In my general kicking around the internet looking at fairy stuff – partly for work and partly for general entertainment if I’m being honest – I came across these DIY fairy lanterns which looked super cute.   I like my fairy photo shoots to have a little additional flair even though it doesn’t make any difference to the photos themselves – it’s just a way of sharing the fairy love with my little visitors – so I thought I’d have a go at making one myself.

Now those little battery operated tealights are so widely available they’re also safe to leave flickering in a room so I thought I’d have a go.  Not that I’m sure that I need to warn folk, obviously you should not use real flame tealights as that would be dangerous.  Nor should you under any circumstances use real fairies unless you want a very nasty and well-deserved nip.

DIY Fairy Lantern Tutorial Fairy Photo Shoots Sussex

First off, you need to get a jar.  I had a largish Branston pickle jar (other brands of pickle are available) mainly because this was what I had in my cupboard. I find with these pickle jars, if you put them in the dishwasher, the labels come off really cleanly but obviously you can scrub / peel labels off other jars.  I think you can use nail polish remover to remove any glue traces but my jar didn’t have any so it wasn’t a problem.  Then get some white acrylic paint and paint the inside of the jar.  The advice I read said to do two coats which I dutifully did and then found when I tested it with a tea light inside that you couldn’t actually see through it at all, so perhaps I did the coats too thick.  Either way, I started again (luckily I had quite a few of these empty jars kicking round the kitchen) and just did one coat.

DIY Fairy Lantern Tutorial Fairy Photo Shoots Sussex

Then I printed out some fairy silhouettes – you can get loads of free ones if you just Google search.  I used scissors to cut around the outside edges and then a craft knife on a cutting mat to cut out the detail inside the wings and the fingers.  After all of this, my fairy looked a little bit grey around the edges so I just went over her with a black felt pen to darken her up a little and hopefully make her show up a little more inside the jar.  I stuck her to the inside of the jar with craft mount.  Again, going by the advice I had read online, you get the strongest silhouette when you actually stick the item to the glass rather than standing it up inside the jar. If you’re feeling fancy, I guess you could use this to create different layers to the scene inside your jar.

DIY Fairy Lantern Tutorial Fairy Photo Shoots Sussex

After that, I had some little flower shaped gemstones from some craft project long forgotten which I thought would be perfect for putting inside the jar for added decoration.  I don’t have the longest most elegant fingers and so I developed a system with two sets of tweezers, one to manoeuvre the piece inside the glass (it’s easier if you turn the jar on it’s side to do this) and then use the other set of tweezers to knock the piece off the first set and stick it to the glass.  I used a contact adhesive and that seems to have worked fine.  It would have been a lot easier with a bigger jar or smaller, neater hands.

DIY Fairy Lantern Tutorial Fairy Photo Shoots Sussex

This is the finished jar from the inside.  Looking at it, I have to be honest, my hopes weren’t high as it really didn’t look like much at all.  Anyway, then I covered the lid with some black fabric and used a hemp garland thing to go around the edges of the jar to pretty it up a bit.  I didn’t want to make the lid too elaborate as in theory you have to be able to take it on and off easily to turn the tealight on – although I think you can get ones that work on a timer that would be perfect for this kind of thing.  I got the trim from The Works by the way.  I love their craft stuff – cheap and very cheerful.  Bit like me.

DIY Fairy Lantern Tutorial Fairy Photo Shoots Sussex

This is the finished jar from the outside.  Again, I was a bit disappointed when I looked at it – not that it had been the work of hours but I was considering junking the whole idea and starting again but I thought I’d take it indoors into a shady spot to test it with a little battery tealight.

DIY Fairy Lantern Tutorial Fairy Photo Shoots Sussex

Anyway, shady spot found and I actually think the finished result is pretty cute.  I could definitely see this being a sweet feature in a fairy lover’s bedroom!

All in all, a really cute DIY craft project with lots of scope for customisation.   It’s quite fiddly so it’s definitely one to do for the kids rather than with the kids if your children are quite young.  If however, you have dexterous older children, their little hands would definitely be useful!   I’ve kind of got the bug to make a more elaborate one now, maybe in a bigger jar with straighter sides so it would be a little easier to work with.  I was also toying with the idea of using that frosting film rather than painting as I think it might look neater – I definitely have some in the craft room (it’s a treasure trove of leftovers in there kept ‘just in case’).  Hmmm… *wombles off to poke around for a suitable jar*