How to Make Garden Lanterns from Glass Jars

Dress up glass jars with frosted glass spray paint to create DIY garden lanterns.

Whether you’re planning a garden party or looking for a way to brighten a dark night, DIY garden lanterns add just the right twinkle of warmth and illumination to your outdoor space. Once you know how to make garden lanterns the easy way from glass jars and spray paint, you may have trouble knowing when to stop!


  • Glass jars
  • Adhesive-backed shelf liner
  • Assorted leaves
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Frosted glass spray
  • Sand
  • Candles
  • Wire (optional)

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Step 1

Trace the leaves onto the shelf liner and cut out with scissors. Choose leaf shapes that are bold and graphic to make them easier to trace and cut out. If your leaves want to curl and twist, try pressing them with a warm iron under a piece of paper.

Step 2

Wipe down the outside of the jars with rubbing alcohol to remove any oil from your hands that might hinder adhesion. Remove the paper backing from the leaf shapes, and press leaves securely to the outside surface of the glass jars.

Tip: Paper backing can be tricky to remove. Cut leaf stems extra long. With the paper side up, fold down the tip end of the stem and tear the paper back at the fold. Snip away the extra bit of stem at the end with scissors before sticking to jar.

Step 3

Spray the frosted glass spray according to product instructions all over the outside of the jars. Allow to dry and remove the adhesive shapes.

Step 4

(Optional) If you want to hang your lanterns, cut a piece of wire the length of the diameter of the jar mouth, plus extra for twisting and for your desired handle size. Twist wire around the mouth of the jars, below the threads. Bend the wire over the jar in a handle shape and twist onto the wire on the opposite side of the mouth. Thinner-gauge wire is easier to twist. Use gloves and needle-nose pliers to work with heavier wire. To hang lanterns from branches, use S-hooks or a length of wire.

Step 5

Fill jars about a third full with sand and push a candle into the sand to secure. If you prefer not to use sand, drop in chunky votives or tea lights. Light with a long candle lighter.

Daisy Siskin
Daisy Siskin is the co-author of the website Little House in the Suburbs.