Mason Jar Lanterns

Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Part of the celebration is to hang red lanterns decorated with messages of luck and good fortune for the New Year. In this project we gave new life to some old jars to help us light our way in the New Year.

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Let's get started!

Make sure your jars are squeaky clean. Any oily residue from foods can cause the paint to pull away from the glass.

What you'll need

Put on your gloves and make sure you have some newsprint or paper towels down on your work area.

Pour about a teaspoon of the Pinata paint into a jar. (We carry this paint because it works great as a transparent paint on leather, but it also works fantastic on glass and other slick surfaces!) Tip the jar so the paint runs up/down the inside of the jar, and start turning the jar.

Use a small amount of Pinata

As you turn the jar the paint will coat the inside. Tilt and turn so the paint coats the entire inside of the jar. Add paint if necessary, and use the foam brush to help get the paint around the lip.

Roll it around the whole jar

Paint on spots you missed

Keep turning! Grab your heat tool or hair dryer, and using the low setting, blow into the jar to help dry the paint.

Clean up any thick areas and use your heat gun

Pro-Tip: Don't blow right into the jar. A hard stream of air can mess up your smooth coat. Tilting the jar with the mouth side down (over your paper towels) helps to keep streaks from forming while the Pinata colors dry, and also allows excess paint to drop onto your covered surface.

We applied two coats of paint to each jar. With the heat tool the first coat of paint will dry quickly.

So far, so good!

Time to decorate the outside of our lanterns! We browsed around and found different motifs to decorate the outside of the jars. 2014 is the Year of the Horse so we found a simple, traditional horse as well as Chinese character banners for Happy New Year.

Now the outside

Gold is the color of choice for lettering on New Year banners, so we used the #204 Warm Gold as our main color in the Lumiere 3D paints. These paints are glue based, very metallic looking, and stick to almost any clean surface!

Be original or copy from traditional design

Pro-Tip: Print or draw out your design on paper and put it inside the jar so you can trace it from the outside.

Make it easy and trace!

We wanted a fine line, so we used a #5 tip on the Lumiere 3D bottle. The tip just snaps on.

These tips helped a bunch

Carefully draw your design. When applying the paint you do not want to push hard against the glass. The smooth glass will cause the tip to slip; instead, you want to let the paint fall onto the glass or just barely touch the tip to the glass.

Practice your line work first to get the tip just right

Pro-Tip: Do part of a jar at a time, letting it dry in between. This way, you are less likely to smear it (ask us how we know!). While that dries, paint another section or another jar.

Do this in stages as it's easier to add detail once dried

Let it all set up for a few hours or overnight. Once your paint is dry, add an LED tea light for a warm glow.

Allow to dry thoroughly

Finished Project

Happy New Year!

Some Other Techniques to use with Pinata paints

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