Fall Mason Jar Lantern

The wheel of the year turns, and we now find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of fall. And while each season comes with its own joys and challenges, the approaching colder months can be especially trying. Don’t get me wrong – I love the cooler weather of fall and its riotously bright colors. I love the apple picking, the pumpkin carving, and the whole feast of Thanksgiving. It is truly my favorite season.

Seasonal Living - Make a Fall Lantern

And yet, it all comes with a bit of melancholy. The shorter days and more time spent indoors means less exposure to natural sunlight. And since we’ve harvested most of the remaining garden (save for a few cold-hardy greens) and most of our outdoor projects are complete, I feel conflicted between the satisfaction of a job well done and the sadness that comes with the demise of my gardens.  And there is also the realization that fall is but a short time of transition and that winter is well on its way (and winter is most definitely not my favorite season). And so by the middle of fall, as I start spending more time indoors, I find it’s a good time to do some indoor projects and crafts. Doing fun projects keeps me busy, and eases me into the cold, dark seasons of the year. Making anything seasonal, cozy, or holiday-festive helps to occupy my mind and my hands and keeps my spirits lifted.

This autumn leaf lantern is one of my favorite fall crafts. It’s an easy project that the kids can help with. It’s very rustic but glows with a little bit of fall magic. If you are like me and enjoy simple, natural decor, this DIY lantern is for you. And it requires only a few simple supplies – a few craft basics, plus a jar, a leaf, some paint, an LED tea light, and some filler for the lantern. I like to fill my lantern with natural material, but use whatever you have on hand. Here I’ve used red lentils, but other types of dried beans or acorns are nice, too.  Some glass pebbles or even shredded colored paper would work.  And although I love the warmth of candlelight, please be safe and use an LED tea light, not an actual candle in your lantern.

How do you make fall Mason jar lanterns?


  • A glass canning jar. You can use any size but I think a quart size works nicely. You need the jar to have at least one smooth side without logos or any designs. 
  • Paint in the color of your choice. I use chalk paint, but you can use any paint that will adhere to glass. 
  • A paintbrush or paint brushes. Again, any paintbrush will do. I use a small bristle brush to outline the leaf shape, and a larger foam brush to paint the rest of the outside of the jar. 
  • An oak or maple leaf collected from outdoors. You can also draw or print out a leaf shape onto a sheet of paper and then cut it out to use as a template. 
  • A Sharpie marker, dry-erase marker, or another marker that can write on glass
  • An LED tea light or LED candle (a word of warning: don’t use anything that has a real flame or generates heat in this project as that could be a fire hazard.)
  • A few cups of jar filler. I used lentils but you can use beans, small stones, acorns, or other materials to fill your jar. 


Clean the jar with soapy water and dry it thoroughly.

Place the leaf template or leaf on a smooth part of the jar and trace the outline with a marker. I just hold my leaf in place but you can temporarily fasten it to the jar with a piece or two of rolled-up tape. 

Remove the leaf. Use a small brush to carefully paint around the leaf shape that you traced onto the jar. Paint just inside the outline so that you cover up any trace of the marker. Then use a larger brush to paint the remainder of the jar. Be sure not to paint the area inside the leaf. That is the “window” that will allow the light to shine through. Allow the paint to dry completely. 

Once the paint is dry, place the filler in the jar about 1/3 of the way up the “window”. Then nestle the LED tea light into the filler material. 

Turn on the LED tea light and place your jar in the desired location. The light from the tea light will shine through the cut-out leaf shape, creating a lantern effect.

Enjoy your lantern! You can use it as a decorative piece or a source of ambient light in any room of your home.

If you try this project, let me know in the comments how it turned out, and enjoy the warm glow!

My Homemade Roots

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase.*

DIY Cozy Fall Lantern

No Comments

    Leave a Reply