Summer is everything fun: cookouts, water sports, friends and family. One negative aspect of summer, though, is the dreaded mosquito. Nothing is worse than mosquitoes dropping by your place to ruin your good time. It was a real problem many years ago, but nowadays, you can simply burn citronella to ward off the bugs. Definitely set out the citronella but not plain old ordinary candles. Make eye-catching
deck lanterns that will burn the citronella and impress your guests in the meanwhile.
Use a pint-size canning jar to make the first lantern. The tempered glass of a canning jar makes it perfect for this craft. Decorate the jar in any number of ways to make it more attractive. Cut half-inch wide strips of cloth, spread glue on the back, then wrap them around the jar. Lay the strips right next to each other, horizontally around the jar, or leave a small space between the strips. Each technique will give you a different finished look.
Instead of fabric you can decorate the jar with colored tape. You can find electrical tape in colors of red, green, yellow and more. These tapes can give you a very distinct look to the jar. Mix the colors or use just one color. Use metallic tape and you’ll give an elegant, glitzy look to the jar. The tape dispenses just like Scotch tape and is found at many craft stores. Just wrap the tape around the jar, in the pattern of your choice, to create the look you want. Don’t use too much tape, though, or the candlelight can’t shine through.
Kids can make their own jars by using stickers. They can create a particular theme, like a summertime theme or beach theme, then display the finished jars as citronella candles. Use clear lacquer to coat the stickers so they don’t peel away. You’ll find literally hundreds and hundreds of different sticker sheets at any craft store to make any design you want.
Even paint markers can be used to create the design for the jar. They are applied just like magic markers but contain actual paint. The paint dries quickly so draw on the design – or even use stencils – and create the deck candle jar. After you’ve decorated the jar you’ll then use 24-gauge wire to hang it.
Cut three lengths of the wire to 12 inches each. At the end of each wire, slightly bend it, to create a “u” shape at the end. Now begin wrapping a long piece of wire around the jar while trapping the three 12″ wires in it. To do this, wrap the long wire once around the neck of the jar, placing the 12″ wires next to the jar as you go along. It’s helpful to lay the jar on a wadded towel to keep it from rolling and to keep the wires in place.
So, wrap a couple inches, insert one wire, wrap a couple more inches, insert the second wire, then wrap a few more inches, and put in the last wire. As you insert the 12″ wires place them so that the long piece of wire is sticking upward and the “u” shape is against the jar. The short side of the “u” shape should be facing outward. After you have all three of the wires against the jar, wrap the long wire two more times around, then twist it to secure.
Squeeze the “u” shape of each wire closed. Now all three 12″ wires should be sticking straight up, evenly spaced around the jar, and secured by the wire wrap around the neck. Slide beads onto the wires for a more elegant look. The entire wire doesn’t have to have beads; just make a particular pattern with a few beads. If you want, though, you can completely cover the wires with beads.
There are several ways to finish the jar. Pull the three wires together and securely tape them while attaching a loop of cord. The cord can be used to hang the lantern. Another way is to use a brass ring, bend each wire at the end, then hang them over the ring. Don’t have a place to hang them? Just set them on the railings of the deck. Take care when children are nearby as the jars will be warm when in use.
Set citronella tea lights or votive candles inside the glass canning jar to ward off mosquitoes and other bugs. The lights are more than just bug repellent. They create a beautiful glow on a summer night. The lights can be used indoors, too. Create a theme that matches the room where the candle will be placed. Or, go wild and make a colorful punch of color for that room, by using different decorating techniques. Make lots of the jars, set them all over the deck during a cookout, and place some more in the house. They simply grab attention!