Mason Jar Craft: Make a Christmas Lantern

I love to go on home tours at Christmastime. Years ago when I attended a tour in my home town, one home we visited had pretty lanterns hanging from hooks. They were lining the walkway to the home. I loved how it looked and have always wanted to try my hand at making some for my walkway.

I finally got around to doing it this year and guess what? It’s easy!  I’ve made two so far and I love how they turned out. I’ve created a little tutorial sharing how I made them in case you would like to make some for an upcoming holiday gathering at your home.

DIY Mason Jar Lanterns for Christmas

The supplies you’ll need for this project are:

1/2 Gallon Ball Wide-Mouth Mason Jars
Garland (about 3 feet for each lantern)
Sturdy Wire Cutters
Pillar candles
Cranberries
Shepherd’s Hook (if you wish to hang them)

For the glass part of my lanterns, I used 1/2 gallon Ball, Wide-Mouth Mason Jars, available in the store and online at True Value. A set of six (6) would give you three lanterns down either side of a walkway. If you want to really make your walkway festive, buy two 6-packs of the jars and you’ll have enough for six lanterns down either side.

You’ll find the jars are available online here: Ball Wide-Mouth 1/2 Gallon Jars

Ball Mason Jar, Half Gallon Wide Mouth

 

One thing I wanted to change about the lanterns I had seen on the home tour was the handle. The lanterns on the tour had been  hanging by a bare wire handle. I had a little improvement in mind for those.

I started my lantern project by making the handle. Using old garland I’ve had for years, I started wrapping the little individual “branches” of the garland around the wire base of the garland itself. My garland was pretty sparse so it was perfect for this project.

I only wanted to use enough of the little branches to completely cover the wire base of the garland, so every few inches or so, using sturdy wire cutters, I snipped off the branches I didn’t need, otherwise my handle would have turn out thicker than I wanted it to be. In this photo below you can see the pieces I had snipped off in the background.

Make a Lantern for Christmas with Mason Jars

 

In the photo below, the section on the right was finished while the section on the left was yet to be done. Your fingers can get a little sore wrapping those branches around the center wire, so you may want to wear a pair of gloves as you work.

Make a Lantern for Christmas with Mason Jars

 

Once I had all of the garland wire covered with the little branches, I wrapped my garland-covered wire around the top of my mason jar. Garland will often have a little piece of wire sticking out the end (see arrow). Mine did and I curved that upward and hooked it around the other side of the garland to create a tight loop of garland around the neck of the jar.

Make a Lantern for Christmas with Mason Jars

 

Here’s how it looked once I tightened down that little loop of wire, completing the circle of garland around the neck of the jar. Be sure it’s nice and tight. If not, undo it and pull it tighter, otherwise your garland handle may let go of the lantern.

Make a Lantern for Christmas with Mason Jars

 

Next I curved my long garland strand up to make a handle. I found that 24 inches of garland is just about right for the handle. Once I knew how tall I wanted the handle to be, I snipped off the excess garland to use for my other lanterns.

I stuck the loose end of the garland down between the jar and the garland I had wrapped around the neck of the jar. Then, I bent the end of that piece upward wrapping it around the piece of garland that was around the rim of the jar.

Yay, no bare-wire handle! Now my lantern was ready for a candle.

Make a Lantern for Christmas with Mason Jars

 

Note: Some pillar candles are just barely too big to fit through the opening of a wide-mouth jar, so be sure and measure the opening of your jar before shopping for candles.

Once I had my candle inside my jar, I added a few cranberries around the base for a festive Christmas holiday look. Don’t have cranberries on hand? You could use nuts, marbles, decorative pebbles, even kitty litter or sand.

Make a Lantern for Christmas with Mason Jars

 

So far, I’ve just made two. Here’s how they looked on either side of the steps leading to the porch.

Make a Lantern for Christmas  from Mason Jars

 

These would look great running down both sides of a walkway.

Lanterns Made with Mason Jars

 

I hung my lanterns from shepherd’s hooks. You’ll find similar shepherd’s hooks available online at True Value here: 48″ Black Shepherd’s Hook

Make a Mason Jar Lantern for Christmas

 

I love how these turned out! Here’s a little close-up of the one on the left…

Make a Lantern for the Holidays

 

And here’s the one on the right.

Christmas Lantern Made from a Mason Jar

 

If you don’t want to hang your lanterns, you could line the edges of your walkway with them, instead. These could also be used for Halloween by covering the green garland with some of the black and orange garland available in the stores at that time of year. Instead of cranberries, candy corn would be really cute around the base for Halloween.

Make a Lantern for Christmas  from Mason Jars

 

Hope you enjoyed this fun holiday project! Let me know if you have any questions…happy to answer those, as always.

Pssst: See the front porch reveal here: Decorating the Front Porch for Christmas

Working on any holiday projects around your house right now? Check out True Value’s Facebook and Pinterest pages for more inspiration.

 

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.




Comments

  1. The lanterns are so pretty ! Love them with your beautiful porch decorations !

  2. This is the 100th anniversary of the Ball Mason jar, too!

  3. Peggy Thal says:

    Cute idea ! Looking good.

  4. Love these. Once upon a time we lived where it was snowy 8-9 months/year. These would be great there because of the crooks. They’d need to be emptied of snow but how pretty they’d be. They will be nice anywhere!

  5. Cute idea! I wish I didn’t get so much snow- I’d be fighting keeping them from filling up with snow! They would be pretty along the path to my garden though!

