Make your own luminaries from aluminum foil
This project is an oldie but a goodie. My good friend brought this one back to my attention after she saw it done at a local craft day with a flower design. I remember my little brother doing something similar in Boy Scouts with tin, a nail and a hammer. This method is a lot simpler and can be done with items you can find around your house. I am going to share with you two different ways to make these so that your kids can have fun making the luminaries as well.
First, select the jar you will use. For my purposes, I selected both glass and plastic peanut butter jars. If you are going to use real candles, make sure you use a glass container. I am going to use the LED tealights so either plastic or glass will work for me.
Next, find a design that you like and print it out. Size it to make sure it is the correct proportions to fit onto the jar. Make sure the pattern is fairly simple so it is not too difficult or tedious to transfer the image. I chose a snowflake pattern so that I could use them on the front porch for my Christmas party next month.
Measure your jar and tear a piece of aluminum foil so that it will cover from top to bottom and all the way around. Tear a big enough piece so that you can fold it over at least twice to make the foil sturdier. Make your first fold as high as you need it and then continue folding until all of your edges are turned in and you have a nice smooth fold along the top and the bottom. Don’t worry if it is uneven on the back, the only part that matters is that it is fairly straight and even from the front. In this case, I folded mine to be a little over 4 1/2 inches tall to fit around my standard peanut butter jar.
To protect your workspace, place your foil over top of a piece of foam. Then center your image on the foil and tape it down so it doesn’t move and mess up your pattern. Now, the age of the person who is going to do the image transferring will determine which method to use. For smaller kids, let them take a ball point pen and poke holes to create the design . The finished design has larger holes and turns out a bit more rounded . For older kids and for adults who want a more intricate design, use a stick pin. The stick pin takes a lot longer since the holes are so small but I love the result!
Pen version on the left, stick pin version on the right.
Now, you are ready to wrap your designed foil around the jar. Cut off any extra foil on the ends and then just tape the two ends together. The tape easily removes so that you can flatten the foil for easy storage.
Finally, add candles or the the LED tealights to make the luminaries glow! I have a giant jar that I might try making a giant luminary out of and will share pictures of the finished product. Also, consider using baby food jars to make individual luminaries at place settings.