Christmas Lanterns (and Treat Jars!)

CATEGORIES: Christmas, Holiday Crafts, Kate

Have you ever known people who are just naturally crafty (*cough* Sara *cough*)? Yeah, I’m so not one of those people. I remember 4H craft activities when I was a kid and other girls would be turning out perfectly painted ceramics and wood cut-outs and mine were…very imaginative (read: ugly). I still draw like a 6-year-old–seriously, someone recently thought a cat I drew had been drawn by my four-year-old son, and fine motor skills aren’t exactly his strength!

I’ve gotten better at crafty things over time–new products and lots and lots and lots of practice make it easier for me to execute the ideas I have in my head without running into problems like humans with no necks or arms that reach mid-calf. Even still, craftiness isn’t really in my blood and if it’s not next-to-impossible to mess up, it’s not for me.

After Sara posted these lanterns at Halloween (inspired by Not So Idle Hands, a FABULOUS craft blog to lose yourself in), I fell in love. They were SO easy and so much fun. At church, I help out with the teenage girls. As soon as I saw Sara’s Halloween lanterns, I knew I wanted to make them with the girls at church, but we couldn’t work it into our schedule before Halloween. I started thinking about Christmas and how FABULOUS little Christmas luminaries would be, so I started playing with my friend’s Cricut and her Christmas Cheer cartridge (which, incidentally, led to me buying my own Cricut on Black Friday–Merry Christmas, Me!!). I cut out a bunch of holiday shapes and we had a fabulous time. Seriously, one of the best activities I’ve been to. The greatest part was that moment when everything had been Mod Podged and was u-g-l-y and then watching it transform into something adorable. Let’s just say that tissue paper, Mod Podge, and ribbon can hide a lot of mistakes… 🙂

You definitely don’t have to have a Cricut to make Christmas lanterns (although if you know someone who has one, it certainly will make things easier!) If you look at my pictures below, the snowman was not done on a Cricut; that was the one I freehanded and it ended up being the favorite of a lot of people.

Not only do the lanterns themselves make great gifts, but they are great at holding little holiday goodies (like maybe a cellophane bag full of Fruity Candy Popcorn or Peppermint Bag Popcorn or a bunch of Dipped Pretzel Rods). Just include a tea light with your treats and let the lucky recipient know they can use the jar as a lantern when it’s empty.

I’m not exactly re-inventing the wheel here with the instructions–essentially, we’re following the directions for the Halloween lanterns. But I’ll put them over here with a few tips from someone who’s craftily challenged… 🙂

Christmas Lanterns (and Treat Jars!)
Our Best Bites

–Jars, any size; you can even use empty, glass food jars like pickle or salsa jars. I actually kind of really like them because a) they’re free and b) they’re totally smooth.

–Tissue paper

–Holiday cut-outs. You want to use regular paper or card stock, not tissue paper, for the cut-outs.

–Mod Podge

–Sponge brushes


Now…for a large Mason jar, you’ll use about 1/2 of a regular sheet of tissue paper. Rip the paper into 2-inch strips. You’ll find that if you tear it one direction, it’ll tear in a relatively straight line and if you tear it in the other direction, it’s a hot mess. Don’t complicate your life–tear it in the easy direction.

If your jar is large enough, place your non-dominant hand inside the jar and paint a thin layer of Mod Podge from the bottom to the top of the outside of the jar–you’re just sticking your hand inside the jar to easily hold and rotate the jar, but no paper or Mod Podge actually goes inside. Don’t worry about Mod Podging the very bottom of the jar–no one’s gonna see it, so there’s no sense in causing yourself all the trouble of having a sticky bottom. Minds out of the gutter, people… 🙂
Smooth each 2″ (approximate) strip onto the Mod Podged part of the jar and then repeat until the entire jar is covered in tissue paper. Decide where you want to place the design and then heavily Mod Podge that area. Place the cut-out where you want it and then Mod Podge everything one last time. Figure out which end is least sticky and set it down on that end. Let the jar dry.

When your jar is dry, trim any excess tissue paper and Mod Podge anything down that needs to be smoothed out. Choose a coordinating ribbon and tie it around the top (great for hiding any awkwardness with the mouth of the jar. I’ll be honest, I’ve made a TON of these things and the mouth of the jar is always awkward for me).

Drop a tealight in and light ’em up! I’m not sure it could get more festive… 🙂

Imagine this little guy, all full of something sweet…

Now…we’ve gotta talk about the comments. We LOVE that y’all are excited about the blender giveaway, but ONLY comments on the blender post will be counted! If you leave a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or respond to an email, it won’t be counted; if you enter the blender contest on a post other than on the blender post, it will be deleted and NOT counted. We’re REALLY not trying to be rude here, but there are TONS of entries and we MUST have them all in one place. We also have to make sure people aren’t trying to get more than one entry. So please, please, PLEASE don’t enter the contest on this post (or the popcorn post, or any other posts we make this week)–go to the blender post. Comment there. If you comment here, you may be held responsible my trip to the mental hospital (and probably Sara’s too).

Soooo…on a tiny bit awkward (but slightly less-threatening) note, who’s ready to get crafty? 🙂


  1. These are so cute! I'm going to sound like an idiot asking this question, but did you mod podge the tissue to the inside or outside of the jar? The directions said that you stick your hand inside, etc., but the pictures kind of look like the tissue is on the outside. I'm sorry to bug you with a question about a simple craft that even a child could do, but I just want to make sure that I do this correctly. Thanks so much for sharing your cute ideas.

