How to make luminarias

Just because your kids are out of school for the holidays doesn’t mean you should put away their paper lunch bags. Put the bags to use by making festive holiday luminarias to decorate your home or yard.

Step 1: Decide on a location

First, decide where you’ll put your completed luminarias so that you can calculate how many to make. Plan on leaving approximately six inches to two feet between luminarias, and then make your calculation based on the width of the paper bags you’re using. If you’re going to line a walkway or driveway, make sure you double the number of luminarias needed to account for each side of the path.

Read more: Holiday decor ideas >>

Step 2: Gather your supplies

It doesn’t take much to make luminarias. Simply gather the following supplies:

  • Paper bags — basic brown is fine, but you might want to use white, green, silver, gold or red
  • Sand — 1-2 cups per bag
  • Candles — 1 votive candle or tea light per bag (you may want to get battery operated versions for extra safety)
  • Decorating supplies — paint, markers, stamps and scissors

Step 3: Decorate your bags

Have fun decorating the bags however you’d like. Some people cut stars, Christmas trees or snowmen into the bags to allow the images to flicker at night. If that seems like too much trouble, simply use stamps to decorate the exterior or write a letter on each bag to spell out a holiday greeting.

Read more: Ice luminarias >>

Step 4: Prepare for action

Once the bags are decorated, fill each one with one to two cups of sand, depending on the size of the bag, and place tea lights or votive candles into the sand.

Step 5: Let them shine

At dusk, light the candles to create a beautiful amber glow. If you’re using real candles, make sure that children and pets don’t have easy access to the bags, and always remember to extinguish the flame before you leave the house or go to bed.

Read more: Crafts with candles >>

More holiday craft ideas

How to make a candy stick vase
How to make handprint gifts
How to make homemade holiday place settings


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