My dear friend runs a coffee shop, so I asked her if she had any big containers I could recycle into something cool for my art class. When she dropped off some giant mayonnaise jars, my mind immediately thought LANTERNS! After a little soaking and slicing, the base for these plastic jar lanterns were ready for the kids to embellish.
Read on for more details, and how you can make these into a real, working light!
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There is some prep for this project, but if you are a collector of collage material already, then you are halfway there! Once everything is prepped, the actual process is really straight forward. I would say that 3 and 4-year olds could do this one with a little help for the washi tape. And tweens and teens would love making these, too. So basically, great for any age!
Supplies needed to make Plastic Jar Lanterns:
~ Restaurant size plastic jars
~ String or yarn
~ Clear tape
Step by step instructions for Plastic Jar Lantern:
1. First, cut the top of the jars off with your Xacto or utility knife. Cut right where the jar starts to curve inwards.
2. Soak the jars in boiling water to soften the label. Then peel off the label and any remaining adhesive.
3. Next, gather your collage material. My students painted coffee filters for another project we did (Cinco de Mayo banners!). I also love cutting up the newspaper that covers the table during art class, or you can paint newspaper separately.
4. Arrange everything on the table. I poured the Mod Podge into little cups so everyone had their own.
5. Now comes the fun part! Tell your students to put a little of the Mod Podge on the container first, like glue, then add your collage material, then Mod Podge on top. If they forget to put it on top, you can always add a layer afterwards.
6. Let the jars dry overnight. On the next day, cut three or more pieces of string for each student, about 20″. Show them quickly how to cut a piece of tape and wrap it around the string. Some of the older kids were able to cut the tape at the ends to look like little flags.
7. When all the strings are done, tape them to the inside of the jar with a piece of clear tape.
8. Slice a small hole in the top so you can slip some wire in and make a loop. Tape the wire to the inside.
And that’s it! I love the whimsical and sort-of eclectic nature of these lanterns. They would be so cute hanging above a bed, or even above a baby’s crib.
I actually had grand plans to make these into real working lanterns, lightbulbs and all. But I got nervous about sending them home and not knowing if the plastic would melt. I wouldn’t have added the string if I was going to use a real light bulb. But if you want to try it at home, this is the pendant light kit I bought. It’s worth a try!
Of course you could also just add eyes and turn it into a jellyfish!
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Did you like this post? Here are some more crafty ideas for your kids: