Tutorial: jars and candy wrappers into lanterns!

Well, after a long wait, the hour is finally here–it’s tutorial time!  A couple of weeks ago I posted these photos as a sneak preview to this post:

jar candle holder, upcycled candle holder upcycled flower lantern, upcycled candle holder, jar candle holder, flower candle holder

There were lots of great guesses, but nobody managed to guess how we had done it.  So here you go, time for the big reveal:

They’re made with sweet wrappers! (Or candy wrappers in the US).  For us that usually means Quality Street Wrappers.*  We’ve worked with lots of different sweet packaging over the past year, and have found that Quality Street wrappers make the most versatile crafting material.  In fact, you can look forward to several more tutorials for Quality Street crafts over the coming weeks!  If you can’t get your hands on Quality Street where you live, you could try Brach’s wrapped candy which also has a translucent wrapper.

Now, for the how too: In addition to sweet wrappers, you’ll need a glass jar, clear-drying adhesive, scissors, stickers or masking tape, and spray paint.

Start by removing the label from the jar.  If hot soapy water doesn’t remove the sticky residue, you can try using a scrubber (like this one upcycled from fruit nets) and as a last resort I find that Avon Skin So Soft** can help to get rid of the gunk.

Mark out the area for your “stained glass” by covering with adhesive.  For these examples, I’ve used masking tape and stickers. (If using stickers, cut out the sticker’s surround and stick it to your wrapper.  This way, you can avoid having to trace the shapes in the wrapper later.)

If you have little ones, they really like to help with the sticking part.

When you’re all stickered-up, get ready to spray paint. (Remember to use a well-ventilated area, put down a drop cloth so your husband won’t get cross, and keep small kids well back.  Use gloves and goggles where necessary, and keep your camera far out of the way to avoid paint spray.)

Give them a good spray with the colour / colours of your choice, and let them dry.

Peel the stickers off of the jar.  (Kids like to help with this part too!) If you have used masking tape, I find it helpful to stick the used tape onto the sweet wrappers and cut around it.  This helps ensure your coloured shapes will be the perfect size.

Paint your adhesive onto the clear glass spaces.  You can use any clear-drying craft glue, but I my favourite is Mod Podge***.

Wet  your cut shape briefly.  This will relax the plastic and allow any wrinkles to fall out, as well as eliminating excess colour bleeding.  (When I did the flower jar at the beginning of this post, I hadn’t worked this out yet–so that jar has a much more crinkly finish!)  Dry it gently on a towel or some kitchen roll, and apply it to an un-painted space on the jar.  Smooth out the bubbles.

When the adhesive is dry, apply another coat on top of the coloured shapes to act as a sealant.
upcycled candy wrapper jars, upcycled wrapper candle holder, repurposed jar lanternThat’s pretty much it!  if the edges of your shapes are less than perfect, you can outline with 3D paint (we used Dylon) to hide any imperfections.  You can also coat with one or more coats of spray sealant or clear varnish to prevent scratches to the paint.  Here are your close-ups:

upcycled candy wrapper jars, upcycled wrapper candle holder, repurposed jar lanternupcycled candy wrapper jars, upcycled wrapper candle holder, repurposed jar lantern

Oh, and my daughter’s jars turned out pretty well too!  They opted for a contrasting inside/outside spray paint effect:

(strange reflections on the glass there, sorry!)  So there you have it:  an excuse to go out and get lots of Quality Street sweets in stock.  And don’t worry if you can’t use up all your wrappers on jars, there will be plenty more Quality Street tutorials coming over the next couple of weeks!

* The makers of Quality Street aren’t paying us to say we like their packaging, or promoting these tutorials in any way.  It’s a shame, as our group puts a great deal of time and effort into keeping these packaging materials out of landfills and trying to inspire others to do the same. Support from them could make a huge difference, both to the disabled artists who participate in our group and to the environment.  If you’d like to see Nestle take a greater interest in promoting ways to upcycle their packaging, please tweet about this post to @nestleukpress.  Tell them we sent you!

**Avon isn’t paying us to tell you that Skin-So-Soft is awesome.  It just is.  Google “uses for Skin So Soft” and check out what you can do with this stuff!

***Mod-Podge isn’t paying us to tell you that it’s our favourite decoupage medium.  But if they want to, we probably won’t protest!

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11 thoughts on “Tutorial: jars and candy wrappers into lanterns!

  1. Pingback: Get your upcycling on! « Awesomesauce & Asshattery

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