  6. Hi, Susan: These are great! You really do come up with the cleverest of ideas! Happy Holidays!!

  7. Dorinda Selke says:

    Susan – I am enchanted with your lanterns ~ they are just adorable ! I had seen on Pinterest an idea to put Mason jars with candles and cranberries inside a small evergreen wreath and put them here and there down your walkway which I was going to try – now this would be the perfect ending at the door to have it flanked with the two Mason jars on the shepherd’s hooks! Your tutorials are always wonderful – great pics make it so easy to understand. Thanks so much for such a wonderful idea :) Hugs, Dorinda

  8. Who knew a Mason jar could look so elegant! Leave it to you, Susan, to show us. Thanks for the idea and for your e-m reply to my sled & skates. Pam

  9. You continue to amaze me with your handiwork. These lamps are fantastic and look perfect in front of your steps. What a great idea. These would also make a great gift. I know that I would be thrilled to receive one. This is going on my “To Do” list for next year’s handmade gifts. Thanks!

  10. Oh, the possibilities….so pretty! franki

  11. SharonFromMichigan says:

    How cute! For those people that live where the snow falls, you could try using battery candles and put the lids on the jars. I have several sets of battery candles that come with remote controls. That way you would just click the remote to turn the candles on and off.

  12. What a fun easy and nifty craft idea, Susan! We have a True Value Hardware right here in my sweet little town – may have to grab that stuff and get busy, because I sure love how it looks. I have a ton of TALL shepherd hooks but none of the knee high ones – which I think look better for SURE. Well done.

  13. I was at a home for Thanksgiving and she made them but used little narrow candles. The flames were hitting the glass and began cracking at the table – important no flame HITS THE GLASS! Yours are lovely and well constructed!

  14. Gloria in Pittsburgh says:

    I also pinned a number of similar lanterns that I saw on Pinterest with the thought of creating some for my porch but I am running out of time! So many projects, so little time! I have a suggestion for some of the posters who are concerned about the jars filling with snow. If you used a battery operated candle in place of a real candle, you could put the lid on the jar. I think that would look awesome especially on a snowy night — the warm and welcoming look of a candle lanterns leading to your front door through the blustery snow. Thanks for the tutorial, Susan. I am looking forward to seeing your porch dressed for the holiday!

  15. On dealing with the snow issue I wonder if you could use a regular band with a lid , and punch holes in the top? If so that would solve the problem of them filling up with snow, and would still let the candle get air to burn. Might have to try it and see if it would work.

  16. pam ~ crumpety cottage says:

    Susan, those are so pretty. :) And they seem to be quite easy to assemble. I like the idea of changing them out for other seasons and holidays. Really, that’s a very simple, fairly inexpensive project that would make a big impact and can be used over and over through the year. Yay! Well done. :D

  17. These are so versatile: hanging, not hanging, different seasons etc. And for those with little or no snow, use Epsom salt. It is inexpensive and rather snowy looking.

  18. Juanita in OH says:

    The jars look sensational. I can imagine them lining the walkway, wonderland! It really does seem eay. TFS your tutorial.

  19. Debra Taylor says:

    Susan, this is a wonderful idea! I’m wondering if I wanted to just have the wire instead of the greenery, would you do it the same way by simply wrapping the wire around the jar then creating your loop to hang over the hook? We live in a 100-year old farmhouse, and the bare wire is actually more fitting for us. Do you have any recommendations for the size wire that would work the best? Also, you could attach a small bow on either the side of the wire at the jar or at the top of the loop that would dress it up. I would probably choose something plaid for Christmas and then just change out the ribbon for other holidays or occasions. This is an awesome idea and I even have some Ball jars left over from some canned homemade veggie soup that we buy locally. Thanks so much for all your posts…Merry Christmas!

    • Yup, you could just loop it the same way, you might even want to loop it twice around. The grooves in the top of the jar where a lid would normally screw on, help hold the wire in place, so it makes it really easy. I’m not sure what gauge wire you would need but it just needs to be thin enough to be bendable. The bow sounds like a cute idea!

  20. I am thinking that this would be a cute idea for the Christmas exchange at work. Not expensive, easy to make and I can keep the leftovers for myself. Three for the ladies at work, three for me! I think I would use kosher salt in the bottom to look like snow (I have a big box in the cabinet). Oh wow, now my mind is racing. I am thinking of so many beautiful ways to fill the bottom.

  21. What a cute idea! I think they would also look cute just sitting on my front steps like luminaries!

  22. Love them Susan and love the handle!!
    Have a great weekend!

  23. Love the lanterns…they’re a great size and neat handle. Thanks for listing the source for them and how to make the handle. Your porch is amazing, too. LOVE the planters on either side of the steps. Have a great weekend.

  24. Those turned out well! Nicely executed.

  25. Nancy B of Lake Stevens says:

    Susan, this is such a cool idea. I can see all kinds of deco for the jars, red, white and blue ribbon for 4th of July, fall leaves in the autumn, little Easter candies and ribbon for spring. Thanks for showing this to us.

  26. Alicia Hathcock says:

    I used to make mason jar candles with fresh cranberries, greenery, water & floating candles & use them on my country mantle. BUT, I never thought of your idea & I just LOVE it!! Very pretty & easy! Good job, Susan!

  27. That looks so pretty, Susan! That’s pretty clever how you cut the garland down to make it serve the purpose of a handle. I’m sure that must have been the hardest part of this project. Another look that I thought about would be to use a wire hanger & wrap it with a pretty plaid Christmas ribbon. Lots of options with the jars and the cranberries look beautiful in them!

  28. Donna dub ya says:

    This is truly the icing on your cake i.e. Front door decorating. Wish I had bought that case of mason jars last week!!!

  29. This is the cutest idea! I love it and am going to make 2 today for the front porch! Thanks for sharing it.

  30. Awesome little craft Susan! I love that I already have most of these supplies at my house!

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