DIY Mod Podge and Solstice Lanterns

We are just a few days away from one of my very favorite days of the year – the winter solstice. It’s not that our family really celebrates it, although sometimes I wish that we did. It’s more that it signals an outward shift that nudges along an internal one. An important one.

I’ll be honest, amidst all this wintry holiday extravaganza I’m usually left feeling a little rundown. Maybe it’s the hustle and bustle. Or the cold. Or the stress, no matter how much I try to avoid it. Sure, it could be all those things. But I actually think it is the light, or lack thereof.

Today, in Chicago, we had a mere 9 hours and 7 minutes of day. Tomorrow will be 14 seconds shorter. And so it has gone for the past few months, since the autumnal equinox. And so it will continue for just a few more days. Each day just a little bit shorter.

But on Friday, on the Solstice, it switches. Each day after that will be a tiny bit longer. Each day we’ll get a little bit more light. And with that switch, I feel a sense of optimism. Instead of getting darker and darker, as it has for the past few months, it starts getting lighter. Even though we have several more months of winter to go, the light is already beginning to return. And with that light comes the promise (and hope) that other things – warmth and green and picnics – will return as well.

Even though the days will start getting longer, it does come slowly.  Perhaps you’d like to make a few special lanterns, as we did, to help light up the evenings as we wait for the light to slowly return.

Solstice Lantern DIY |

You Will Need

For the DIY Mod Podge

Elmers Glue-All

For the Lanterns

DIY Mod Podge
Food Coloring
Paint Brushes

What to Do

Make the mod podge. In a lidded jar mix one part glue and one part water. Stir or shake or both. For the lantern project you’ll need about 1/2 cup of DIY Mod Podge. Leftovers keep well for other projects.

Homemade Mod Podge |

Mixing homemade mod podge |

Choose your lanterns. Any glass jar will do, just make sure it’ll be easy enough to get a candle in and out. Also make sure the jar has a lid.

Color the inside of the lantern. In the bottom of your chosen jar, add a couple tablespoons of your DIY Mod Podge. Then add some food coloring – how much you add will determine how opaque your jar will appear.

Adding color to homemade modpodge |

Put on the lid and shake. Keep going until the entire inside of the jar is coated.

DIY Solstice Lantern Tutorial |

DIY Solstice Lantern Tutorial |

Drain out the extra. Take the lid off and put the jar upside down to drain out the extra mod podge.

DIY Solstice Lantern Tutorial |

Let it dry. Overnight is best, but a handful of hours will do. Keep it upside down.

Make more colors. In a handful of small dishes, mix up a few more colors of DIY Mod Podge.

Decorate the outside. Keeping the lid on, to prevent any more mod podge from getting into the jar, have your little one paint the outside of the lantern.

DIY Solstice Lantern Tutorial |

DIY Solstice Lantern Tutorial |

Let it dry. Again, overnight is best.

Light it up. Admire and enjoy!


Note: The DIY Mod Podge works very well for the Making Art : : “Stained” Glass Windows in the Winter Cozy issue of our publication.

Explore More

What else could you use to decorate the outside of your lanterns?

What happens when you mix different colors of mod podge on your lantern – red on the inside, yellow on the outside? Blue on the inside, red on the outside?

Make Connections

What does your family do to make your mealtimes special? How might your lanterns become a part of your families rituals?

If you were to prepare a special meal to have with your first lantern-lit dinner, what would you prepare? Why?

Connect with us

How did your lanterns turn out? Did you keep them for your own family or offer them as a gift to someone else? Please share your stories and pictures in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or email us and we will feature you on our site – we look forward to connecting with you there.


  1. Mary Ellen says

    I am enthralled by this project. I am assisting a friend in decor for a St. Patrick’s Day party. She and her five year old will have great fun making these!


  2. says

    Love this idea. So stinking cute. I’m planning on doing this for our mantle. I love mommy and kiddo crafts.



    Danielle Reply:

    Thank you, Lauren! They look lovely! I almost can’t wait for Fall again, just to start having our candlelit dinners once more!!


  3. Cassie says

    I have done the first step of this project. However, a lot of the color didn’t stay and on some of the jars, they are practically clear now that they are dry. What could have gone wrong? I don’t want to finish the second step if it’s going to dry pretty clear. Just not enough food coloring? Too much modge podge? help!



    Danielle Reply:

    Cassie, well, that won’t do!! My best guess would be that you’ll need to use more food coloring. I did that project a little over a year ago, and the photos don’t help me, but I may have used my concentrated food coloring that I had from King Arthur Flour. Give it another go with more food coloring, an extra layer on the inside won’t do any harm. If it still doesn’t work out you could use the mod podge and some tissue paper to decorate the outside of the jars. That also gives a lovely effect!


  4. says

    I love, love, love candles and this is going to be such a lovely project for us to try! Thank you!



    Andrea Reply:

    Oh wonderful! It is such a relaxing project as well, and I think the end result speaks for itself :)


  5. says

    These are beautiful! Looking for projects for our museum’s Winter Break day (the theme this year will probably be “winter traditions”) and this looks ideal.



  1. […] we are home and focusing on making a little joy and light in simple ways.  I want to make these solstice luminaries and some homemade hot cocoa mix.  Possibly some baking for gifts, too.  Today, at least for me, […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>