DIY Hanging Jar Lanterns

Hanging Lights

Well this weekend was absolutely glorious, as predicted. That was good news for be because I’d been planning a BBQ to celebrate my friend Audrey’s birthday. I wanted to create atmosphere with candles but was worried about the wind blowing them out. The perfect solution? Use old jars to make hanging lantern tea light holders. Hang them in a tree for a particularly whimsical effect.

You will need

Glass jars – jam jars would do, the main thing is that the jars need a rim, and the neck needs to be wide enough to fit a candle in.
Wire cutters
Bottle nosed pliers

Step 1 Cut a length of wire about 40cm long. Use the bottle nosed pliers to create a small loop in the wire about a third of the way along its length.

Hanging Lights

Step 2 Hold the loop against the rim of the jar and wrap the wire around the circumference so that the two ends of the wire cross over directly opposite the loop.

Hanging Lights

Step 3 Pull the wire tight so that it hugs all the way around the edge of the jar, using the pliers if necessary.

Hanging Lights

Step 4 Use the pliers to make a hook from one end of the wire around the other length, and then trim the remainder. The long end that is left will become the handle of the lantern.

Hanging Lights
Hanging Lights

Step 5 With the long end of wire that is remaining, make a handle for the lantern and insert the end into the loop you made in step 1. It’s up to you how long to make the handle – the longer it is the more the lanterns will sway in the breeze.

Hanging Lights

Step 6 Use the pliers to hook the loose end of wire around the loop (that you made in step 1), so securing everything in place, then trim off the end of the remainder.

Hanging Lights

Step 7 Repeat steps 1-6 with all your jars. Put a tea light in each jar. Now it’s time to decide were you want to hang the lanterns. Choose a spot that has something solid at each end on which to attach the line that you’ll hang the lanterns on – I decided to go for two branches of a tree.

Hanging Lights

Step 8 Measure a length of wire that is long enough to run from the two attachment points (in my case, the tree branches) then add on another meter or so and cut the wire. Using your hands or the pliers (depending on how thick the wire is) make little dents in the wire at equal distances along the length.

Hanging Lights

Step 9 Attach the wire at one end by creating a loop (say, around the tree branch, or a pole) then string on the lanterns one at a time. The handles should sit nicely in the dents along the length of the wire, holding them in place.

Hanging Lights

Now all that’s left to do is light the candles, sit back and enjoy the balmy evening by candlelight!


Author: Rohini Wahi

Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.

She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at

7 Comments on DIY Hanging Jar Lanterns

  1. hayley
    Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 18:33 at 6:33 pm (12 years ago)

    Love this tip. Hx

  2. Cat
    Thursday, May 27th, 2010 12:34 at 12:34 pm (12 years ago)

    Thanks Hayley – have a go and let us know how you get on 🙂 Cat x

  3. Andie
    Sunday, July 17th, 2011 03:07 at 3:07 am (10 years ago)

    Just found your blog and I love it! Definitely going to give these a go this summer. Thanks for the inspiration. x

  4. Olga
    Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 15:27 at 3:27 pm (10 years ago)

    I simply love it 🙂

  5. paul and allison
    Sunday, April 1st, 2012 16:21 at 4:21 pm (10 years ago)

    thanks i was puzzling over the best way to hang my jars with wire and this works a treat – we are using baby food jars which are just big enough for tealights and look very cute – suspending them from old bicycle wheels sprayed white – for our wedding

  6. line±dot
    Sunday, August 12th, 2012 16:07 at 4:07 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve wanted to try these for ages and I finally did!

    Thank you for your helpful pictures, I hope you don’t mind but I added a link to this page in my post:

    Thanks again, they look amazing and very professional!

  7. Cookies
    Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 10:52 at 10:52 am (7 years ago)

    Wanted to do this for ages, now I am going to have a go. I may also use twine instead of wire – a little more rustic.

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