Light up the Dark: DIY Lanterns

Updated: Dec 9, 2020


In the northern hemisphere, the long winter nights can have a real affect on our state of wellbeing. We might spend less time outdoors, our lifestyle may become more sedentary or isolated, and let's be real...it can be super depressing.


There is a reason why there are SO many winter celebrations right at the darkest time of the year. Our ancestors knew the importance of creating connection as we navigate the dark season. BUT this year we are unable to be with our loved ones as the lockdown extends over the holiday season.


So how can we create connection to the light?

By making our own :) I created a super simple tutorial on how to make your own lantern.


Materials

Glass Jar

Tracing paper (stocked at most stationary stores) *regular paper works but lantern is not as bright

Markers

Tape

Candle or light source (we use a headlamp)


Guided Method


Think about some images and symbols that make you smile? Write them down as a guide. Go online and pop those words into google and find some images that resonate.


Now simply TRACE IT! You can print it out, place tracing paper over image and trace an outline. No printer? Place tracing paper on the computer screen and gently trace right from the screen. You only need the outline as a guide to get you started.

*You can also use magazines or family photo's. Trace from there.


Now you have an image that took zero artistic skill to create but I bet you are pretty proud of it. Let's bring it to life! Colour it in using your markers or pencil crayons. Perhaps draw or write new elements to make the image your own.


When you feel done hold the image up to the light and see how it looks. Are there any areas that feel like they need more attention? Things can look different when lit up. If it feels done let's make a lantern!


Directions

Use a glass jar as the base for your lantern. Size and shape doesn't matter...although I have found short wide jars looked the best. Look through your recycling or use a canning jar. Make sure the glass is clean and clear of any stickers.


Wrap your tracing paper drawing around the jar...sizing it to fit snug but not too tight you can't lift it the off jar. Use clear tape to secure the seam. Put a light in the jar: tea light or other light source (headlamp, small flashlight, battery powered fairy lights etc). If using a candle make sure the jar is tall enough to enclose the flame and never leave unsupervised.

Voila! You just made a lantern of your very own with an image that lights you up. Place it somewhere you can see it daily to remind you of what you love. Light the lantern as the night falls and view the the darkness as a gift that allows you the see your own bright light.


Please know you don't have to trace an image and can create in anyway that fits for you. I wanted to make sure people that might feel nervous would feel encouraged to try this activity. There is really no wrong or right way to do it!


  • You can create as a family and free draw on the tracing paper. Nervous? Let the kids show you how to let your creative spirit bloom.

  • Zoom meetings getting tiresome? Have everyone create their own lantern as an organised activity. Creating around a common theme creates an instant authentic connection that encourages sharing and smiles.

  • Make one to gift to loved ones in the mail. Just send the tracing paper image and they can assemble the lantern on the other side.

I hope this activity brightens your day and I would love to see your results! Post in the comments below. Be well everyone :)

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