  2. Blakely–Not a stupid question at ALL!! I need to go back to that part to clarify it in the post. You just want to use mod podge and tissue paper on the outside of the jar, it just helps to stick your other hand inside the jar to keep from touching the sticky/tissue-y mess, you know? Be truthful, am I making sense? I took a full dose of Nyquil last night and still was up most of the night with a cold, so I'm feeling a little buzzed, lol!

  3. My son's Kindergarten class did something similar for Halloween. I'm the room mom so we took cut up orange tissue paper and glued it to the outside of a small glass (because they were CHEAP). The kids then took cut shapes of black paper and created eyes, nose, and mouth so that the entire thing looked like a pumpkin. Then we put a votive candle inside! Now I'll have to have my children make these ones! Thanks!!

  4. I made the ghost one from this site for Halloween and it was a hit, I had people actually wanting to buy it from me! So I'm going to make some of these for my Christmas cookie party to give away. Another good use for my Cricut, thanks!!

  5. Very super cute. I already have plans on making some christmas luminaries, but I am still trying to catch up after Thanksgiving!

  6. I made the Halloween ones- we had a blast! I was wondering about some cute Christmas themed ones. Maybe I'll pull out my cricut for this…

  7. Kate…you read my mind!! I was just thinking the other day how to make those halloween things Christmas-y, but wasn't sure how to do it. This is perfect (and I LOVE my cricut!)

    Anyway, yours are adorable, great job!
    (and if you and Sara end up in the loony bin, I'll make you some good stuff from your blog and come visit you:)

  8. Too stinkin' cute. I laughed so hard about the sticky bottoms…well, you can imagine!! I am off to JoAnn's tomorrow for Modge Podge and will put those empty jars to work pronto!! I have the same aptitude for drawing, so will look at my couple of Cricut cartridges and see if there's something seasonally appropriate that I can use.

    Thanks again for the beyond awesome project and the chuckles!!!

  9. OMG, these are just too cute! I love the Halloween ones too! I think I'll need to make a few of these this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

  10. They look great. I like it! Help…we are having a mug exchange for the ladies at church. Do you have any ideas of what to put in my Christmas exchange mug?

  11. I love these – sooo cute!! What a great gift idea, but I'm sure I'll be tempted to keep at least one, or two for myself 🙂

  12. Such a cute project! I am having one problem though…I'm trying to print out the directions for making this project and am having trouble with the "printer friendly" button. When I click that button below the project, another project/recipe comes up to print, not the Christmas Lantern project. Help! 🙂

  13. Leigh Anne- we're still trying to get that pesky button fixed! Try clicking on the title of the post first. When the page reloads then try the button again and see if it pulls up the right post.

  14. Wow, those turned out really cute! What a fun idea. Now I'm thinking of all the other holidays you could do this with. Good job!

  15. Thanks for the shout-out! SO cute! I LOVE what you did with these! I was getting ready to make some Christmas versions of my Halloween ones….but I may have to make these instead!!! Thanks!!

  16. I am so happy to see a projct w/ mod podge. I just bought some to use for collage & as I read the direstions I noticed it said to use a sealer if I didn't want the tacky/sticky feel. Do I have to use something on top of mod podge? I went to the plaid site & the way I understood, mod podge WAS the seal? I want to use it over paint that is a little rough/dull. I know this is a long post/question, but I'm hoping for some help! I just discovered y our blog & can't wait to make pies in jars( I just saw cupcakes in jars on monday), sugar scrub & buttermilk syrup!! my email is if you want to answer me there instead of here. Thanks!

  17. Gloss or Matte Mod Podge?

    I swear.. cannot find big jar of Gloss only matte.. wasn't sure if it would made a difference…

  18. Do you have a recipe for homemade salt dough Christmas ornaments? Remember the ones we always painted and glittered for our parents in elementary school? I loooked it up and found different recipes with different baking times and temps??! Was wondering if you had a good recipe and any special tips or instructions?

  19. At some point in time I am going to make these jars. But instead of a holiday theme, I think I will make them with a stained glass effect by tearing up various colors of the tissue paper in different sizes and shapes.

  20. I was about to comment again, well i have now lol when i noticed my name on the way down. Here’s to jars, i love them, free for the taking and with a bit of imagination, who knows what you could end up with 🙂

  21. So after making some of the Halloween one today, I was thinking how cute it would be to make something similar using the little bitty jars and making them into turkeys filled with candy and nuts for favors for Thanksgiving. Any thoughts though on how to make the turkey head? Using different patterned cardstock for the feathers would work once the jar was covered with the tissue paper. Any brilliant brainstorms out there?

  22. I’m making these for a party and I found little foam stickers for the holiday cut-outs. Do you think it would work? Thanks for a great idea.

  23. Love this new thing I found on pinterest I just made the jars with epsom salt and cant wait to try the tissue paper with the cutouts.

  24. So excited for these great tips. Like you I wish I have more crafty talent in me. I wanted to do these for Halloween but never got around to it. Hopefully for Christmas or maybe for January with a more wintery theme. 🙂 I also love you Peppermint Rice Kripies recipes so excited to try them! And congrats on your Cricut purchase. I love mine and have 3 or 4 of my friends that bought one after they used mine. SO FUN! Have a great time with it and can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  25. Oh my, these are gorgeous! Definitely need to make them! They’d even make nice gifts. Thanks so much for the idea. Hopefully I can go to the store tomorrow and get some materials 😀

  26. Thank you for the great idea for the mason jar lanterns! I knew I wanted to do a mason jar light for an annual family Christmas gathering and was struggling about the outside of the jar. The tissue paper is fantastic! I made one today as a sample and am really pleased with the outcome! Thanks again 🙂

  27. Going to make these with my daughter and nephews to keep them busy before present opening time. I am going to let the kids cut pictures out of old xmas cards for the decoration. My test run is drying now 😉

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