Gently glowing, flickering luminaries are a beautiful sight in the evening.
They’re also an excellent, easy kid’s craft. Using any old glass jar as a base, kids will LOVE pasting colorful tissue paper squares to make pretty pictures, and they’ll be thrilled to see how gorgeous their creations look that night, with a lit candle inside to start the magic.
These upcycled glass jar and tissue paper luminaries can be created during a rainy morning at home, and they’ll be ready to use by nightfall. Here’s how:
1. Scrub a glass jar. Remove all labels from your glass jar and scrub it clean so that the glue will stick.
2. Collect tissue paper (or anything else translucent). We use purchased tissue paper squares that we love for a ton of projects, but they’re not the only materials that will work. You can also try kite paper, colored cellophane, watercolor paintings saturated in oil, and even materials like colored glass, although that will require a stronger glue, of course.
3. Glue the tissue paper to the glass jar. Pour some plain white glue into a small container, give your kiddos paintbrushes, and have them paint the back of each tissue paper square with glue, then stick it to the glass. This is an exercise in delicacy, and a great challenge for those developing fine motor skills, since the kids will discover that if they pull or press too hard, their tissue paper will rip. At this point, if they haven’t yet discovered it for themselves, you might want to ask them what would happen if they layered another tissue paper square on top of the old one–it makes a whole new color!
Keep the tissue paper away from the very top rim of the jar, and definitely don’t let anything overlap to the inside, but keep in mind that you’re also going to be sealing the entire project in the next step, so you’re not *actually* creating a giant flammable fire hazard here.
4. Seal the luminary. Let the glue behind the tissue paper dry completely, then seal the entire surface of the luminary–you don’t want the outer layer of a candle holder to be tissue paper. Good choices for this are plain old Mod Podge, or any clear varnish/sealant that you happen to have in your stash–I’m always looking for a way to use up the random cans of clear coat that we have leftover from various home “improvement” projects.
5. Insert a candle and light it up! When the luminary is completely dry, light a candle, drip a little candle wax into the bottom of the jar, blow out the candle, and set it into the wax so that it’s centered in the jar. Light the candle, and enjoy your luminary!
Of course, if you’re making your own luminaries, you might as well make your own beeswax candles to put inside them…