Friday, February 13, 2009

Green Craft: Camping Lantern

Maybe its cabin fever or just another whim but the boys have recently taken a strong interest in camping. This, of course, excites their nature-loving outdoorsdad who would-if-he-could live high on a mountaintop in a cabin built of sticks. So, taking the role of the ever-encouraging mom and wife I decided to make the kids a portable "Coleman" lantern for their indoor journeys under tents made of sheets and chairs. The best thing is that it was constructed using materials that I already had on hand along with a very nifty little battery operated votive candle that really flickers. I found mine at the $ store but since LED lights are becoming so popular you can find these votives almost anywhere.

What you need:

Two empty identical plastic jars with lids from peanut butter, mayonaise or any other recyclable
Wax paper (although any white paper will do: freezer paper, parchment, printer, etc.)
Wire or rope for a handle
One battery operated votive candle
Glue stick
Drill or Dremel
Hot glue gun or other strong glue

1. Clean out one of your empty jars and take any sticky lable goo off of the outside with something like Goo Gone. You only need the lid from the second container.

2. Measure and cut three pieces of waxed paper to fit around the inside of the jar with just 1/4" or so of overlap.
3. I used a glue stick to glue the ends of the three papers together before taping them together to form a tube. Place the tube in the jar.

4. Now you need to drill a hole on either side of one of your lids. Try to line them up directly across from each other.
5. Thread the ends of the wire or rope through the two holes. Pinch the ends of the wire or knot the ends of the rope to keep them put.
6. Now drill a larger hole into the bottom of the second lid. You can use an exacto knife to cut off any extra plastic.
7. Line up your votive on the inside of the lid so the switch is centered over the hole. Draw a circle around the votive for reference and then hot glue it down.
8. Now hot glue the handle lid to the bottom (closed) end of the jar and screw the candle lid onto the former top (open) end of the jar.
Tah-Daaaaaaahhhh! Turn it on and watch it flicker and glow! I was happy to see that Cam had a much easier time turning on the switch than I did since his fingers are small enough to fit into the hole. The candle advertised that it would last up to 60 hours. I've got the stopwatch timing. When it "burns out" I will just remove it and replace the battery before regluing it down.

You could get carried away with these and draw little pictures on the inside paper so they look like shadows if you want. I have already commissioned the husband to work on rewiring the votive's circuit for a future project that I have in mind. So many possibilities. I like this lantern plain, though, and think it is remarkably similar looking to the original Coleman.

Now I really can't wait until the sun comes out again...

41 comments: said...

This is SO COOL! You've just inspired me to create a Roundup of fun camping crafts and activities-thanks! I'm so excited to warmer weather so I can get out there! I'll be linking.

shauna said...

- WOW -

My girls love to play camping and would have a blast with this. Way to go on creating something so cool and unique! I can't wait to make one...

Annie Pazoo said...

This is an amazing project! So creative! Found you via One Pretty Thing :-)

Lori said...

I love this idea! I will definitely need to make a few of these for nephews & nieces. Thanks!

Jill said...

Hi! Found this project off the oneprettything site. This is fabulous! We are going to have to try this as my 8 yr old will love it. We may have to draw dinosaurs on the paper first...that would be cool. Thanks for posting the project.

KR said...

Okay so this is maybe the COOLEST thing I have seen in a LONG time. I will definitely be making a bunch of these. We spend many of our evenings outdoors by the firelight of our firepit and I think these would be fantastic to help decorate the area, and for the kids to carry around and have fun with. *LOVE THIS*

Kristin :)

april @ faraboverubies said...

This is so awesome! Would make a great VBS (Vacation Bible School) craft! Thanks for posting.

Ginger said...

I think it tutorial is fantastic can't wait to make this with my sister children.Let get the blankets out and go camping!
I'll also be linking!

Christi said...

Thanks so much for sharing this great project - PERFECT for an upcoming birthday party!

Kati said...

How cute! I'm definitely going to make one of these. My husband and I were just talking about taking our son on his first camping trip, and I bet he would love this.

Heather - said...

How cool! You can get those little candles at the dollar store, too...

Sherry Gann said...

Fabulous! My son will LOVE making these. :)

RootsAndWingsCo said...

I LOVE it!!! My boys love anything that lights up or glows. We have tons of these jars empty and waiting for a purpose. I also happen to have the votives. I may just have to make a few of these up just for the fun of it.

The boys would love getting one of these on our next camp out.


Carolyn Wei said...

Thanks for sharing this great idea. I made my own lamp and am so pleased with it.

Lenetta said...

I made these for two of my nieces for Christmas presents. I added a ribbon around the bottom because my waxed paper didn't go all the way down. You can see them at my handmade Christmas post if you'd like. Thanks for the inspiration!

Tara@JustDevineStyle said...

What a great little project! I bet my kids would love to help make these with me. Thanks

Nike@ChooseToThrive said...

This is so cool! My boys are going to go nuts over this. Thanks!

ennadoolf said...

Your comment to "get carried away" and draw pictures made me think ...
... what if you poked holes in the paper? maybe like the constellations? or a floral pattern? or whatever? Then the light would shine through the holes!! So neat.

Emily said...

How fun! My daughter would LOVE this!

Unknown said...

Hi,I was thinking instead of hot glue on the votive. You could use a piece of velcro. That way you do not have to glue the votive
all the time.

Unknown said...

Why don't you turn it upside down? Glue a lid with the handle to the bottom of the jar. Afix your light to the other end. That way you just unscrew it to change the battery.

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