Hurricane lanterns are perennially popular as wind-resistant luminaries year-round. Prices can vary according to the materials used and the detail included during their manufacture. Making a hurricane lantern that is uniquely your own is a craft that you can enjoy at home using a few easily obtained items. You may decorate your lanterns lavishly or keep them very simple. Light a candle placed inside and place them on a table, or hang them from a suspended hook to light up a dimly lit room or an outdoor deck for an evening of casual entertaining.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Mason jar
- 20-gauge wire, 42 inches long
- Tape measure
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Wire cutters
- Clean sand or aquarium gravel
- Tealight or small pillar candle
Place an opened mason jar on a flat surface. Discard the lid or save it for a future craft project.
Bend the wire evenly in half until each side of the bent wire measures about 21 inches long. Turn the wire so that it resembles an inverted "V".
Grasp a 1/2-inch section of the bent wire at the top centre of the inverted "V" shape and twist it twice, forming a loop.
Continue to twist the two sides together tightly into one length of firmly coiled wire. You may need to straighten the wire as you twist it, because the wire sometimes tends to coil back upon itself. If twisting the wire becomes difficult, use needle-nosed pliers to help you grip the wires. Trim the last few inches of wire evenly beneath the last tight twist that you can manage using wire cutters.
Wrap this coiled length of wire around either the threaded ridges at the top of the mason jar, or around the area beneath the threaded portion. Your goal is to encircle the top of the outside of the mason jar at least once. Take the straight end of the wire and insert it through the first loop that you made in the wire before you began twisting. Pull the wire taut against the jar, and reverse the wrapping motion around the jar to help secure it.
Example: If you first wrapped the wire around in a clockwise direction, then you would insert the free end into the initial loop, pull the wire tight, and wrap it around the jar once more counterclockwise until you return to the loop.
Push the free end of the wire again through the first loop. This should secure the wire around the jar. Hold the free end of the wire straight up and create an arc over the top of the jar. Adjust this arc to the desired length for your lantern's handle. With the pliers, gently pry away a tiny section of wound wire away from the jar to create a space to insert the loose end of wire that you are holding. Slide the free end into this space and wind it around and through the small, loosened section once or twice to secure it. Pull the free end of wire straight up once more and twist it tightly around the base of the handle that has just been formed.
Pour clean sand or gravel into the jar until it is half full. Place an unlit tealight on the sand or gravel, pressing slightly to stabilise it. Alternatively, push an unlit small pillar candle into the sand or gravel until it stands upright in the new lantern. Light your candle to enjoy your completed project.
Tips and warnings
- You can simplify twisting the wire by bending the wire in half, then placing the first loop on a small nail that has been hammered partially into a piece of scrap wood. Pulling steadily against this nail as you twist the two halves of the wire together will prevent the wire from coiling back against itself.
- Some versions of this project use the tealight candle alone inside the lantern. This isn't recommended as the lit tealight can slide around freely inside the glass jar. Sand or gravel is needed to hold the tealight in place as it burns.
- If you are using a pillar candle in this lantern, remember to discard and replace any sand that has adhered to any melted wax after the candle has burnt completely. This must be done before inserting a fresh candle into the lantern.
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