Hanging jar lanterns

Got a balcony or porch railing and some jam jars? This is a cheap and easy way to shed some light for trick-or-treaters, or just create a mood for nighttime porch sitting. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about the wind (or little feet) knocking them over.

How to make hanging jar lanterns

Supplies & tools

  • several glass jars (canning jars or discarded food jars)
  • wire (I used 16 gauge galvanized steel wire)
  • wire cutters
  • long matches or long-handled lighter
  • votives or small pillar candles
  • tape measure
  • needle-nosed pliers

1. If you’re using old food jars, soak them in warm water, then peel or rub off the labels. Wash and dry completely. (Because the jars in the photo were already done, I used a couple salsa jars for this how-to).

2. Cut a piece of wire a few inches longer than the circumference of the mouth of your jar. Bend the it around the mouth of the jar to create a circle, but don’t twist the ends just yet. Cut another piece of wire about 11 inches long—this will be the handle.

3. Bend the 11-inch piece in the shape of a “u,” then twist each end around opposite sides of the circle piece of wire.

4. Wrap the circle piece around the mouth of the jar again. Make sure the wire is tight beneath the grooves of the jar so it won’t slip off, then twist the ends together. Use pliers if you need to. Slide each end of the handle to the center of the jar, so it will hang straight.

5. Cut a piece of wire a few inches longer than the circumference of the railing you will be hanging the votive jars from. Twist-tie the votive handle to the railing. Bend the excess wire down so no one gets poked. Insert a votive and light it. Create impact by lining up many jars in a row.