Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How to make..... Hanging lanterns

Don't throw away old glass jars, recycle them and make these beautiful hanging lanterns. Taking inspiration from a previous blog, they would be fantastic for hanging in the garden on those long summer evenings.

You will need:

1. Clean the glass jars thoroughly and remove any paper labeling from the outer surface. Hot soapy water cleans the jars and softens the labels for quick removal.

2. Wrap a piece of decorative copper wire around the lip of the jar along the outer edge, making two loops in the wire as you go. The loops should be about a half-inch in diameter and will act as hooks for a top-wire handle. The length of the wire will depend on the size of your jar.

3. Secure the two ends of the copper wire by twisting the opposing edges over each other using needle-nose pliers. The wires should be tight against the lip of the jar with only the loops having any give.

4. Thread a second piece of wire through one of the hoops on the first piece of wire and secure in place. This is one side of the lantern handle and should be firmly pressed into the copper of the loop. Use the pliers to push the wire through the loop several times before pressing firmly into place.

5. Create an arch of your chosen length over the mouth of the jar with the wire. The height of the handle from the top of the jar is a matter of personal preference although being able to place a candle inside the jar and hang the jar is the priority. At least 6 inches works well.

6. Push the free end of the copper wire handle into the second loop, wrap around several times and secure in place. The pliers ensure a firm connection between the two wires, completing the circuit and creating the handle. The jar is now ready for hanging and candles.

Although the candle light creates a magical glow you may want to decorate the jars further. Think about adding decorative beads to the wire which hangs the glass lanterns or spray them different colours, alternatively you can create a template, stick to the glass and then spray with frosting.

And if you want something that is even easier, don't hang them! Simply wash the jars and use a collection of different sizes in the centre of the table. Decorate as above or add ribbon around the rim!

I hope your summer shines!

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