Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Upcycled Outdoor Lantern

I've been saving a bunch of jars for quite awhile and decided to finally put them to use. Since I recently reworked my deck, I felt it needed some updated accents to accompany the new stain and railing colors. I visited numerous stores looking for torches and lanterns but could not find what I wanted.

If you can't find it . . . MAKE IT!

An upcycled pickle jar was used for this particular lantern.

Decorative shell-like accents are spaced around the glass and adhered with E-6000 adhesive.
The upper ring clamp, which keeps the coir roping in place, is a salvaged piece of metal mattress spring.

The "S" hook and hanging hoops are crafted from pieces of rusted, reclaimed mattress spring as well.  The coir rope ends are wired together by weaving paddle wire around them.  Hot glue is added and covered with wrapped jute twine to hide the wire  Wiring the rope creates a sturdy anchor point for the hanging hoops to "pull" against.

More accents hang from a knotted strand of jute twine.  They are attached via hot glue.

Citronella tea-lights will illuminate the night and keep bugs at bay.
NOTE:  I suggest spraying the coir rope with flame-retardant where it extends above the top of the jar.

The earlier mentioned "S-hook" from which the lantern hangs can be seen here (if you look closely).

Of course, if you don't want to deal with flames, choose to use flame-less candle votives (indoors or out).  
This allows it to be safely hung for indoor use and minimizes any potential hazards or concern.

A nice accent hanging from a doorway OR . . . 

. . . Hanging from a rustic shelf.

Here are the supplies used for this project in no particular order
1) glue gun
2) E-6000 adhesive (or similar adhesive)
3) empty glass jars
4) coir rope
5) jute twine
6) shell or similar adornments
7) paddle wire
8) heavy gauge wire or something similar to the metal spring I used - pieces of metal coat hanger perhaps?)
9) various pliers to pry, bend and shape the metal elements

I like using cheap aluminum baking sheets for projects.  They are good for placing glued items upon for drying or for dumping out shell accents (as seen here) to find just the right-sized piece!

The shell pieces I purchased in ivory tones as well as turquoise (seen in the closed bag).  These were seasonal at Michaels but they may have something similar year-round.  The E-6000 and thin silver paddle (or floral) wire was also purchased at Michaels.  Jute twine and coir rope can be purchased at most hardware stores or in hardware departments.  

Here is how I started my jars.  Hopefully you can figure out what I did from the images above.  I did not take step-by-step images as I wasn't planning on sharing this project. 

I first cut 3 lengths of coir rope and placed them out on the floor, overlapping each piece at a center point and spacing them to create equal wedge shapes.  Weigh-down the ends of each piece or rope to keep them anchored and in place as you work with them (as discussed below). 

Once you have equal wedges you will want to connect the pieces together at the center point.  I cut a length of thinner jute twine about 2 feet long and slide it under all 3 pieces of coir, making sure I had an equal amount of twine to each side of the jar.  

I then began weaving it in and under the pieces of coir rope and criss-crossing it over the center of the rope, weaving in and under, and criss-crossing over again and again until all 3 pieces of coir rope were secure to my liking.  About 5 inches of jute twine ends were left hanging.  I knotted the two pieces together over and over to create the hanging "braided" look.  I left about 1/2 an inch un-knotted at the end for the central, hanging-shell adornment to adhere to.

In the above image, the 3 pieces of connected coir rope now create (6) "straps" that will wrap up the sides of the jar for hanging.  The center has been attached via hot glue however I would choose to use the E-6000 for my next lantern as hot glue has a tendency to peel off of smooth glass once it cools.  Seeing as these may hang outside in the hot sunlight, I don't know what effect that may have on the hot glue either. 

For the rest of the project, I clamped the (6) pieces of coir rope at the top of the jar with the metal spring clamp and adjusted them to make them as vertical as possible.  I glued shell accents between each section of rope with E-6000 adhesive.  TIP:  Keep a roll of scotch tape handy and tape a long piece over the shell (or accent of your choice) and onto the glass of the jar to hold it in place until the adhesive dries.  Fold a corner of the tape itself for easier removal from the glass.

That's pretty much it.  Oh, and you may want to make sure the jars you choose have wide enough mouths to get your hands in for placing candles.  I find you can drop a tea-light into narrower jars and center them with a long stemmed lighter before lighting them.  If the bottom of the jar isn't flat, you can add a small amount of sand to level it out or even add other small accents with the sand such as mini seashells.  

**Tomato sauce jars are great for this project!

Perhaps I'll share a few more as I complete them.  I'd like to do a few "variations of the theme" and group them together at various heights around the deck.  It should create some nice outdoor ambiance.  
Read more about my Upcycled Jar Lanterns.

Sharing this at:
Coastal Charm - Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Tuesday's Treasures
Debbie Does Creations - Toot Your Horn Tueday
Someday Crafts - Whatever Goes Wednesday
Ginger Snap Crafts - Wow Me Wednesday
The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday
Be Different, Act Normal - Show and Tell Saturday


  1. Another lovely "Frugal Creation"..great directions too!! Nice idea for in/outside "softer" lighting. "Upcycled Lantern" wonderful design, very nice...
    Thanks for the new views ;-)

  2. Hi John: What a great idea. I like your use of a heavier twine--it looks just right with the chunk jar you chose for the project. Very frugal and beautiful. Take care--have a wonderful weekend!

  3. I absolutely love it. I love outdoor spaces and I am in desperate need to make mine over. Thanks for sharing with me at Toot Your Horn Tuesday.


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