Table Crafts: Easy Homemade Lanterns

I love glass in all forms from marbles to Murano sculptures to Victorian medicine bottles. Even glass that is used for everyday objects counts like jam jars, bottles, ramekins and anything with branding set into glass such as the cursive writing on Bon Maman jars. I’m a good recycler but I can also be a terrible hoarder. Every slightly unusual jar will be kept because, of course, one day I will use it for something really useful…like putting pens or dried thistles in it…or painting them to make homemade lanterns! These are so easy to do, you just need to allow a bit of time for drying. They will add a personal touch to your table and look great anywhere in the house. Mine look good in the bathroom next to the succulents and Penhaligon’s bath oil bottles.

What you need:

Jam/ chutney/ pesto/ any jars

Paint – I used sample pots of wall paint

A paintbrush

Mug of water


Paper towel or an old towel to dry the paintbrush on

Tea light candles

What you need to do:

1. Wash and dry the jam jars thoroughly.

2. Lay the newspaper out,  turn the jars upside down and start painting the bottoms. If you want to have the drip effect, pour paint onto the bottom, pick the jar up at the other end (but don’t turn it over) and swirl it around a bit so the paint slides over the edges, then put the jar down again and let the paint drip.

3. For the spotted chutney jar lantern I dipped the paintbrush into the paint then let it drip onto each side. But you have to let each side dry before dripping the spots onto the others.

4. Allow to dry for at least 2 hours.

Putting the candles in can be a delicate affair. I managed to light the candles first, hold them directly over the jar necks and drop them straight in without the flame going out.

It’s fun to paint various patterns on them as when the lit candles are inside the light will play against the surrounding surfaces in different patterns.

If you like this you will probably like Paint Dipped Picnic Cutlery:


Paint Dipped Picnic Cutlery

Picnic season is probably over but this is a fun thing to do for any meal especially if you’re bored of your cutlery!

What you need:

Wooden or plastic (some are painted to look like metal) disposable cutlery

Paint – tester paint pots will do


What you need to do:

1. Shake the paint pots well.

2. Lay out the newspaper and dip the ends of the cutlery into the paint.

3. Hold each piece of cutlery over the paint pot and let the excess drip back into the pot, or as the paint drips you can hold the cutlery over other pieces and let the drips fall on them to create patterns.

4. Lay the cutlery on top of the paint pots over the newspaper and allow to dry for several hours.

There you go, fun cutlery!

Alternative Centre Piece – Sprouting Onions and Meadow Plants

A while ago I left a couple of red onions in the back of my food cupboard and forgot about them. Then one day I got a start when I reached into the cupboard and touched a rubbery feeling thing that looked like a bright yellow tentacle! I dared to find out more and discovered it was just the  onions and they were sprouting. Slight anticlimax! But I decided that it was going to be a flower arrangement substitute! So, I have continued the theme by adding bits of fern and leaves from the wild (the natural look!) part of the garden. I am a fan of making do with what you have so using old marmalade jars and plants from the garden is something you can do immediately with no preparation, although you do have to leave the onions to sprout a bit. I think they look great! See other alternative “flower” arrangements with the milk bottle and weed arrangement and the black cabbage leaf arrangement filed under “Crafts”.

Vegetable “Flower” arrangement


Following on from January’s “weed” arrangement is a vegetable arrangement. I recently had a cheeseboard at a bar in Piazza Pitti (Pitti Gola –  the link is on the right) and some of the cheese was presented on leaves of cavolo nero (black cabbage). They are great! They have so much texture making the leaf look as though it has bubbles all over it. I brought two leaves home and they looked great alone in this glass jar. I added some walnuts which look pretty good too. I think Uncle Monty said in “Withnail and I” that he found the cabbage much more appealing than the rose. Point taken!