Vintage Canning Jars Repurposed Into Candle Lanterns

8 Materials
2 Hours
When a friend gave me four vintage canning jars a few months ago, I knew I wanted to do something special with them. Paint is usually my default method for upcycle and repurpose projects, but these were just too special to be covered with paint.

Instead I accentuated their heritage and beauty and put them into use again - in a different way than they had probably ever been used before.
It had obviously been a long time since they had been used, but a good washing was all it took to bring them back to their former beauty. They were too gorgeous to cover with paint, so I took a different approach that will dress up any glass jar - vintage or not!

So grab yourself some jars (there are some gorgeous pasta sauce jars out there that would work beautifully for this project) and let's repurpose them into something fabulous!
  1. Start by wrapping a length of 16 gauge wire under the rim of a jar. 15" is a good length for a standard-mouth sized canning jar.
  2. Note where the wire touches the side of the jar, then using a pencil or similar item, create a loop by wrapping the wire around the pencil. Be sure to wrap the loop away from the curve of the wire.
  3. Repeat step 2 for the opposite side.
  4. Replace the wire, making sure loops are even, and cross wires at the back.
  5. Turn the jar around to make working easier. You don't want to just slide the wire around to the front because we are about to cinch it down tightly.
  6. Twist the wires as tightly as you can to create a good fit.
  7. Add a few more twists to secure.
  8. Clip the excess wire with cutting pliers.
  9. Press the twisted section against the side of the jar with needle-nosed pliers.

Now you have a sturdy base to attach your hanger!
Now it's time to make the hanger:
  1. Cut another length of 16 gauge wire. A good rule of thumb is 7 times the height of your jar. You can adjust this, however, if you want your finished hanger to be shorter or longer that the ones I made.
  2. Determine the center of the wire, cross one end over the other, and gently fold it almost in half, stopping when you have a small loop.
  3. Fold one of the ends over and around, creating a second loop.
  4. Fold the other end over to make the third loop.
  5. Give the wires a few twists below the loops to secure.
With the hanger finished, it's time to attach it to the base:
  1. Drop the ends of the hanger into the loops on the base. The amount below the loops that extend to your work surface is perfect.
  2. Bend the ends upward.
  3. Using needle-nosed pliers, twist the end back down, creating a spiral.
  4. Repeat with the other side. You can give it a little crimp here just above the base loops to keep it from sliding down.
For the last step, we're going to add some beads to accent the natural beauty of these vintage jars.
  1. Choose some favorite beads and cut a length of 26 gauge jewelry wire.
  2. Start with one of your largest beads and wrap the wire around it a few times, creating an anchor for the rest of the beads.
  3. String the beads however you like. I used a pattern for mine, but if you prefer to go random, that works too. It's a good idea to leave a length of wire after the last bead. You'll need slack in the wire as you work. Or, you can just remove extra beads if you have too many.
  4. Untwist the wire from the anchor bead and wrap it around the base of the hanger several times. Now wrap the beads up the side of the hanger. After every third of fourth bead, wrap the bead wire around the hanger wire two or three times. This will keep the beads from sliding down - and it's why you need that extra wire!
When you get to the top, give it a few twists, then work down the second side. If you happen to run out of beads/wire before you finish, just wrap the end of the wire around the hanger several times, then add another section just like you did at the beginning. If you attach them closely, you'll never be able to notice.

When you get to the bottom, wrap the wire around the hanger several times and clip off any extra wire.
Fill your jars with a little sand, add a pretty candle, and you have yourself some gorgeous candle lanterns made from recycled jars!

You can also leave some of your jars without hangers and add beads to only the neck if you prefer - like I did with my largest one. They make nice additions to tables or counters.
And you can add beads to the neck as well as the hanger if you like more of them.

Hang these on your deck or on hooks in your garden. Use a table version for your guest bathroom. My friend who shared the jars with me suggested using them for weddings. The possibilities are as wide as you can imagine!
What ideas do you have for them?
Suggested materials:
  • 16 gauge wire   (Lowe's)
  • 26 gauge jewelry wire   (Hobby Lobby)
  • Beads   (Hobby Lobby)
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To Work With My Hands
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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