How to Make DIY Hanging Lanterns for the Holidays

By Brittni • Updated on 02/15/2024

Make hanging lanterns for the holidays, with this festive and easy DIY tutorial.

Detail of glass hanging lanterns for Christmas, made of polka dot mason jars

Over the years, I’ve created plenty of non-traditional holiday DIYs. And I think I always will because they’re super fun for me to create.

BUT sometimes there’s nothing better than adding your own DIY vibes to a classic idea (the projects that have been around for years and years).

Today’s projects is one of those classics! I made a bunch of DIY lanterns for outdoor entertaining, using mason jars.

To add my own twist, I made a hanging version, added polka dot patterns (because why not, right?!), and spun them into DIY hanging holiday lanterns that scream Christmas from a mile away.

Plus, the lights I used make the lanterns look like there are fireflies inside. Happy accident for sure!

Click through for the tutorial and all the holiday-inspired photos.

Woman holding DIY Christmas lanterns, sitting on cozy picnic blanket

materials needed for hanging lantern DIY

Materials for DIY Hanging Holiday Lanterns

  • mason jars (in 2-3 different sizes)
  • heavy-duty yarn
  • 3/4 inch or 1 inch circle stickers
  • spray paint
  • battery-powered LED string lights (not pictured)
  • tree trimmings and floral wire (optional)

You can find Ball® jars (and other mason jars) pretty much anywhere these days. Either on the Ball® Fresh Preserving website. Or on Amazon, Target, Walmart, and more.

There are many different sizes of mason jars as well. I personally love the variety in sizes for a project like this. Makes it feel more effortless in charm, imo.

So many options and they’re all super affordable too.

step by step instructions for making polling hanging lanterns

Instructions for DIY Hanging Holiday Lanterns

1. Add stickers to jars.

Start by adding stickers to the outside of the jars in any pattern you like. Make sure they’re smooth against the surface of the jar. 

2. Spray paint jars.

Then remove the lid and spray paint in a well ventilated area.

I would recommend laying out layers of newspaper outside, turning the jars upside down, and giving all the jars one to two even coats of paint.

3. Let jars dry and remove stickers.

Once dry, remove the stickers from the jar.

If any of the stickers are difficult to remove, use a sharp blade.

4. Attach string or yarn.

Then, add a couple of long piece of yarn underneath the lid lip and triple knot them together after wrapping around the lip.

5. Add lights.

Add battery-powered LED string lights inside and close the jar.

6. Add more lantern details.

You can stop at step number 5 OR play up the holidays by adding some tree trimmings around the mouth of each jar with a little bit of wire.

You could even add fresh flowers for special occasions.

7. Hang lanterns from trees and other areas.

Lastly, hang the lanterns from different places outdoors (and inside too, if you like).

It looks best when the lanterns are at varying heights and in clusters.

Speaking of which, I love how clusters of these lanterns look hanging from low tree limbs, especially as it starts to get dark outside. So pretty.

Woman walking outside in the fall leaves with boots on, carrying holiday hanging lanterns with fairy lights inside

Swinging small hanging lanterns from a tree for the holidays

Woman holding polka dot white mason jar lanterns, with black and silver Christmas ornaments and holiday greenery

Can I use these holiday lanterns year round?

Considering daylight savings is over and it’s getting darker earlier, we could all probably use a handful of these in the backyard all year long.

Once the holidays are over, remove the tree trimming garlands and you can reuse the polka dot lanterns year round. Easy as can be!

I don’t have any trees to hang lanterns on. Any other ideas?

You can hang lanterns like these DIY ones tons of places – not just in trees.

  1. You can hang them near your stockings from a fireplace mantle. Just make sure they’re super secure first. You don’t want them to fall and break glass everywhere.
  2. Hang them from doorknobs for a little festive charm (indoors and out).
  3. Hang lanterns from the staircase bannister, with other garland and greenery.
  4. Skip the string and rest them on a coffee table in the living room. Or on the dining table during your next holiday party.
  5. Or add them to your front doorsteps or porch area for an adorable welcome to carolers and beyond.

Woman holding polka hanging lanterns and a holiday wreath on her shoulder

Woman sitting on a cozy winter picnic blanket with wrapped presents for Christmas

Woman wearing striped long sleeve shirt holding Christmas hanging lanterns in front of her, with Christmas garland

Woman in yellow skirt, holding holiday hanging lanterns, with a wreath

Model Cori Maass
Photography / Styling Brittni Mehlhoff

What do you think? Are you ready for the holidays?!

Any outdoor holiday plans where you could use these hanging lanterns?

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14 comments | Click here to reply

These jars are great. I think I will use stars.

Gayle

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That is so cute… I love it. I wish you very warm and happy holiday.
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Hello,
With these being glass and around here the temp get pretty cold at times or with the bad weather.
Would they break easy?
I love the idea it’s really cute.

Nancy

These are absolutely beautiful! I love them with the black and silver ornaments, Stunning!

Sarah

That’s a great idea Sharon. I didn’t even know those existed. 👍

Brittni

Darling idea! So you don’t have to reach into the jars to turn lights on/off, get remote controlled lights from Pier One. They are awesome.

Sharon Millsap

I love christmas!
https://thepinkpineappleblog.blogspot.com/2017/11/holidays-2017-gift-guide.html

The pink pineapple

Thanks Michelle. 🙂 They were fun to make! So easy too.

Brittni

They look wonderful, and I really like that they aren’t ‘traditional’ Christmas decoration!
https://www.makeandmess.com/

Michelle

Thanks Courtney. 🙂 Loving polka dots at the moment too.

Brittni

Those lanterns are so cute!! I love the polka dots.
http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

Courtney
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