Frosted Mason Jar Lanterns

Give your porch a glow for Halloween, or any holiday, with these simple mason jar lanterns! You only need jars and frosted glass spray paint!

mason jar lanterns

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I love decorating for Halloween! Well, I love decorating in a not-so-scary kind of way. Halloween is such a fun time to create fun wreaths, decorate with candy, and of course, carve pumpkins. The bummer about pumpkins is that they rot so quickly. That usually means that they get put off until closer to the day of Halloween. But I want that candlelit glow on my porch earlier in the season. These fun Mason jar lanterns are perfect for that!

pumpkin carving alternative

To make these opaque lanterns, you’ll need a couple of smooth jars, letter stickers, battery LED candles, and some frosted glass spray paint. This project is incredibly simple and pretty quick. Once you’re finished, put them on your porch, or mantel, for a spooky glow all October long!

Mason Jar Lanterns

Lantern Supplies

  • Glass Mason jars without labels or texture
  • Large 3″ letter stickers
  • Battery LED candles
  • Rustoleum Frosted Glass spray paint
  • Rubbing alcohol
mason jar lights

How to Create Frosted Glass Lanterns

First, clean the glass jars with rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is an effective cleaner. It washes away all dirt, oils, and any sticky residues. Glass is often coated with the oils from people’s fingers, which keeps stickers from adhering. Oils and residue also interfere with paint with adhesion. If you want a smooth finish, it’s important to clean the glass with rubbing alcohol before applying paint. Apply the rubbing alcohol with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. Once the jars are dry, they are ready for painting!

diy jar lanterns

After the jars are clean (and dry), it’s time to add the letter stickers. The stickers are basically a stencil for spray painting. The rest of the jar will be frosted and opaque, making the clear letters stand out. The larger the letter stencil, the more visible the letter is on the jar. I chose 3″ letters because they are large enough to see from a distance. And I could fit either 1 or 2 letters on each jar.

Choosing the Right Letters

I decided to paint the words “BOO” and “SPOOKY” on my Mason Jar lanterns. Since Boo has 3 letters, I knew that my other word needed to be a multiple of 3. I landed on spooky because it’s a fun word and fits perfectly with my “not-so-scary” Halloween decor preferences. I centered a single letter for “BOO” on each jar. For “SPOOKY” I arranged two letters diagonally. The first letter is in the upper left corner of the jar and the second is in the lower right corner. I love how the “SPOOKY” jar turned out.

halloween jar lanterns

Applying the Spray Paint

Once the letters are in place, spray paint the jars using frosted glass spray paint. I recommend using Rustoleum Craft and Hobby Frosted Glass. Apply the spray paint in thin, even layers. It is important to pause and shake the spray paint can between jars and coats. This ensures that the spray paint sprays smoothly. If the can is not shaken regularly, larger drops of paint will spray out. This creates speckles and air bubbles on the jar’s finish. It takes 4 coats for the perfect level of opaqueness. Add each coat of paint before the previous coat is totally dry. The finish looks much better with wet coats.

frosted glass spray paint

Allow the jars to dry for at least half an hour before peeling the stickers off. Peel the stickers back slowly and carefully to avoid peeling off any spray paint. Then allow the jars to cure indoors for a full 24 hours. Once the jars have cured, add a battery-powered LED tea light candle to each jar. I used inexpensive LED candles with switches at the bottom. I bought them from Dollar Tree. This meant I had to manually open each jar and remove the candles to turn them on and off. Another option, which isn’t much more expensive, is to buy remote-operated tea lights. Then you don’t have to open the jars every time you want to turn them on or off.

frosted glass jars

These glowing Mason Jar lanterns are perfect for any season. Add a holiday message for Christmas and use them on the mantel. Or use star stickers for a little July 4th decoration. To keep them more seasonal, add leaves for fall or snowflakes for winter.

I love these lanterns for Halloween as a stand-in for pumpkins. Pumpkins will rot after a week or so. But these lanterns will last all month long! That’s not to say that my family won’t carve pumpkins. I love carving fun designs, like Mary Poppins or Star Wars symbols. The jars just last longer and can be stored and used each year.

Check out more fun Halloween projects here!

This post was originally published October 24, 2014 and republished August 27, 2021



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