How to Build a Flickering LED Candle Lantern

Written by megan shoop
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How to Build a Flickering LED Candle Lantern
Make a homemade candle lantern. (lantern image by Gonçalo Carreira from

LED candles often take the place of traditional flame candles because they're less dangerous and don't leave a waxy mess behind. You can place them in airless places, like under glass cups, because they don't require oxygen for fuel. You can also safely hang them in candle lanterns in trees without worrying about the branches catching fire or the candles burning out and ruining the effect.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Glass jars
  • White shape stickers
  • Etching cream
  • 18-gauge copper craft wire
  • Wire nips
  • LED flicker candles

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  1. 1

    Wash and dry your glass jars thoroughly. Use any size jar, from baby food to spaghetti sauce, depending on the size of your candles. Match the sizes appropriately; a large candle will stick out of a small jar and a small candle will look lost inside a large jar.

  2. 2

    Stick a few shape stickers to the outside of your glass jar. You can use the same kind of stickers some use for tanning or cut your own shapes out of white contact paper. Peel off the backing before sticking the pieces to your jars.

  3. 3

    Smear a thin layer of etching cream over the entire jar. Let the jar sit for about 30 minutes and rinse it thoroughly. Peel away the stickers. The jar will have a frosted look where the cream touched it around the stickers.

  4. 4

    Nip a piece of wire about 12 inches long. Wrap it around the neck of your jar and twist the two sides of the wire together all the way to the ends. Bend the twisted wires over the mouth of the jar in an arch. Slide the ends of the twisted wire under the wire at the jar's neck and bend the ends upward.

  5. 5

    Turn on an LED flameless candle and set it down inside your lantern. Hang the lantern in a tree, from a hook in the kitchen or from a rod iron lantern hook.

Tips and warnings

  • Make your own flameless candles by pouring wax into a silicone mould, making sure the hole in the centre goes all the way through. Glue a battery-powered light bulb socket up through the bottom hole and screw a flicker light bulb into the socket from above. You can also scent or colour these candles.
  • Create an emergency LED candle with two LED bulbs, a 9-volt battery and a battery lead. Connect the wires on the bulbs to the battery lead with wire caps. Place the terminal end of the lead on the battery terminals and tape it down with electrical tape. This gives your lantern a blue glow.

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