Use a free paper lantern template to make some colourful, upcycled tea light jars. This cute decoration was made with Chinese New Year in mind but would look great on the mantle all year round.
We celebrate Chinese New Year in this house. I may not be Chinese, but I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Some of the culture and traditions will forever be engrained in me, such as celebrating Chinese New Year.
Besides Chinese New Year, there are a few celebrations we mark in the cold dark winter months. I do not necessarily need one, but I love to have an occasion to craft for.
I made rainbow thistle decorations for Burn’s Night on the 25th of January (my mother is Scottish). My birthday falls on Valentine’s day. I love to craft and fill my house with heart decorations to celebrate.
Making Upcycled Tea Light Jars For Chinese New Year
I love brightening my home with illuminated decorations during the dark winter months. Last year I made some cute upcycled postage stamp tea light jars out of yoghurt jars.
These jars are just the perfect size for tea lights, whether real candles or LED ones.
We’ve eaten a lot more yoghurt since then. I have another stack of cute little jars. I have upcycled them using a paper lantern template to make pretty little Chinese Lantern tea lights for my mantle.
These are just as colourful as the postage stamps, as I have used colourful patterns for my free paper lantern templates. The patterns used are traditional Chinese patterns from a 19th Century book, “Examples of Chinese ornament“.
This is a straightforward and affordable upcycled craft. Even the kids can get involved.
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What You Need
- Small glass jars like the ones you get with the posh yoghurt. Mine are from Aldi, but other yoghurt brands are made in similar glass jars.
- Double-sided sticky tape
- Thin washi tape in a variety of colours
- Remote-controlled tea lights – I use remote-controlled tea lights to switch all the lights on and off with just a push of a button. It beats taking them out of the jars one by one every time you want to switch them on or off.
- Inkjet printer and two sheets of standard regular paper
The Free Paper Lantern Templates
There are six Chinese paper lantern template designs spread over two pages.
Just click on the title above the design page you want. Higher-resolution images will open in a new window on your browser. If you right-click your mouse on the larger picture, you will have the menu option to save it to your device.
These mini paper lanterns were designed to go around small yoghurt jars. However, if you don’t have small pots, you can print them on heavy paper. They then will stand up on their own.
How To Make The Chinese Lantern Tea Light Jars
1.. These are so easy to make. The first thing to do is to wash the yoghurt jars in hot soapy water. Scrub away the labels.
2. Next, print out the paper lantern templates. Standard printer paper will do. Make sure you select the best quality print option on your printer’s advanced menu settings. This will make sure the colours are nice and bright.
There are three lantern templates per page. Cut each one out using scissors.
3. Next, fold the paper lantern template in half lengthways. Make sure you crease the paper along the fold.
3. Black lines are marked at equal distances along the lantern template. Using a pair of scissors, cut along these lines. Do not go beyond the end of the black lines. Once all the slits have been cut, unfold the Chinese paper.
4. Next, place double-sided sticky back tape around the top and the bottom of the yoghurt jars. Then wrap the Chinese paper pattern around the pot, so it sticks to the tape.
5. Next, pick a coloured washi tape to match the pattern of your paper lantern. Then wrap the tape around both the top and bottom of the tea light jar.
I wrapped the washi tape around the jars twice. That was so the pattern below wasn’t visible through the tape.
6. Finally, all left to do is pop the LED candle into the tea light jar.
Chinese New Year Paper Lanterns
These cute mini paper lanterns sit on my mantle and look bright and colourful. I love that the LED lights are remote-controlled. This makes them so easy to switch on and off.
They will be staying on the mantle way beyond the Chinese New Year. They look great with my Chinese hexagon patchwork cushions. This collection of candle container crafts has some cute homemade candles in Chinese tea cups.
There are so many possibilities to make these paper lanterns in different designs. Cut your chosen paper to size and draw the slit lines on it wouldn’t be too difficult. There is an extensive collection of vintage Japanese art prints here that I also think would make great lanterns.
The remote-controlled LED lights are good fun with these upcycled map luminary bags.
If you liked these Chinese paper lanterns, you might like some of my other illuminated decoration ideas.
- Mini glass jars -I used Aldi homemade yogurt jars
- Double sided sticky tape
- Washi tape in various colors
- Free printable paper lantern template (see blog)
- Remote controlled LED lights
- 2 sheets of standard computer paper
- Home printer
- Clean all labels off the yogurt jars with hot soapy water.
- Print off the paper lantern template and cut it out. There are six different designs to choose from. Make sure to choose the best quality print option from the printer's advance menu settings.
- Fold the printed paper template in half lengthways and crease the fold.
- Cut slits into the template using scissors and following the printed black lines.
- Unfold the cut paper with slits.
- Place double-sided sticky tape around the top and the bottom of the glass jars.
- Wrap the paper template to the jar using the sticky tape.
- Wrap a stripe of washi tape around the top and around the bottom of the jar. Use washi tape in a complementary color.
- Finally, put an LED tea light into each of the mini jar paper lanterns.
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Check out these printable mini vintage image tea light lanterns too.