Mini Mason Jar Lanterns from Our Best BitesIf this is not your first summer reading our blog, you’ll probably know that I don’t have a lot of nice things to say about Louisiana in the summer. I’m actually okay with most of the month of June–there’s still a lot of fun things to keep us busy, and it’s hot, heck, it’s really hot, but it’s not being-smothered-by-a-steamy-blanket-whilst-being-eaten-by-giant-mosquitoes-and-the-cockroaches-watch-and-cheer hot. Until the end. So…now.

This is likely our last summer here, so I’m trying really hard to have a good attitude this summer. It doesn’t hurt that we’re leaving for the most unbearable weeks, but until then, I’m trying to make the most of our grill, and our deck and backyard that made us fall in love with our house in the first place.

Before we ever owned a house, I dreamed of summer parties in our backyard with those strings of outdoor colored lights. So when the first summer in our house rolled around, I excitedly headed to Target to check out their lights selection.

Turns out this was a flawed plan. The strands were too short, there was no good way to plug them in without creating a tripping or clothselining hazard, and they were so expensive.

So as we all know, I am not the crafty one in the Our Best Bites relationship, but I can be if a) I’m desperate enough and b) it’s foolproof enough. Which was how these lanterns came to be. We made these a few years ago for a summer party and they created such a charming, magical atmosphere that I was actually glad the strands of lights didn’t work out.

For the lanterns, you’ll need 4-ounce glass canning jars, colored tissue paper (I used a multi-color pack, but you could use any colors to match a theme like, say, red, white, and blue for the 4th of July), Mod Podge, and wire (for these, I used 16 gauge wire, but you could go a little thinner if you want). You’ll also need some pliers and wire cutters; I bought a multi-pack in the craft section of Walmart for just over $5. My husband informed me that he had all those pliers and wire cutters in the garage, but I informed him that they did not have soft pastel handles. Kate 1, Sam 0.

hanging lantern equipmentRemove the lids from the jars and tear off a square of the tissue paper you’d like to use.

colored tissue paper lanternPaint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the jar…

painting jar with mod podge

Then just tear strips of the tissue paper and layer them onto the jar. The good news is that this is SUPER forgiving (believe me…I don’t do unforgiving crafts), like so forgiving that most kids can help with a little supervision, so even if it’s horrifyingly ugly for a few minutes there, chances are good that when it dries, it will be awesome. The key is just making sure you’re using enough, but not too much Mod Podge and that the tissue paper is sticking flat to the jar.

When you’ve covered the jar with tissue paper, carefully paint the tissue paper-covered jar with another thin layer of Mod Podge and allow it to dry completely.

Mod Podged jars

When the jars are dry, wrap some wire around the opening of the jar and then cut it so you have about 1-2 inches extra to work with.

wire for lantern

Wrap it around the jar,

twisting the wire around the jar

making sure it’s secure but loose enough to slip another wire between this wire and the jar.  Use the needle nose pliers to help twist the ends securely. Clip any sharp or long wires if necessary.

Cut another 6-8″ length of wire and slip each end between the first wire and the jar, using the pliers to securely twist the wire, forming a handle.

jar lantern with handle

 

Now you can hang these wherever you want! I hung some of mine on the posts on my deck and then I (and when I say “I,” I mean my husband) hung a chain between a tree and my house and we then attached s-hooks to the chain and hung the lanterns from the hooks.

hanging lantern from hooks

We put tealights in each jar (if you’re nervous, especially if you’re hanging these from something flammable, you could put an inch or so of sand in the bottom) and then transformed our backyard into something magical.

green jar lantern

My kids ooh and aah every time we bring these out.

Mini Mason Jar Lanterns from Our Best Bites

I hung these up and then was taking pictures periodically while the sun went down. And while I was waiting, I laid down on my back and stared at the sky, which I haven’t done in…well, I can’t remember how long.

