Ahh, summer nights….don’t ever end! I’m already getting nostalgic over our long summer nights fading into fall, making way for chilly autumn mornings. The hum of cicadas and heavy, slow air makes it hard to leave the porch at night – I just want to sit still and soak it all in. That’s how I ended up spending my Sunday night making this sweet flameless camp lantern.
Like a little reminder of summer camp days gone by, this is a super cute upcycled DIY & kids art project rolled into one! It’s useful, it’s made from simple recycled items, it’s kid-safe – basically all of my favorite things. If you have a peanut butter jar and a disposable plastic (or paper!) bowl you can make this!
To make your own upcycled camp lantern you’ll need:
- 1 Plastic peanut butter jar (with lid)
- A plastic bowl
- Craft or spray paint (make sure it’s something that sticks to plastic – check our eco-friendly craft supply list for green spray paint options!)
- 14″ (roughly) piece of 1/4″ cotton rope, wide ribbon or similar.
- A flameless tea light
- A small velcro dot
FOR THE INNER LINER:
- Colorful tissue paper
- A large piece of wax or parchment paper (for a large peanut butter jar I used 11″ x 6.25″)
- A glue stick
DIY Recycled Flameless Camp Lantern Instructions:
- Paint a plastic bowl and peanut butter jar lid
To prep, you can paint your plastic bowl and the lid of your peanut butter jar a fun color as we did. Let dry thoroughly and set to the side.
- Cut a hole through the bottom of a clear plastic peanut butter jar and thread with cotton roping or ribbon
Cut a small (1/4″) hole in the center of the bottom of the peanut butter jar. This is actually going to turn into the top of your lantern. Tie a knot at each end of your cotton roping or wide ribbon. Starting from the inside of your jar, push the center of your rope through the hole. From the outside, pull the center out and pull up to create a handle.
- Cut a hole in the bottom of the plastic bowl and thread the roping through to create a cover for the top of the lantern
Cut a small hole in the center of the bottom of your plastic bowl. With your bowl bottom-side up, push the handle up through the hole and pull the bull down so it covers your peanut butter jar – now your lantern has a cover! Just a note: I cut off the lip of my plastic bowl to make it look more like an actual lantern cover – you may not need or want to do this depending on the kind of bowl you use. If you notice that the cut plastic has left a sharp edge, you can sand it down with a small piece of sandpaper or steel wool to make it extra smooth for small fingers.
- Add a small square of velcro to the inside of the peanut butter jar lid to keep your flameless tea light in place
Grab the lid of your jar and a flameless tea light. Put one side of a velcro dot on the bottom of your flameless light and the other in the middle of your jar lid. Now when you want to light up your lantern, you can turn you lea light on, stick it to velcro, screw the lid onto the bottom of your lantern and you’re ready to roll!
At this point, your lantern is ready to use, but we wanted the inside to light up with bright and colorful patterns, so we went ahead with a few extra steps…
- Fold a large square of parchment paper in half to line the inside of your lantern
To create the colorful liner, I started by doubling up a piece of parchment paper (2 layers make it a little stiffer so it will hold its shape in the jar and stand up straight). Measure the height and lid diameter of your peanut butter jar and cut your parchment paper so it will fit inside.
- Cut or tear pieces of colorful tissue paper to decorate your liner
Once your parchment paper has been cut to size, start cutting tissue paper into fun shapes – they can be geometric, organic – anything you prefer! You could also use stamps, draw with crayons, decorate with stickers or glue on leaves to decorate your liner.
- Glue the tissue pieces to the parchment to create a fun composition
Use a glue stick to glue down the pieces of tissue paper to make a fun composition. When you’ve finished, roll the parchment liner up and slide it into your peanut butter jar. Screw the lid on and you’re all set!
This sweet little summer craft is a total winner for camp group activities, art classes or a kids party! Pair it with our free printable summer doodle books. outdoor explorer pack or our paper straw and play dough fairy forests for an evening outside full of seasonal fun!