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How to make your own summer lanterns

How to... achieve backyard ambiance

As the beach towels dry and the sun begins to set, the party is only just beginning. What better place to carry on the summer festivities than in your own backyard? Whether it’s for a quaint evening barbecue or an impromptu late-night soiree, these creative lanterns are sure to set the mood.

Mason jar lantern

Image source: itallstartedwithpaint.com


  • Mason jar
  • Wire (about 4 feet per jar)
  • Sand or stones
  • Tea-light candle


  1. Fold the wire in half, then twist, leaving a small loop at the top.
  2. Wrap the twisted wire around the rim of the jar once, tightly. Pull the remainder of the twisted wire through the loop you made.
  3. To make the handle, bend the remaining wire over the jar and place the end of it under the wire wrapped around the jar’s rim. Twist into the wire, securing it.
  4. Place sand or stones at the bottom of the jar to keep the candle in place.

Tin can lantern

Image source: growcreative.blogspot.com


  • Recycled tin cans
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Wire (about 1.5 feet per can)
  • Spray paint
  • Tea-light candle


  1. Remove labels and glue from cans. WD-40 should do the trick.
  2. Using the hammer and nail, create two holes on opposite sides of the can under the rim of the open end.
  3. Continue to pound out small holes around the can. You can use a marker to sketch out your preferred design first.
  4. Fold the wire in half and twist it to make it sturdier. Lace each end of the wire through the two initial holes at the top of the can and hook them, twisting the hooked ends around the now-existing wire handle.
  5. Spray paint the cans with color(s) of your choice.

Photo lantern

Image source: tuttobellablog.com


  • Black-and-white vertical photos; you could use some from the previous summer to remind you of good times you had.
  • Vellum paper
  • Lanterns (Pier 1 or Pottery Barn Home Décor are some good options)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Candle (real or fake)


  1. Measure the photos so they the same size as the outside sides of the lantern. You can adjust them accordingly on a program such as Microsoft Word.
  2. Print the photos onto the vellum paper and cut around the printed photos.
  3. Place a small piece of double-sided tape on the corners of the lantern’s sides, then place the photo on the glass and press gently on all sides and corners.

More on outdoor entertaining

10 must-have backyard decorations for summer
Backyard barbecue decor

5 bright ideas for summer outdoor lighting

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