Upcycled Jar Lanterns

You can choose to recycle old glass jars or have some fun by turning them into upcycled jar lanterns! These types of lanterns can be used indoor or outdoor. They can hang or be placed on a table depending on your preferences. I have created both styles and they are always well received by guests.

Upcycled jar lanterns can be made from cleaned condiment or candle jars. I like using condiment jars for hanging lanterns as the threads for the lids provide a great attachment point for wire.

Follow along with my tutorial as much or as little as you like. You will surely generate your own creative ideas along the way. Wow your guests by illuminating your upcycled jar lanterns at your next outdoor event!

Upcycled Hanging Jar Lantern
A wide, pickle jar created this upcycled lantern. It is hanging from a small shepherd hook. Consider other mounting brackets such as those for hanging baskets, wind chimes, or even small garden flags.

Upcycled Hanging Jar Lantern

Three pieces of coir rope wrap up the sides to support the jar. A rusty piece of metal spring clamps the rope in place near the top of the jar. Heavy wire can be used instead to achieve this.

Shell-like pieces are adhered with E-6000 - both purchased at Michaels.

Upcycled Hanging Jar Lantern

Citronella tea-lights are a great option for outdoor use. They add subtle ambiance as daylight fades and help keep bugs away.

Retain the jar lid and screw it on when not in use to keep debris and rainwater out. Spray paint it a complementary color.

Upcycled Hanging Jar Lantern

The rope ends are connected by weaving paddle wire around and through them. Hot glue is added and then wrapped with a thinner jute twine which hides it all. This creates a sturdy anchor point for the hoops from which the lantern will hang.

Rusty metal spring pieces create the hoops but heavy wire could be used instead.

An S-shaped Hook, Crafted From An Old Rusty Spring, Creates A Means For Hanging The Lantern.
I also created a large, S-shaped hook from my spring pieces. You could make one from a wire hanger. The hoops slide onto the bottom of the "S" and the top can attach to any supporting structure - in this case, a shepherd hook.

NOTE: I suggest spraying the rope with flame retardant
where it extends beyond the top of the jar.

Upcycled Hanging Jar Lantern
The rope structure is attached to the bottom of the jar with adhesive. Decorative shell pieces hang from the excess twine with adhesive.

Unique Indoor Lighting

Upcycled Hanging Jar Lantern
Use your lantern indoor too. Flameless candles (shown here) are a great alternative if you are concerned with safety.

How To Make Upcycled Jar Lanterns

Start with some of the supplies I have listed/shown below.

Upcycled Hanging Jar Lantern

  • glue gun
  • E-6000 adhesive (or similar adhesive)
  • empty glass jars (with lids)
  • coir rope
  • jute twine
  • glass shell or similar decorative elements
  • paddle wire
  • heavy gauge wire or something similar to the metal spring I used (metal coat hanger, etc)
  • various pliers to pry, bend and shape the metal elements
  • Safety Glasses (recommended if shaping heavy wire)
  • Disposable Latex (or similar) gloves (for working with the E-6000 glue)

The trickiest part of this project is creating the rope structure. Start by cutting a piece of rope long enough to wrap vertically up each side of the jar. Place the jar in the center of the rope to gauge the distance before cutting. Allow for 4" of rope minimum to extend beyond the top of the jar to each side. When satisfied, cut (2) additional pieces at the same length so you have (3) equal pieces.

TIP: If grouping numerous lanterns, cut longer lengths
to create varying hanging heights.

Arrange Your Rope Pieces In This Manner
Place your rope in this arrangement. Pull each piece taut and weigh-down the ends to make the center-point easier to work with.

Rope Pieces Tied Together With Jute Twine

Cut a long piece of twine and slide it under the center-point. Center the twine so you have equal amounts to each side. Criss-cross the twine over a section of the center-point and wrap it under an "opposite-side" piece of rope. Working clockwise, continue this crossing over and wrapping under process until you have sufficiently secured each piece of rope (I believe I went around two times).

Tie the excess twine across the center-point and keep tying knot after knot down the twine. Leave an inch of twine free for attaching a dangling decoration.

Attaching Coir Rope To Underside Of Jar Lantern

Attach the center-point of your rope structure to the center of the jar bottom.

Wrap the rope pieces up the jar and clamp them at the top with wire or other means. Carefully straighten them once clamped.

Create two anchor points by combining (3) rope ends together on each side of the jar. Refer to the photos and descriptions above. Paddle wire was used to tightly wrap and weave around the rope ends. Hot glue or E-6000 was used over the wire and then wrapped with twine. Cut off any excess rope to unify the ends.

Create hoop clamps and attach one to each rope "bundle" just created. The hoops will be free-moving on the rope.

Have fun decorating your upcycled jar lanterns. With the jar on its side, add some decorative embellishments. I used shell-like pieces. The flatter the accent, the better. Apply a nice dab of E-6000 to your decoration and place it on the glass. If excess glue seeps out, it can later be removed with acetone. Extend a piece of tape over the accent and onto the glass to secure it while the adhesive dries. Tip: Flip a corner of the tape under for easier removal.

Adhere a dangling accent to the excess jute twine hanging from the bottom-center of the jar.

Once everything is dry, remove your tape, add a candle, hang, and ENJOY!

Alternative Decorating and Hanging Ideas

As an alternative to adhered accents, consider creating a frosted glass appearance to your upcycled jar lanterns. Wrap and tape a stencil around your jar and apply Frosted Glass Finish spray paint over it.

You can also use removable contact paper to create your own stencil design or shapes. Draw shapes on the contact paper and carefully cut them out with scissors (for the shape) or an X-ACTO knife (for a stencil). Depending on the look you want use either the shape or the stencil. In one instance the shape will be clear glass in the other, the shape will be the frosted glass. Apply the contact paper pattern to the jar and spray with frosted glass finish paint.

This method is a bit easier and creates a "cleaner", more modern or contemporary look.

Instead of creating the above rope structure for hanging the jar, simply wrap wire around the jar threads a few times, loop it under the wrapped wire and then extend it over the jar in a U-shape to the other side and secure it to the wrapped wire. This simple handle becomes a means for hanging your lantern!

For an example of the "frosted glass look" and the procedure for making the wrapped wire handle, refer to this video on upcycled jar lanterns.

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