Thursday, September 29, 2011

Glowstick Lanterns

I kept seeing these things all over pinterest, and I was intrigued. So I checked it out. Turns out these awesome little things were as easy to make as dumping a glowstick into a jar of water! Being a lover of all things glowing, and the owner of a permanent stash of glowsticks, I gave it a shot.  It turns out, there was so much more too it.

First I got some baby food jars and filled them with water. I know now that I will need to wash the glue and stuff off, because it looks kind of gross when illuminated. Anyway, then I gathered up my glowsticks and sorted them by color. I wasn't sure how many I would need to put in each jar to make it really glow, but I grabbed as many as I could of each color just in case. I had pink, orange, light green and dark green. As you can see from my pictures, the only ones that worked out were the greens. The oranges were apparently old, and they didn't glow at all. The pink didn't even glow enough to register in a picture.

Here are the two jars I ended up with. The one on the left was the one I did first. I used a handful of those little glow sticks, the kind you make bracelets and necklaces out of when snapped together with connectors. As you can see, it was ok but not very bright. The one on the right is one big glow stick. The kind with a hook and a hole in the top. No one ever mentioned which kind to use and it never occurred to me that it would matter. Obviously it does. The other two I tried to make were also those little ones.

When I started, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to snap the glow stick before I cut it open or not. Turns out that yes, you are. Inside them are these little glass rods that hold the glowy stuff. When you crack the stick, the glass breaks and it all mixes and the glow happens. If it never mixes, it never glows. The little ones are especially important to crack first because otherwise you can't get the stuff out. I ended up having to break the glass tube in the big one with my hands, which was kind of scarey. And messy. By the time I was done, there was glowy stuff all over the kitchen and my clothes.


1.) Wash jars completely and get rid of ALL of the glue and label. I used stage 3 baby food jars, but stage 2 would mean less water and probably a brighter glow. I intend to find out.

2.) Break tubes BEFORE you cut them open.

3.)  Use the big fat glow sticks instead of the little skinny kind.

4.) If for some reason you have your heart set on using the little glowsticks, make sure you have at least a dozen of them. Do yourself a favor and cut off both ends before you dump it, otherwise it won't come out. I started by trying to blow the stuff out, but that made my mouth go numb and tasted horrible. And even though the stuff is non toxic, it can't be good for you.

5.) Prepare to make a mess. Count on it.

I can't wait to do this again, now that I know what I am doing. I will only be using the big glow sticks. I am trying to find every color so that I can make a rainbow. It shouldn't be too hard with Halloween right around the corner! :) I will post a new step by step tutorial next time.

What I'm Making Monday


  1. These are so cool and it is my first time hearing about them. Thank you so much, this will be a fun project :)

  2. :D Thanks! You should check out! It's amazing! So many great ideas just floating around EVERYWHERE! Stuff just like this and oh so much more. I am addicted.

  3. Thank you for clarifying the instructions! I've seen a variation of these with a glowstick and glitter. I'm excited to try these!

  4. looking forward to next post. waiting to see how other colors turn out before I try them. Thanks for info!

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  6. how much water to how many glow sticks, such as 2 oz water to 2 glow sticks?

    1. I used a 16oz Stage 3 baby food jar and 1 of those thick glow sticks, the kind with a hole and a hook on top. I just filled the jar with water most of the way, broke the stick, and then finished filling it with water. Hope that helps!


I love your comments- thanks for sharing! :D

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