These Mason Jar Lanterns are easy for kids to make using a glass jar, glue and food colouring. The result is a charming outdoor ornament that you can display on your patio in summertime or indoors all year round. Drop in a tea light and it’s a great homemade gift that kids can make and for a grandparent, teacher or neighbour too!
Aren’t Mason jars just the best for crafting with? We love using them here in our daycare, and we’ve made some pretty cool things in the past, like these stained glass jars and these snowman luminaries.
Mason jar lanterns have become increasingly popular in the craft world these past few years, and it’s easy to understand why. Mason jars are inexpensive to buy and they look so pretty suspended from a tree branch or displayed on a porch or patio.
If you use a battery operated tea light in your lantern, you could even use it as a night light in a child’s room. Just make sure it’s placed out of reach if your child is young enough that breaking the jar is a possibility.
Thanks to Alana, from Parenting From the Heart, for showing us how to make these colourful mason jar lanterns.
For the past 2 two weeks, my kids have been sicker than sick and we haven’t been able to participate in our regular outings, so we’ve spent quite a bit of time making some of our favourite easy crafts.
Today I picked up three mason jars from the local dollar store and we headed out to the patio to get some fresh air and make these lanterns.
Earlier this summer, I had picked flowers from my mom’s garden, and we’d pressed them in books and left them to dry. They came in handy today and added a nice touch to our lanterns.
Mason Jar Lanterns made a kid-friendly way
My plan was to decorate our mason jar lanterns with just the dried flowers. It turns out, my kids had slightly different visions for the lanterns they were making.
One thing I’ve learnt, as a result of doing kids crafts over the years, is that the more orchestrated the activity, the less my kids enjoy it, so I shelved my desire to have our lanterns look a specific way.
Instead, I let them paint and create their lanterns as they wished. And they turned out beautifully!
My son’s mason jar lantern was a hybrid of vibrant colours. My daughter decided to add glitter to hers. And I went with my original plan of adding a dried flower to my lantern. They also added some paint to mine too.
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Supplies for Mason Jar Lanterns
- Mason jars
- White school glue
- Food colouring (I prefer conventional food colouring and not the gels for this craft)
- Paint Brushes
- Dried flowers (optional)
- Glitter (optional)
- Varnish (optional)
- Flameless tea lights or regular tea candles
How to make our colourful Mason Jar Lanterns
Note: If you want to add dried flower embellishments, you’ll need to place the flowers in between the pages of a hardcover book and let the flowers dry over the course of several days.
Prepare your jar
Ensure the jars don’t have any residue on them from labels or prior use. It can help to soak them in vinegar and then scrub them clean. Let them dry before starting this activity.
Colour your glue
Pour approximately 1-2 tablespoons of white school glue on to a plate or a lid. Then mix in a few drops of food colouring.
Repeat this step for as many colours as you would like, being careful to keep colours separate.
How to get food colouring off your hands
If you’re like us, and somehow end up with food colouring stained hands, use this hack to get the food colouring off your skin.
Paint your lanterns
Paint two to three coats of the coloured glue on the jars, waiting for each coat to completely dry. We sped up the process by using our hair dryer. The kids thought this was pretty exciting!
Decorate with glitter or dried flowers
When the final coat had dried, we added our embellishments.
For glitter, we painted some white school glue around the lid. Then, while holding the mason jar over the sink, my daughter shook glitter on to it.
To attach flowers, I put a bit of white glue on the jar and placed the flowers. Use the paintbrush to apply a light coat of glue over the flowers.
Varnish if lanterns will be kept outdoors
When the glue has dried completely, you can spray your jars with varnish. You definitely want to do this if the lanterns will be outside as the glue is washable.
If you want to be able to wash your jars to reuse them for a future mason jar craft, skip the varnish.
Add your candles and enjoy!
This activity was the perfect way to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company without having to exert too much energy or prep too much.
We set out our mason jar lanterns on the patio to enjoy in the evening and they look gorgeous!
More Outdoor Ornaments for Kids to Make: