Skip to Content

Chinese New Year Lanterns Made with Mason Jars

Turn regular mason jars into a fun Chinese New Year craft with tissue paper, paint, and Mod Podge. These mason jar lanterns are perfect for a themed party!

Chinese New Year Lanterns Made with Mason Jars

Are you familiar with Chinese New Year? If you’re not, it’s “an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.”

It’s also a time to honor your ancestors in Asian countries. 2022 will be the year of the Tiger, and Chinese New Year will be from February 12 – 26th.

Chinese New Year Craft

This year I’m celebrating with a fun Chinese New Year craft – mason jar lanterns! If you like mason jar crafts, this is going to be a fun and unique one to try. It’s a little different than the paper lanterns, but these are inspired by them . . . and you can use these year after year.

Chinese New Year is a chance to celebrate with friends and wish “good fortune” for the year ahead. It’s also a chance to eat some DELICIOUS Chinese food (one of my favorites). I love me some hot and sour soup. How about you?

These mason jar lanterns are the perfect centerpiece for your Asian-themed celebration. And they aren’t hard to make, with Mod Podge. Here’s how you do it!

Mason jar, black and gold paint, red tissue paper, Mod Podge, Sharpies, LED candle, paintbrushes, scissors, and black sand

Mason Jar Lanterns

Gather These Supplies

  • Mason jars – two
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  • Red tissue paper
  • Acrylic paint – gold and black
  • Gold paint pen
  • Black marker (like a Sharpie)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Stencil brush
  • Stencil or painter’s tape
  • Scissors
  • Black (or red or gold) sand to fill the base of your jars
  • LED candles

Before you start, be sure to read our guide on how to paint mason jars. Lots of tips and tricks!

Wrapping red tissue paper around the center of a mason jar

Cut a strip of red tissue paper so that it fits around the middle (flat portion) of your mason jar, making sure it overlaps at the back.

Use the decoupage medium to adhere the paper to the middle of the jar – place some down and then wrap the tissue paper, then lightly decoupage over the top.

You might get some wrinkles, but it’s okay – smooth carefully and you should only get a few. Repeat with the second jar and let completely dry before starting the next step.

Taping off the jar with painter's tape and painting with gold paint

Place the painter’s tape around the jar, directly bordering the red tissue paper (top and bottom). Paint several coats of the gold paint until the jar is completely coated.

If some Mod Podge got on the jar above or below the tissue paper, yes – you can paint over it! Let the gold paint dry.

Accenting the chinese lantern with black acrylic paint and a stencil brush

Use a stencil brush to lightly “dry brush” on some black paint, top and bottom. If you’re wondering what dry brushing is, it means to remove most of the paint from the stencil brush and then scrub the paint on back and forth (lightly).

If you find you applied too much paint, wipe it away before it dries with a paper towel.

Using a paint pen to draw Chinese characters with gold paint and then adding black outlines in Sharpie

The final step in this Chinese New Year craft might be the most difficult, but it’s actually quite easy. I looked up some Chinese symbols online (like “good fortune”) and freehand drew them onto all four sides of the mason jars with the gold paint pen.

Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to make really accurate Chinese symbols. These are just for fun. I firmly believe in the philosophy of “try your best!”

After you draw with the gold paint pen, outline some portions of the symbol with a black Sharpie.

Black sand and an LED candle inside a Chinese lantern

Place some sand in the bottom and black an LED light on top. If you use LED lights, you can put the lid on – if you use tea lights (real), just screw the jar rim on and NOT the lid.

Chinese New Year Lanterns Made with Mason Jars

Aren’t the lanterns beautiful? I’m so pleased with them! They are a perfect addition to your Chinese New Year party.

I hope you enjoy – and Happy Chinese New Year!