Introduction: Fantasy Jar Lantern

About: Storyteller, Entertainer, Former Librarian...and he owns more than 1,500 neckties.

i had taught classes at my library where we decoupaged jars with colored tissue paper to make lanterns with various designs. Online, I saw jars that were spray-painted, then appliqued with silhouettes. I thought, why couldn't I combine those ideas?

For the project, I needed:

  • a glass jar (I used pint-size Mason-type jars, but quart jars would be good, too)
  • black construction paper
  • tissue paper in various colors
  • scissors
  • Mod-Podge (or a 50/50 mixture of water and white glue)
  • a brush (I use a sponge brush)
  • a candle, tea light, electric tea light, or any other method you want to use to light up the lantern

Step 1: Do You Want to Build a Castle?

I wanted a fantasy-themed jar, so I decided to cut out a castle silhouette.

I cut a rectangle from the construction paper that would not be too tall for the uncurved section of the jar, and about as wide as I desired.

I wanted a symmetrical building, so I folded the rectangle in half and cut out the doorway on the fold. A royal castle needs towers, so I cut a few sets.

I( did my cutting freehand, because that's wahat I usually do. If you don't feel comfortable with that, you could find a picture or design that you like, copy and cut it out, trace it onto the construction paper with a pencil, and cut it out.)

Step 2: Stick-to-It-iveness

Using the Mod Podge or the diluted glue, coat a glass area a little larger than your castle.

Place the castle silhouette on the glass while the first coat is still wet, and see that the bottom edge is above the curved base.

Step 3: What If I...?

After I put the castle on the jar, I thought there was a lot of blank space on the other side. What was I going to do? What about...a fairy? A unicorn? a knight? YEAH, a knight!

I folded another rectangle of black construction paper, and cut out a knight. I also folded and cut a sword and a shield. (You may notice that the crest on the knight's helmet is not symmetrical. I originally cut it with a double plume, then cut off one side of it.)

Mod-Podge the jar, stick on the knight silhouette, brush on another layer of Mod Podge to seal it, add the shield and sword, and brush on more of the sealant.

Now, it's time to tear up some tissue paper.

Step 4: It's Only a Paper Sky...

Some people like to cut the tissue paper into regular shapes, but I like ragged, irregular pieces. I did an area of green around the base, so a lawn of grass grows below the knight and the castle.

Just keep spreading the Mod Podge, putting the tissue on, and coating with more Mod Podge.

I layered over the silhouettes with the blue tissue, letting the edges overlap. Sections of white tissue pieces looked like clouds in the blue sky.

I did NOT put any paper over the castle gateway. I merely brushed over it, so the light would pour through when I lit it from the inside.

Step 5: Let Your Light So Shine

Once it all dries, put a light in it. I use battery-powered tea lights because I am a clumsy person who shouldn't be around fire.

Step 6: If You Like the Way It Looks, You Might...

Like I said, you can cut your silhouettes freehand, or you can choose a picture as your model.

The fish aquarium was my first idea, with some of the water plants behind the silhouettes, and some in front..

The witch started out as a sketch on the construction paper (it faced the other way). I cut it out, flipped it, and decoupaged.

Step 7: OR...You Could...

This is the craft that I taught three years ago. All tissue, all the time. I designed my pattern, taped it inside the jar, and started gluing tissue.

Isn't it amazing how one idea leads to another and another and another and......?

Give it a try. You can make Fantasy Jars, Holiday Jars, Sports Jars, Jar-Jars (if you're a Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace fan), Nature Jars (Butterflies?), or whatever your imagination imagines. Have Fun!

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