Jam Jar and Tissue Paper Luminaries

Create beautiful stained glass lanterns using recycled glass jars, tissue paper and sequins! Perfect for an afternoon art activity on these dark Autumn and Winter afternoons and they look so beautiful glowing with candles on the mantlepiece!

Over on my Facebook page I regularly share photos of our daily Invitations to Play (simply a set up of materials to prompt creativity, thinking or play!) Last week I shared a photograph of an invitation to create luminaries, and many readers asked me to write a post to share instructions.

They are VERY easy to make and look so beautiful, with the added benefit of offering completely open-ended interpretation and creativity so that no two will look the same.

PVA/ white glue
old glass jars (baby food, jam and coffee jars are great!)
tissue paper in any colour
sequins/ plastic gems/ glitter

 Paint the surface of the glass jar with the white glue and layer tissue paper directly on top. Add more than one layer and overlap to make the colours look like stained glass, which is really effective and pretty when the candles are lit! When the layers are finished, paint another coat of glue over the top to harden it and make it slightly glossy.

Cakie chose to add sequins and glitter over her tissue paper layers of her own accord and they really did make the luminaries look even more stunning.

Pop was aboslutely determined to decorate the jars in her own way, so she painted glue on the INside of her one, then stuffed various shades of paper inside and sprinkled in liberal amounts of sequins! I explained that she couldn’t light a candle inside, but she was happy with her alternative, 2 year old version and I, of course, didn’t intervene as she busily created her artwork. She later came back to it and stuck more on the outside, then added the detail of a googly eye peeping through the tissue layers which I just love!

When the glue was dry we placed a tea light candle inside and turned out the lights as the luminaries glowed on the mantlepiece above our fireplace. They make the room so atmospheric and cosy, just perfect for warming up a Winter’s night!

Learning Links:
fine motor co-ordination, hand-eye co-ordination, creativity, working in 3-dimensions, understanding about glow through candlelight

Cakie: 4. 2
Pop: 2.7
Bean: 8 mos

More examples:

See also this lovely post about a St Martins Day lantern tradition from Red Ted Art. Winter Candle Holders from Rainy Day Mum and more tissue paper lanterns from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots. I particularly love the wire handles on these, making them perfect for carrying outside on a dark night!

Have you ever tried making lanterns of any kind before? Please share your ideas!


  1. says

    I love these! My daughter made a jack-o-lantern one last year in preschool and I hate to put it away after Halloween. Now we can make decorative ones to pull out whenever we want! With a battery-operated tea light it could even be a little night light. Thanks for the idea.

  2. says

    Aaawwwe yours are so cute!!! I love all the pink (I know a little girl who will be very jealous!!!!). And thank you for mention our St Martin’s Day lantern :-) ALWAYS appreciated!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


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