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How to upcycle your glass bottles into simple DIY lanterns

Recycling glass bottles has never been prettier. Save your bottles to create these pretty little lanterns and use them to decorate your home backyard, patio or porch. And this craft only takes about five minutes so you can make a whole batch of them in no time.

DIY simple lantern
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

There’s no better feeling than that of being resourceful, taking what would otherwise be trash and turning it into treasure. Who would know that a common everyday object like a glass bottle could light up your house or outdoor space in such a beautiful way?

DIY simple lantern 2
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

If you want your lanterns to do double duty in the warmer weather, choose citronella oil to help keep the bugs away. Just keep in mind where you will be burning when purchasing lamp oil.

For indoor use, be sure to use the kind meant for indoor oil lamps, and for outdoor use you can choose either citronella or a torch fuel product.

You can use any bottle you have on hand, but you’ll want to start with the prettiest bottles you can find. I’m always on the hunt for a great “juice only” sparkling drink since I prefer not to have the added sugar or food colorings, so these Izze bottles fit the bill on both counts. They come in beautifully decorated bottles but also have an organic flavored water option and a 100 percent sparkling juice option. The colors are perfect for a cheerful batch of lanterns and they look like they are already decorated for a party.

DIY simple lantern
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

So next time you enjoy your favorite drink, don’t forget to save the bottles and lids for this project. We saved ours from a recent party and set out a special tray so guests knew where to drop their bottle caps and bottles.

Start this craft by enjoying some screw top drinks with friends and save the bottle tops.

DIY simple lantern
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Hammer a hole in the center of the bottle top to make a hole for the wick. If your hole is too big, turn it over and hammer the hole slightly flat to tighten it up. Cut a piece of wick the same length as your bottle and insert it into the bottle, leaving about 1/2 inch to light. Then fill the bottle with lamp oil, screw the bottle top back on securely and light it up.

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Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Winter or summer, there’s nothing like a porch full of pretty lanterns to greet guests and visiting family.

DIY simple lantern 6
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

How to make glass bottle lanterns


  • Glass bottles with screw top caps
  • Lamp oil
  • Candle wick (the length of your bottle)


  1. Fill an empty glass bottle with lamp oil.
  2. Cut a piece of wick the same length as your bottle.
  3. Hammer a nail into the center of the bottle top to make a hole for the wick. Insert wick and screw the bottle top back on tightly.

Tip: These will only stay lit for a long period of time if the lamp oil fills the bottle, so be sure to purchase enough oil to fill the bottles to the top.

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