Mini Mason Jar Lanterns from Our Best Bites

It was like being a kid again. And then I got, like, 34 mosquito bites and I called it a night. Summer is awesome.

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21comments

  1. 1
    Becky says:

    I love these!

    I really like the idea of the cute strings of Target lights, too, but the sheer amount of extension cords is daunting and would probably take away from the ambiance I’d be trying to create :)

  2. 2
    Tieghan says:

    So fun and cute! Great post, I loved it!

  3. 3
    leslie says:

    On my way to New Orleans right now. But just a quick stop over to get to Pensacola beach. Cute idea. You could also put the battery tea lights in

  4. 4

    These are great! I love that you can create any look that you want with the colored tissue paper. Very creative!

  5. 5
    Lindsay says:

    I made some of these last Christmas to hang on my tree. I used frosted glass spray paint and twine instead of wire because I wanted a rustic look, but I love the tissue paper idea to add color! So fun!

  6. 6
    Tana says:

    Pretty!

    Here in Virginia we are plagued with mosquitos too. I’ve tried it all – citronella candles (what a JOKE!), coils, yard sprays – none worked, other than dousing ourselves head to toe with bug spray. Then I tried this: http://www.amazon.com/Johnson-14157-PowerPad-Mosquito-Repellent/dp/B000BQK4YA

    And it really works! I’ve bought two of them, and my sisters all bought some too. *I do not work for the company, just happy to share what has worked for us. We’re able to sit outside now without getting 5753 bites.

    • 6.1
      CJ says:

      These OFF things really do work well….just wish they still offered the hanging ones…can’t find them anywhere

  7. 7
    Tana says:

    BTW, they sell them at Target and Walmart.

  8. 8
    April says:

    Very cute! I lived on the coast in Mississippi for a few years, so I understand your summer woes. These lanterns would make summer nights worth stepping outside for!

  9. 9
    Susanne says:

    I love it when you post your crafts. They are always darling and easy to make. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  10. 10
    Anita says:

    Ok, sometimes I read your blog strictly because you crack me up. There are not a lot of people on the planet who can actually make me LOL, just sitting here all by myself ;).

  11. 11
    Sharlyn says:

    Kate 1 Sam 0. Hahaha! Darling lanterns ;-)

  12. 12
    Nessa says:

    Beautiful!

  13. 13
    Margaret says:

    Great idea. I feel sorry that anyone has to deal with the crazy humidity there. We are so fortunate in Oregon, the climate is mild with very low humidity.

  14. 14
    Patricia Hodges says:

    I made your snicker dooddle cookies they are great. my grandsons wouldn’t stop eating them and their father (my son) wanted to take all of them home. Yes. I let him! againg these are really good thank you

  15. 15
    Trisha says:

    These are very cute. I like the way you hung them from the chain. I am on an electric candle kick, perhaps battery-powered tea lights would look just as cute.

  16. 16

    wonderful ides, very nice tutorial i am gonna learn something new, i hope i could do made my self right now, thanks for nice post

  17. 17
    Trish May says:

    Definitely the chevron suit! I am loving the whole chevron thing and can’t seem to get enough!

  18. 18
    Shannon says:

    Oh my goodness, I adore hanging lanterns, and these are probably the cutest I have ever seen. Thanks for the idea!

  19. 19
    Janet says:

    I LOOOOVE these!! I started making them tonight and I have a quick question. Did you modge podge the inside rim of the jar and fold over the tissue paper on the inside too? I’m afraid of the modge podge/tissue catching fire on the inside once you light the candle.

    I should have prefaced this with I have NO creativity at all, so I am a complete dummy with this kind of thing. I recently became a stay at home mom, so I’m looking for lots of crafts to do with my 6 and 3 year old boys…but stuff that’s easy enough for me to do, too!

    Thanks for the awesome idea!

  20. 20
    Deb Ferrin says:

    Love it so much although I am going to do it in my daughters room she REALLY likes the idea. Thanks!!!

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