Tuesday, 17 December 2013

How to Recycle Jam Jars into Frosty Lanterns

Frugal, Festive Fun for all the Family - Making Snowy Lanterns as Christmas Decorations

Frosty snowman tea-light candle lantern

A photo-blog post about what I've been doing in Frugaldom this morning. (Responsible adult supervision recommended.)

What you need
  • Tray, board, cloth or box
  • Soda crystals, otherwise known as washing soda
  • PVA glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Some old glass jars for recycling
  • Scrap cardboard, paper, tin foil, ribbon, buttons and/or felt

Items needed for snowy lantern making

Clear a flat surface and carefully pour a layer of soda crystals into your tray, box or onto your board or cloth.

Tray of soda crystals - this will be your snow
Prepare your glue and brush, ready to decorate your first frosty jar by painting it entirely with the PVA glue.

Paint the entire jar with glue

Next, roll the jar in the soda crystals, as per the following photo. Tap it gently a few times once it is completely covered, just to dislodge any loose salt crystals.

Roll the pre-glued jar in the soda crystals

Next, tie or wrap a piece of ribbon, tin foil, string or similar around the neck of the jar, making sure it doesn't overlap the top and create a fire hazard. Congratulations! You are finished your first frosty lantern! Once the glue has fully dried, carefully sit the jar somewhere safe and light a candle inside it.

Frosty tea-light candle lantern
Now for your frosty snowman lantern.

Glue on 2 eyes, a nose and a smile. I have used a slither of leftover felt as a scarf, but you could use anything that you have available, as long as it won't melt when you light a candle inside the jar.

The start of my frosty snowman lantern
For the snowman's buttons and smile, I cut small pieces from some junk mail that came through the letterbox - it's always good for something when it's not being used to light the fire.

Scrap paper or card does equally well for faces, scarves and buttons
 Don't worry if your snowman is looking a little grim and untidy - I made such a mess with the glue that it all popped through the button holes and I had to stick little bits of paper over the top of them!

Frosty snowman tea-light lantern taking shape
I didn't have anything suitable for making my snowman a hat, so I just wrapped some black yarn around the top - remember to always leave the jar open and don't let anything overlap the opening, where it could easily catch fire! (If I get around to making him a hat, I'll update the post with another photo.)

Almost ready for his frosting
 Now it's time to paint the rest of the jar with glue. You don't need to be too particular about this as he is, after all, going to be a frosty snowman.

Paint the rest of the jar with glue
Next, you simply sprinkle the soda crystals all over the snowman or else roll it through the crystals in your tray or box.

Frosting the snowman
Finally, once the glue has dried, carefully light your candle and set your frosty snowman lantern some place safe, out of the reach of children or pets.

Frosty snowman tea-light candle lantern
Have frugal fun recycling your old jam jars this Christmas... putting together a kit for a DIY version is also a great gift and costs very little. Soda crystals are currently around £1 for a kilo bag and that's enough to make a huge number of lanterns. (I just used some from the bag I keep for my homemade laundry liquid.)

Feel free to experiment and please consider sharing photos of your finished creations on www.frugalforums.co.uk in our Arts, Crafts, Hobbies and Fun Stuff section.


  1. This is a lovely idea, I might try it myself.

  2. That is so good!! What a lovely simple idea. :)



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