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Crafts | Make a Hanging Lantern

Crafts | Make a Hanging Lantern
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During the summer months, there’s a period of the day between dusk and nightfall when it’s not dark enough to turn on lamps, but a bit of soft lighting would be nice. Whether camping or enjoying the comfort of your own backyard, the solution to this lighting dilemma is simple: make gypsy-inspired hanging lanterns. They cast a warm glow, are less cumbersome than flashlights, and can be used for decoration indoors or out. Using gypsy-inspired items being in fashion and décor is a hot trend right now, and these beautiful hanging lanterns fit right in.

These hanging lanterns can be strung on a single wire or in a group — garland-style. Be aware that wires may get hot, especially when using a single lantern, and never leave your lanterns unattended

Gypsy-Inspired Lanterns can be used for decoration indoors or out.

Gypsy Inspired Lanterns
Gypsy-Inspired Hanging Lanterns

Materials to Make Hanging Lanterns:

  • Recycled jars that have been cleaned and dried
  • 1-2 Small bottles of Simulated liquid leading found in the glass art section of craft stores — note: smaller bottles are easier to work with
  • Various colored glass paints (optional)
  • Wire
  • Wire cutters (I’ll admit, I’ve used and ruined regular scissors for this, but scissors CAN be used in a pinch)
  • Tea light candles
  • Newspaper to cover your work space
  • Paper and pencil (optional)
Gather your materials Gather your materials

Directions to Make Gypsy Inspired Lanterns:

  • It helps to practice drawing gypsy inspired patterns before diving into this project.  I used lace and quilt patterns as my inspiration.
Practice your designs with pencil and paper Practice your designs with pencil and paper


  • Lay newspaper over your workspace.  This craft project can get a bit messy.
  • Make sure your jars are cleaned and dried.
  • Use your liquid leading to create designs on the outside of your jars.  The easiest way to organize your patterns is to make sure you create a top perimeter of liquid leading and a bottom one.  Then start making boxes, diamonds, or other shapes and designs.  You can go back and add to these patterns with dots, lines, and accents.
Liquid leading around the top part of the lantern Liquid leading around the top part of the lantern
  • When you have covered your jar with various patterns, allow the liquid leading to dry.
  • If you like your jar as is (only liquid leading, no glass paint), wrap a wire around the lip of the jar and secure tightly.  From this wire you can attach a hanging wire (if using a single lantern) or a connecting wire (if making a string of lanterns).
Single wired lantern for hanging--made from baby food jar Single wired lantern for hanging–made from baby food jar
  • I have photographed these lanterns at both stages so you can see how they look plain versus painted.
Close up of Gypsy Inspired Lantern Close up of Gypsy-Inspired Lantern


Unpainted Gypsy Inspired Lanterns Unpainted Hanging Lanterns
  • If you are going to paint your lanterns, proceed to the next steps.
  • Painting your lanterns is easy.  Simply apply glass paints to the glass.  I chose brown, red and gold to paint my lanterns.
View from inside the lantern-- glass paint drying View from inside the lantern– glass paint drying


  • Allow paints to dry.
Gypsy Inspired Lanterns Gypsy-Inspired Hanging Lanterns
Gypsy Inspired Lanterns A string of Hanging Lanterns

Now you can hang the lanterns on a single wire or garland-style. Be aware that wires may get hot, especially when using a single lantern.

A Quick Note About Liquid Leading

If you haven’t worked with Simulated Liquid Leading before, let me provide a quick tutorial. First, liquid leading creates a stained glass effect on glass projects. You use it to create outlines of where glass paint can be painted, much like the real leading in stained glass windows.

Liquid leading does NOT contain lead.

Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature
Updated Monday, May 7th, 2012
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