
  • Remove the lids from your Mason jars and set them aside as you won't need them for this project.

  • Paint freehand or stenciled designs on Mason jars with stained-glass craft window art paint or bakeable enamels/glazes. To stencil on designs, tape the stencil to the jar and lightly brush or sponge on the paint. If you don't want to decorate directly onto your jars or at all go to Step 4.

  • Bake any enamels or glazes following the manufacturer's instructions that came with the product and set aside to cool when finished.

  • Wrap the end of a piece of wire below the mouth of the jar/around the neck at least twice. If using thin wire, wrap the wire several times to guarantee a strong hold on the jar. With your pliers, loop and crimp the end of the wire---at the point at which you started---under the wrapped section.

  • Pull the other end of the wire up and over the mouth of the jar to the side opposite of where you crimped the end. Hold the wire up to gauge the amount required to form a handle to the size you desire. Cut off any excess with your wire cutters. Thread the cut end vertically under the looped wire wrapped around the jar. Pull the end up and thread upward through one of the loops, then crimp with your pliers.

  • Pour sand or small stones into the bottom of the jar and add a votive candle to complete your lantern.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want lanterns that provide multicolor lights through beads, thread colored glass beads onto wire, wrap the wire tightly around the body of the jar and affix to the wire loops around the jar's neck.
  • If you have heat-resistant glass adhesive, glue beads directly to the sides and the bottom of the jar.

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