Design & Decor - Crafts

Light up patio parties with DIY lanterns

By
Jennifer Roos
Photography by
Jennifer Roos

Jazz up some empty jars with pretty paper to add ambience to your outdoor space

As a crafter there's nothing more satisfying than creating something beautiful from next to nothing. It's even better when the project is dead simple and takes mere minutes to make. Paper patio lanterns are just such a craft.

A perfect addition to any patio, these lanterns come together with only a few materials—glass jars salvaged from the recycling bin, scrapbooking paper and vellum, a couple of embellishments, such as ribbon and faux butterflies, plus a good, old-fashioned glue stick.

With the array of beautiful papers available to choose from, the only difficult part of this craft is picking out a design. Keep in mind where the lanterns will be displayed. Perhaps you want soft, summery shades to match your patio furniture, or maybe bright, dazzling bursts of colour to add a touch of whimsy.

Whatever your design, when the lanterns are complete, group a few together on your patio. With the scene set, invite some friends over for dessert by candlelight, or enjoy a moment of tranquility and the soft soothing glow of candles flickering in the night.

Creating basic lantern wraps
In a nutshell, you're making paper shades to slip onto glass jars. Before you do this, wash and thoroughly dry a few assorted glass jars. Choose different sizes to add variety and keep in mind that groupings of three usually look best. Lay a piece of vellum (this is translucent paper that will allow the candle glow to shine through, but hide the jar) onto a flat surface. Now, lay one jar on the paper, lining up the base of the jar with the bottom left corner of the paper. Roll the paper around the jar to make sure it will go all the way around and overlap by an inch. Unroll. About an inch above the mouth of the jar, make a small pencil mark. Set the jar aside. Use a ruler to draw a horizontal line at the pencil mark and cut away the paper above the line. Trim the paper for width as needed, leaving a one-inch overlap. Repeat this with each jar.

Now that you've cut your vellum for each jar, you can make a simple shade, or check out the detailed instructions below to create the pleated shade shown in the photo above. For your simple shade, use a glue stick to spread glue down one seam of the paper. Roll and adhere, making a tube. Hold the tube together with paper clips until the glue is dry. Now slip the shade over the glass jar and voilĂ !

Adding a pleated shade
Cover your jar with a vellum shade as described above. Use your chosen patterned scrapbook paper to make a second shade. To do this, set the jar onto the sheet of scrapbook paper. Line up the bottom left corner with the base of the jar. Make a pencil mark about two inches above the mouth of the jar. With a ruler and pencil, draw a straight horizontal line from the mark and cut away the paper above this line. Trim the paper for width, making sure the paper wraps around the jar and overlaps by more than an inch. Because this shade will slip over the vellum shade, it must be slightly bigger.

Fold the patterned paper in half, good side out. Rub along the fold to make a sharp crease. Still folded, make vertical cuts every inch along the paper. Leave a one-inch or greater border along the top and bottom.

Glue the seams to make a tube. Hold the tube in place with paper clips until the glue is dry. When it is, gently push the top and bottom together to enhance the shape. If you like, decorate the top and bottom of this lantern with ribbon (be sure to line up the seams). Cut the ribbon to length and glue it in place with a glue stick. Slip the shade onto the jar, over the simple shade.

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