How to make mini lanterns for your next BBQ party using baby food jars.

Mini lantern made of baby food jars.

When I first had the idea of making these mini lanterns, was last Christmas when Preloved (a British web site for all things second hand) had a competition to create the thriftiest and most beautiful Christmas decoration for under £5, ideally using what you have lying around the house. I’ve got the third place on the competition with these mini lanterns .

Then, Christmas was gone and a new year started and I had 3 big boxes full of baby food jars, that I’ve been saving for too long. Already thinking ahead for next spring and summer I’ve decided to make the same mini lanterns to be used in BBQ parties, birthday, weddings and any summer garden party. I only had to change the shapes of the cut outs and put on some colours.

This was a very easy project, but you will need a few things in order to make it easy.

Materials and tools

Baby food jars, cleaned without labels
Cut out shapes in adhesive vinyl (I’ve used the Silhouette Cameo machine to cut them), but you can cut by hand as well.
Chalk Paint,
Clear wax
Craft wire, 18 gauge plastic coated

The Process:


  1. Apply vinyl with the shapes you wish, to clean jars. I’ve used two different shapes on each jars.
  2. Paint the jars using chalk paint of the colour of your choice. I’ve used 5 different colours because I wanted to create a set with 5 mini lanterns.
Remove the vinyl to reveal the cut outs

I’ve let them dry overnight and next day I’ve applied a light coat of clear wax. Then I removed the vinyl to reveal the cut outs. When removing the vinyl be careful not to damage the shapes.

Create the handle with the wire.

Then to finish the lanterns, I’ve created a handle by using 18 gauge plastic coated wire used for crafts. I will post here soon the process of doing the loop handles.IMG_8084

The whole process: apply vinyl, paint, apply wax, remove vinyl, and make the handle.

Add tea light candles and on your next garden BBQ party, you can have these easy to do mini lanterns to light up the party when the sun goes down. But if you are not inclined to DIY, you can buy them at my online shop, I dispatch nationwide (UK only) through Hermes.

5 replies on “Mini lantern from baby food jars

  1. I love this! I’ve always wondered how to make the wire hanger. Would you consider doing a post on how exactly you do that part? Pretty please with sugar on top 🙂

    1. Hi, thanks for reading my post. Yes, I will post this week a step by step with pictures on how I did the wire hanger. It’s pretty easy actually.

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