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DIY "Stained" Glass Mason Jar Candleholders

Written by Jessica.

Back in autumn, I made a simple craft project with my kids. It was an instant hit! We made a variation of it for Christmas. And for winter. At the kids' request, we’ll be making it for Valentine’s Day…spring…Easter…summer…and even in their favorite colors to use in their rooms at any time of the year.

This project is lovely enough to give to grandparents, or others, as a homemade gift. My kids love their completed projects so much that they choose to keep them on their nightstands next to their beds as “night-lights,” but they could also be used to decorate a dining or living room table.

What is this project, you ask? “Stained glass” Mason jar candle holders!

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“Stained glass” Mason Jar Candleholders

“Stained glass” Mason jar candle holders are inexpensive and simple to make, appeal to both boys and to girls of all ages, and can be adapted for ANY holiday, season, or recipient.

(I adapted this project from a tutorial that I found here, using squares of crepe paper, rather than torn pieces of tissue paper, to get more of a stained glass look. Crepe paper is also easier to work with because it’s thicker, and it has an interesting texture and richer color. Finally, I opted to use holiday or seasonal silhouettes made from construction paper rather than torn-paper shapes.)

Supplies you’ll need to get started:

  • Glass jars -- I used these 16-ounce jars with smooth, clear sides, and think this is a fabulous price for a dozen. If you use a different brand or recycled ones, you’ll just want to make sure to choose ones with smooth (not raised or embossed) sides.
  • Crepe paper -- I used crepe paper party streamers, which I almost always have on hand in a variety of colors because we use them for birthdays. You can find these in stores for $1 a roll.
  • Mod Podge -- You can get this in a variety of finishes, but I like the classic Mod Podge best.
  • Paintbrushes -- I just used the small, basic paintbrushes like these that came with my kids’ paint sets. Regular paintbrushes work fine; there’s no need for sponge or higher quality ones.
  • Construction paper -- I traced holiday or seasonal shapes onto basic construction paper. Then, we cut the shapes out as colored silhouettes. I used cookie cutters that we already had on hand to trace the shapes. (If you don’t have cookie cutters, you or your kids could simply draw the shapes free-hand and then cut them out).
  • Battery operated tea-lights -- You could certainly use real tea-lights, but with my children plus two large breed dogs and two cats, battery-operated ones were a better choice for my household! We have been using the same set of these battery-operated tea-lights for several months now and they’re typically on for a couple of hours each night; we’ve yet to need to replace a battery. I highly recommend them.

Prep work to do beforehand:

  • Gather all supplies.
  • Choose the colors of crepe paper streamers that you want to use.
  • Cut the crepe paper streamers into squares. I simply cut lengths of a foot or two at a time, cut the streamers down the middle, and then snipped off small squares. The squares we used were about 1x1” inch or smaller. (Cutting the crepe paper into other geometric shapes would certainly be fine, too).
  • If you are making this project with younger kids or with any child who struggles with fine motor work, you will want to cut out the squares yourself. You might also consider cutting larger-sized squares to work with. If you are making this project with older kids, you could let them cut their own squares.
  • Choose the color of construction paper that you want to use for the silhouettes.
  • Using cookie cutters, trace holiday or seasonal shapes onto the construction paper. (Alternatively, draw the shapes freehand). Cut out the shapes. These will be the silhouettes for the jars.
  • Again, depending on the ages and abilities of your kids (and on the complexity of the shape), you can either do this step yourself or have them help with cutting.

How to make the project:

Part One

Using a paintbrush, apply Mod Podge to a small section of the outside of a glass jar.

Stick the crepe paper squares onto the Mod Podge. Keep repeating until the entire jar is covered. Make sure there aren’t large gaps between the pieces. Overlapping is fine.

Some kids may want to be very deliberate about making color patterns or arranging the squares neatly so they line up like quilt squares. Other kids may want to apply the squares more freely, putting them on in different directions or overlapping them. Either approach is fine; the jars will look pretty no matter how the paper is applied.

Once the jar is entirely covered with crepe paper, let it dry completely.

Part Two

Apply Mod Podge to the back of the construction paper silhouette. Position and stick it onto the jar.

Apply a final layer of Mod Podge over the entire jar, coating both the crepe paper and the construction paper silhouette. You'll want a smooth, even coat (like applying nail polish). Try to avoid leaving any big globs of the Mod Podge.

Let dry overnight.

Put a battery-operated tea-light in your jar, turn on, and enjoy!

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