Halloween Crafts: Jam Jar Lanterns

I know what you’re thinking – pumpkins make perfectly good Halloween lanterns, so why reinvent the wheel on this one?

Well for one thing, you can’t really make pumpkin lanterns too far in advance – they go a bit soft and whiffy after a while. I’m also not entirely happy with letting my five and seven year olds loose with sharp knives to carve the shapes into them!

We did a bit of googling and found a couple of really great looking mason jar lanterns, but they called for specialist paints that I don’t really keep in the house and I wanted to keep this one easy on the budget. So, we came up with our own idea to use up some tissue paper squares we’ve had sitting around in the craft cupboard for ages and I’m pretty impressed with the results.

Frankenstein Halloween Jamjar Lantern

Read on to see how to make your own…

Jam Jar Lanterns

You will need:

– Clean jam jars of whatever size you like, with any labels and glue removed

– Tissue paper in whatever colours you’d like to decorate your jar – around an 11″ x 8.5″/A4 sheet for each jar

– PVA glue

– Paintbrushes

– Black marker pen

– LCD or candle tealights

– String or twine

How to make them:

1) Tear up your tissue paper into small pieces, like you would if you were doing papier mache

2) Apply the glue in a layer to the sides of the jam jar, then stick on the pieces of tissue paper. It may be best to apply the glue in patches so it doesn’t dry before you’ve stuck on all the bits of paper.

3) Once you’ve covered the jar with pieces of paper, just check it is all securely stuck down and that no edges are sticking up anywhere. Leave to dry.

4) Repeat steps 2 & 3 so that you now have 2 layers of paper on the jar (to make the colour stronger).

Covered jars

Your jars should now look like this

5) Once the glue is completely dry, draw on your desired shapes in black marker pen. Remember that these will work best in silhouette, so you may want to keep the shapes simple.

6) Tie the string or twine round the neck of the jar tightly to make a handle

7) Place your tealights inside the jars and light when it gets dark!

Of course, you don’t have to save these for Halloween – vary the jar colours and the illustrations for other festivals like Bonfire Night, Christmas and more!


I love all things fantasy, from fiction to films to games. Mostly books though. I also love cooking and plus size fashion. Find recommendations for great fantasy reads and general fangirling here! If you want to get in touch with me, the quickest way is by Twitter @dorristheloris

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