Crafty in the Kitchen: Mason Jar Lanterns

If there’s one thing I’m full of (aside from, at the moment, a load of cookies and nine too many pizza rolls), it’s good intentions. I know this because I have reminders of them all around me. There are heaps of fabric scraps from the baby blanket I intended to sew for my first-born son (he’s now 4.) There are partly-filled-out charts from the 3 months of P90x I intended to do. There are pairs of size 6 jeans in my closet from the 15lbs I intended to lose. And I’ve had empty frames on one wall of my house for almost a year now. Yup. Intended to fill them. Another thing I have sitting around? Mason jars. Lots of mason jars from all of that food I intended to preserve. Ask me how many jars I canned. Really, ask. None! This is the reason I get giggly when discovering a use for them that’s anything but their intended purpose. Exhibit A. My friend Wendy recently sent me a picture of her little Halloween lanterns and I loved them so much I made them that very same day. A big thanks to my friend Britanie, too, who let me come steal a couple of larger jars when I realized that my Halloween lantern display would be infinitely cuter with some size variety. These little guys are popping up on crafty blogs everywhere, but I especially liked the cute monster faces that Wendy found on Not So Idle Hands (fun blog–go check out her craftiness!) so I made those. The bonus? These mason jar lanterns are a really fast project. So if you intend to finish them in a day, you totally can!


Mason Jars, any size
Tissue paper
Mod Podge
Paint Brush
Ribbon or paint for the tops (explained below)

Start by cutting your tissue paper into strips about 1-2 inches wide. Brush a thin layer of mod podge on the glass jar and stick a strip of tissue to it.

Take more mod podge and brush on top of it, sealing it onto the jar.

Work one strip at a time until you cover the entire jar. I covered the bottom as well and on the top I went a little above the rim just to make sure there wasn’t any plain glass peeking through when I put a ribbon around the top. Place your jar upside down to dry. Keep working until you finish however many jars you’re going to do.

As your jars are drying, work on your faces. Cut out faces from black paper and use a glue stick to glue them onto the jars. I waited until the jars were dry before gluing on the faces. I also tried attaching them just with mod podge and they didn’t stay. For the silly monster faces, I used these as a guidline, available from Not So Idle Hands.

Look how cute! For the tops you can use paint to paint around the rims, or you can do what I did and attach a piece of ribbon.

I love how they look in my windowsill. Just the sunlight coming through lights them right up!

And even on a cold, rainy day like the picture below, they still have a warm glow to them.

And then at night, they turn into great little lanterns when you put a candle inside. I’ve seen people stuff a string of white Christmas lights inside as another option but I can’t resist the look of a flickering candle. The little artificial tea lights work great for these too.

If you’re using real candles, be careful because the jars get hot!

Do you love it?? I can’t get over how cute they are, and you could definitely use the same method for other themes too. So go get your craft on this weekend and cook something yummy to go with it!

Good munchy food for crafting:
Caramel Corn
Monster Munch
Ginger Spice Cookies
Goblin Grub
Cinnamon Bun Caramel Corn
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

PS. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend you might want to stop by here. Like maybe perhaps on Sunday. Cuz I dunno… there just might just be a bonus post. And it just might include a giveaway. And the giveaway might involve a large sum of cash. Ooops, did I just say that out loud?? Don’t tell Kate I spilled the beans!

*Disclaimer: this post includes affiliate links, which just means that when you purchase items through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps us keep working hard to create recipes for you!


  1. I was going to go to DI to get some jars so I can make these today. My friend has them and I thought they were so cute and looked so easy.

  2. This is such a fantastic idea!! I LOVE it!! Can't wait to do this with the kids. Thanks for such a creative craft. Yours turned out adorable!

  3. Love this idea!!! Kids are home from school today and I've got a few jars that I've been meaning to do something with. Thanks!!!

  4. What an awesome idea! I LOVE these. I'm getting really carried away and making about 10 of them. I even have most of the supplies. Thanks!

  5. Okay how stinkin cute are those? LOVE it! & I happen to have a cupboard full of empty Mason Jars that I normally return to Mom to refill w/her garden goodies but I think I might have to use a few 😉

  6. Those are too cute, I'm definitely going to be making some of those! I've never intended on preserving any of my food though so I guess I need to go shopping for some mason jars. :o)

  7. i LOVE them! they are cute enough that they might even come off of my INTENTIONS list and actualy get done!!
    And thanks for making me and my pictureless picture frames feel better!!

  8. This post was helpful in more ways then one! Besides being SO dang cute… we are going camping tonight, but we dont have a lantern! We are literally leaving in about an hour! It's COLD and RAINY (we're die hards, I know!)… and we have no lantern. I saw your post and though "Oh my gosh! I can use tea lights inside jars!" Granted thats not as cute as having them decorated for Halloween… but adding pumpkin faces is definetely something I'll do when I get back! So, THANKS for solving my problem!!!

  9. I love the ribbon Sara, and your big ghost is so cute!
    The Mason jar people must be loving you, did you buy stock in their company?

  10. My friend just made some of these. I love the idea of making these instead of carving gooey pumpkin guts. Thanks!

  11. I'm trying this tonight with my girls…and using glass peanut butter jars and spaghetti jars that I had in the garage for recycling!

  12. I am not creative and not that great of a cook, but because of your blog I am trying, and I think maybe even becoming good 🙂 Thanks for your inspiration!
    PS…the jar lanterns were sooo fun to make!!

  13. I love this craft. I am not a crafty person so I like the idea of things being done in a day. Plus, one day of craftiness this year and I can pack them away for next year and the year after that. Fun stuff.

  14. What a great idea!!! It looks super easy and looks like it can totally be done in one day 🙂 I have lots of good intentions also…and just like yours..they are scattered alllll over my house…lol.

  15. I have made these with baby food jars too. I made pumpkins. I cut up different color orange tissue paper into rough squares and then glued them on. Gave it more of a mosaic look.

  16. oh I'm so excited, I actually have all this in my house right now! OO, does this get me out of paying for pumpkins that I can't let my toddlers carve anyway?

  17. seriously do you know how much I am loving ya'll site!!!

    every time I come I get up and head to the craft store.

    my shrunken heads are turning out so great!!


  18. I did this project with my friend and our 6 boys this weekend. Before long, her husband joined in the fun! They turned out so cute. The one thing that we had to change is we used orange napkins because I couldn't find any orange tissue paper! Turned out so cute still! My boys decided we should do a craft every weekend now! We'll see about that! Thanks for the idea!

  19. These are so stinkin cute I cant stand it. If you don't mind I'd like to feature these in my recycled Halloween decor round-up I'll be posting later this week. Can't wait to make a few of these for myself!

  20. I made theses and they came out so cute. They were also super easy! My boys ask me to turn them on every night.

  21. I had the kids making these at our Halloween party tonight, they had a blast! I couldn't find mason jars so we used votive holders and let them just wing it with Halloween tissue paper. They came out really cute!

  22. Aren't these so awesome?! I made these years ago when I was a pre-school teacher (read many years ago!!) but we did them for Thanksgiving and Christmas using saved glass jars from spaghetti sauce, marshmallow cream, and peanut butter. For Thanksgiving we used a black silohette of a pilgrim boy and girl on autumnal colors. For Christmas… red background w/ a bell cut-out, blue background w/ a pine tree and snow, and blue backgrounds w/ an angel. For Hannakah… blue background w/ star of david or menorraha.

    Thank you so very much for reminding me about these. Now I have something else to add to our holiday baskets!!

  23. This is such an awesome idea! These would be great to give as gifts when decorated up for Christmas with some homemade goodies inside. Thanks for sharing.

  24. So Cute! We are making them RIGHT NOW! Just got back from running out to gather all the supplies! Thanks! I LOVE this site! Nikki

  25. I can't stand how cute these are. My friends mother sent her an email with this idea, and she forwarded it to me, but I deleted it and couldn't remember exactly what it was or how to do it. Thanks for posting!! You can also use leftover spagetti, pickle…and other glass jars. Just soak them in water overnight to get the label/glue off. Great way to recycle and reuse!! I can't wait to make some tonight!!

    I was thinking of putting them on our front steps or lining the walk, but do you think the modge podge would stay if it rained? I guess I could take them in when it rains.

    Anyway I'm rambling now. Love your site!!!

  26. This was the funnest thing I've done in a while! So fun and SO cute!! I have to brag, I created a Mrs. Frankenstein that I'm super proud of. If you wanna see I'll definitely send you a picture.

