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Light a candle for Earth Day with these decorative recycled mason jar lanterns

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Recycled mason jar lanterns for Earth Day

This Earth Day craft is a great ‘family’ project suitable for all age groups. Younger kids can make simple designs, for example the blue heart on green (or you could just have them mod podge blue and green squares directly onto a jar).

Older kids and adults can make more complex creations, like the planet on a background of stars.

Warning—making mason jar lanterns was way too much fun to stop at just one, haha. 

Mason jar lanterns for Earth Day, a fun recycling craft

Don’t feel limited to these designs, be as creative as you like. Incorporate tissue paper in ‘Earth Day’ colours (blue, green, and white) and add in some newsprint for contrast and a ‘recycled’ look. Add words with cut-out newspaper letters or permanent marker.

We were really happy with the finished result. It’s a great way to upcycle your used jars!

Earth Day lanterns made from recycled mason jars

All of these lanterns were made by cutting a square of white tissue wrap to the jar’s size, then decorating it while flat. I’ve mod-podged the finished design around the jar using my own DIY mod-podge.

For the tutorial, I’ve focused on the ‘planet earth’ design. 

Earth day lantern made from a recycled mason jar and tissue paper

How to make Recycled mason jar lanterns for Earth Day

You will need:

  • Used mason jars, washed with the label removed (tip: if you are having trouble removing all the paper and sticky residue use a bit of eucalyptus oil on a cotton ball to wipe it away)
  • Tissue paper in white, green and blue
  • newspaper (optional)
  • sharpie marker
  • Either store-bought mod-podge or our DIY mod podge recipe
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors

How to:

Cut a piece of white tissue wrap to the size of your jar. Leave a little space (about 1cm/0.4″) to overlap when you wrap it around. 

Step one mason jar lanterns

For your own design, decorate this piece of tissue wrap however you like.

For the ‘planet Earth’ design, cut a second sheet of deep blue tissue wrap the the same size as this one.

Use a cookie cutter to cut a circle from the horizontal centre of the paper, about 2/3 the way down.

Step two mason jar lanterns

Fold the paper in various places and snip little diamond-shaped stars away.

Step three mason jar lanterns

Step four mason jar lanterns

Stick your starry sky to the white sheet of paper using a glue stick.

Now make the Earth by using the same cookie cutter to trace a circle from pale blue.

Place a piece of green over the top and use the pale blue circle as a guide for sketching the continents. They can be very rough. Optional – add a little heart in the middle. Sketch a circle with a bit of extra space on the outside around your continents and cut them out.

Glue the continents onto the pale blue circle with a glue stick. The extra space allows you to trim the pieces exactly to fit the blue earth.

Planet Earth

Trim the excess paper around your planet, and glue your ‘Earth’ into the circle space you’ve left on your starry sky.

Glue the Earth into place

Use a permanent marker to outline the continent and make the planet ‘pop’.

Assorted designs mason jar lanterns

Cover your mason jar in mod-podge and carefully wrap your earth (or alternative design) around it. Gently press the bottom and top around the shaped edges, tucking it over the rim and using a bit more mod-podge to stick it down.

Earth day craft for kids

Wait for your jar to fully dry before painting with another layer of mod podge.

Mason jar lanterns

If your label tares or gets a hole in it while you’re sticking it to the jar, don’t stress (this can happen if you have gluey fingers and your label is all wet with glue). Stick it down as best you can, then patch up the rip with another little bit of tissue wrap and mod-podge.

Gorgeous Earth day recycling craft for kids

Aren’t they pretty?

Earth Day lanterns

For fire-safety reasons, I always stick to using LED candles with my crafts, but if you’d prefer the traditional tealights they will work here too. Although, it would be hard with the large jars to physically light the candle (you’d need a long stick lighter).

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