Assorted Upcycled Glass Jar Halloween Luminaries

reusable luminariesCan you believe Halloween is right around the corner? Not to be a Mrs. “Scrooge” for Halloween or anything but it boggles my mind that Americans spent about $7 billion dollars last Halloween. It’ll probably be higher this year and yes, that could be equivalent to a GDP of a small country. Sure, this type of spending can stimulate our lack luster economy right now but I can think of other meaningful ways to spend money than on cheap costumes and decorations for just one time use. So to be less wasteful and eco-friendly, I make a point of making homemade costumes, treats and decorations by reusing many things around the house. It’s fun and gets your creative mind going to make things rather than buy already made decorations. And especially when you get kids involved, they love how their creations turn out!

One of the easiest decorations to make is a luminary using a glass jar that you would normally toss into the recycling bin. And you can use flameless battery operated flickering lights instead of candles to avoid potentially toxic fumes and to prevent fire around trick or treaters. And what would even be greener is to use solar powered walkway garden lamp light bulbs. They are inexpensive to purchase at any home improvement centers and they cost nothing to light up! Just leave the lamp out during the day to get charged up and you are good to use them in the luminaries!

Let’s start making some cool and fun Halloween luminaries!

Upcycled Glass Jar Luminaries

One of the easiest things to make is a luminary using a glass jar that you would normally toss into the recycling bin. And what would be  even more  green is using solar powered light bulbs from a solar walkway garden lamps instead of candles. Here are some easy ways to turn glass jars into Halloween luminaries.

1. Solar Powered Jack-O-Lantern

You’ll Need: • Glass bowl with a wide mouth opening • Solar powered walkway lamp light bulb • Spray paint • Permanent marker • Gloves and mask • Newspaper or cardboard to cover the work area Instructions: 1. Wear a mask and gloves and line the work area 2. In a well ventilated area, spray paint the outside of a wide mouth fish bowl or a flower vase with non-toxic spray paint. 3. Then, paint the facial features with permanent markers. 4. Unscrew the top portion of the walkway lamp and insert the solar powered light bulb into the glass bowl. And, introducingggg……Solar powered Jack-O-Lantern to scare off your trick or treaters. Or keep them safe on your porch! Jack o Lantern Collage

2. Glass Jar Luminaries

You can upcycle mason jars, salsa or spaghetti sauce jars into these cool tranlucent luminaires to light up the walkway for your trick or treaters. You’ll Need: • White crafting glue that’ll dry clear • Food Coloring • Empty Glass Jars • Sponge paint applicator • Newspaper to cover the work area Instructions: 1. Drop a few drops of orange color into glue in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a darker orange hue because as it dries on the glass jar, it will become lighter. 2. Paint outside the jar with a sponge paint applicator. Coat a few more times after it’s dried to make sure it’s covered. Translucent Luminaries 3. Another method is to pour a few tbsp. of the glue inside the jar and swirl it around to coat completely. This will take longer to dry. Translucent Luminaries 4. You can draw facial features or leave them plain. Either way, add candles or flameless candles and voilà, you got twin luminaries! upcycled glass luminaries

3. Mummified Luminaries

You’ll Need: • Newspaper • Empty glass jars • Flour • Water • Permanent marker Instructions: 1. Line the table with newspaper. It’ll get messy. 2. Cut the gauze or cheese cloth strips about 1-2” wide cut in workable lengths. I like using about 6 inches in lengths at a time. 3. Mix flour and water to make a consistency of thick gravy. I used unbleached whole wheat flour for this because it has tiny black specs and darker in color and I wanted the color of the lanterns to look like aged mummies. Depending on how many glasses you are using and how big they are, the amount of flour and water you’ll need will vary. 4. Once you have a smooth flour and water mixture, soak the gauze strips in the glue. Gently squeeze out the glue mixture from the strips so that they are not dripping but moist. 5. Start covering the jar with strips in an irregular pattern. No one expects mummies to be perfectly wrapped, so, don’t be a perfectionist. It’s ok to be less uniform. 6. When the jar is completely covered, let it dry overnight. 7. Cut out the eyes and mouths with black construction paper and glue them on. Or you can use a permanent market and draw them in. Whatever is easiest for you. Easy peasy, right? Mummified Luminaries And now, you have a collection of various upcycled glass jar luminaries that will stay with you forever!


  1. Sue says

    Absolutely great ideas! Thank you for some green ideas! Others wise, Halloween would not get celebrated in our house!

    • says

      Thanks! That’s the only reason why I love Halloween too…fun and green reusable decorations! I try to challenge myself every year. :)

    • says

      That sounds like a fun event!

      You can reuse these every year! Just wrap a wire around the ridges near the mouths and you can hold them like lanterns! And if you use flameless candles, you don’t have to worry about fire!

  2. Amy says

    I am so not a crafting whiz and I think I could even handle making these! One questions though: What kind of glue that “dries clear” did you use? I have no clue and am definitely not intersted in buying a bunch of different glues to test them out, lol

    • says

      Oh, you don’t need to be a crafting whiz to make these for sure!

      For this tutorial, I used Mod Podge but I think Elmer’s glue will work too.

      Go for it! And come back and let me know how they turned out!

  3. says

    Love these!
    Will definitely do with the kids! I was just visiting in the USA last week and I am shocked by the Halloween frenzy, even Whole Foods had plastic wrapped gaudy nylon costumes – which I found very disappointing.
    It prompted me to finally write an anti plastic rant on my little blog – please visit if you have the time!
    I really appreciate your presence on the web – and I like your approach to “Green”
    Best regards from Oslo, Norway

    • says

      Great post Krisha! I share your Dad’s “colorful language” when I go to the big box stores with all the plastic Halloween junk this time of the year. Recently, they found toxic chemicals in costumes and decoration in some of those plastic junk and it boggles my mind how they can continue to manufacture them to poison our kids!

      I was going to recommend Beth’s site and her video but I see that you already have them!

      Thanks for reading and leaving me your link!

  4. Wendy says

    These are so awesome!!! The ghosts are my favorite.

    I love your ability to marry creativity with resourcefulness.

    • says

      Awww…thanks Wendy!

      Yeah, he’s kinda cute, isn’t he?

      I like lighting up my front porch with these luminaries since I have about 10 steps and I don’t want anyone to trip and fall. And they make great conversational pieces….with moms, of course. Kids don’t care how they were made. ;P

      I have another great Halloween deco idea on Monday so be ready! :)

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