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this. I found your blog last night at about 11pm and stayed on for hours. I am not crafty a singly bit and this inspired me to start becoming crafty. i absolutely love this. i haven’t left your site yet. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I sent my husband to get all of these items and i plan on getting a head start on halooween tonight. You have no idea how sweet and inspiring your blog is. thanks you so much. I have a husband thats in the military and with two small kids i definitely need a outlet. 🙂

  28. THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this project. I’m a little late to the party because I just found it online, but I made these yesterday to get ready for October and they were so fun, so easy and look great! I added a little colored glitter on mine. (coordinating the glitter color to the tissue color).

    I am now going to host my little sister (12 yr old) and her friends to come make their own! My mind is running with more ideas to add to these. I can’t wait to make Santa’s and snowmen for December.

    Thanks again!

  29. Does anyone know if you could use a sharpe marker to make finer detailed images on the jars? I’m not sure it will work once everything is dry. I’m excited to makes these for all occasions 🙂

  30. What a great idea, but I can’t fathom using a Mason jar. I’m a canning fanatic. But reusing other jars-baby food,commercial jelly, spaghetti jars,etc is a great idea!!! So many possibilities. Thanks for the idea.

  31. I just found these on your blog. I organized a craft after school for several teachers at my school and we all had a ball making them. My students want me to do it with them. I’d love to but with 26 9/10 year olds, I don’t think I would survive!! Thanks for the super idea.

  32. So most of my canning jars have the raised logo stuff on them. You know, that say the brand they are or whatever. How will this work over the lettering or little leaf design raised in the glass? Is it preferable to use plain glass jars (like the spaghetti and pickle jars and such)? Thanks! So excited to make these with my kids!

  33. Adorable! I made a bunch of jar lanterns for a summer party, I can definitely repurpose just about all of them for this project. Thanks!

  34. I can’t wait to try this! Do you think it matters what type of finish the Mod Podge is? (gloss, matte, glitter)

  35. Clever! I’ve been looking for a mason jar decoration for halloween. I love the way they look as lanterns, but I’m not terribly “crafty”. This looks like something I could manage, and they are adorable.

  36. I have a question about the faces- did you cut them out of black tissue paper or something heavier? (Like maybe cardstock or construction paper.) These are so cute- I am making some smaller ones that I am going to fill with goodies and give out to my visiting teaching ladies! And maybe teachers at school…

    1. just normal printer paper. Thick paper actually makes it harder because it doesn’t stick as well, so I would avoid cardstock.

  37. I made these yesterday and they turned out really well! Very cute and a fast project.

    Robyn, I used construction paper for the faces on mine and they turned out okay (so far anyway). I used glue stick to stick them on and then modge podge over to seal them.

  38. Instead of actual mason jars, I just went to my recycle bin and pulled out the glass jars (salsa, jelly, appleauce, pesto sauce) and soaked the jars in hot soapy water to get the labels off, and ta-da, super cute and cost effective. 🙂

  39. Now I know what to do with the Mason jars I keep inheriting from relatives. I usually use pints or smaller to make jelly and jam. I have been recycling the quart jars. This will be fun with the grandkids. Thanks.

  40. As a teacher/dad home for the summer with my kids, this is going to be added to our “we’re” bored list. We have a bunch of jars just waiting to be repurposed! I think we’ll do summer colors with butterflies and bees for some fun deck meal decorations. Thanks!

  41. I’m new to Modge Podge, so I’m wondering if you can peel it all off at the end of the holiday and just wash the jar to reuse for canning? Or should I stick with only using jars that I want to stay like that forever? Super cute idea. I love it!!

  42. Thanks! These are super cute and spooky – just wanted to let you know you are not alone in the best of intentions realm of undone projects! Oh my, I have a few of those myself around here 🙂 Gonna do these this week! Thanks again and also for posting the faces- those are great.

  43. Hi! I’m wondering how long they need to dry before gluing the faces on them… I’m trying to figure out if I can do this craft under 1 hour with my Activity Days group. Thanks so much!

  44. I love these! I am going to try them with some glass paints from Martha Stuart in a translucent gloss and/or liquid fill. Her glass paints come in opaque and translucent composition and every color of the rainbow, plus they cure in a month or bake 30 mins and paint is dishwasher safe and all! Great idea, thank you!

  45. Definitely going to begin saving every bottle I use from now till Halloween. Spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, Mission: SAVE ALL THE BOTTLES. 😉

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