Introduction: Little Galaxy Luminaries
These simple mason jar luminaries take only 15-20 minutes to create and make delightful little mood lights or night lights for your resident star gazer (or Trekkie). Your cut out patterns can be as simple or complex as you make them. For the purposes of this Ible, we'll do a quick and easy look with lots of appeal.
Step 1: You Will Need...
Mason Jar(s) --I used a cute little squat one. This project should work with any size jar.
Dark Colored Paper --Black, blue, and purple are all great choices, just make sure what you're using is opaque (no light shines through it).
Ruler and Measuring Tape
White Marking Pencil
Star Shaped Paper Punch
Metal Push Pin
Electric Tea Light or Small LED Light
Step 2: Measure Your Jar
Measure the height of your jar. Take that number and add .25 inch, so that your paper height will extend up under the mason jar's lid.
Measure the circumference of your jar. Use the flexible measuring tape for this, wrapping around the jar until you have .25 in of overlap. The inside of your jar will actually be a little smaller than your end number, but it's better to have a little extra than not enough.
Step 3: Paper Strip
Measure out a long rectangle on your dark colored paper, using the ruler and white marking pencil. In my case, the rectangle was 2.25 inches x 10 inches.
Cut out rectangle with scissors.
Step 4: Star Punch
Use the Star shape paper punch to make stars all along the length of your strip.Vary the distance between them, as well as their distance from the edge of the paper. Many paper punches have handles or other metal parts that will only allow you to get so far into the paper before you are stopped. Be creative with how you vary your punches, so this limitation isn't obvious in the final design.
Step 5: Pin and Compass Holes
For your more distant "stars", you will punch holes in the paper with your metal push pin and metal compass tip. Think about pictures you've seen of the milky way. Think organically when placing your stars. Some will cluster together while others are very far apart.
The compass tip is great for this because it increases in diameter gradually. Use just the tip for a tiny star, or push all the way up for a wider circle.
You should end up with something like the last photo, more or less, depending on your design sense.
Step 6: Roll
Roll your paper rectangle, being careful not to make hard angled creases (more likely with thick paper). Hold it for a moment to ensure that it takes the curl.
Release the roll.
Use your fingers to position the rectangle end to end, with just a little overlap.
Secure with tape, on the inside of the roll.
Put the roll inside your jar. If the roll tries to collapse on itself and get tighter, you may have little excess paper. Trim off .25 inch on one end and re-tape. Repeat until the fit is comfortable, with no gap at the seam.
If you have thick paper, it may keep trying to pop upward. Use 2 pieces of tape to secure the top edge of the paper to the rim of the jar. This will be hidden under your jar lid.
Step 7: Light
Put your LED or electric tea light inside the jar. I used a green LED "finger light" from the dollar store.
DO NOT use a real flame of ANY kind inside these jars!
Step 8: DONE!
Screw your lid on and you're finished!
Your luminary is ready to bring soothing delight to your bedroom, fireside, balcony, tent...you name it! Experiment with other paper punch shapes to make themed luminaries of all kinds as gifts or party favors. More advanced paper artists might want to look up kirigami patterns to cut with a blade, for more intricate patterns of light.
Remember to open the jar and switch off your light source when you're done to save battery life.
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