Greetings! It’s Jennifer Valencia with a tutorial on making cool glow lanterns with cheap light sticks and an empty glass jar.
You will need:
-A few clean glass jars with well-fitting screw-on lids. Remove the exterior jar labels prior to starting this project.
-Several packages of cheap glow sticks. I usually buy the ones in Target’s Dollar Spot. These are also sold at party stores and dollar stores.
-Printouts to make labels for the jar tops
-Plastic grocery bag
First, print out your labels and glue them to your jar lids. I used some cute DHD products to make Halloween-themed labels. I adjusted the color of the owl in one label per my daughter’s request.
I viewed my Photoshop document at 100% and held up the jar lid to eyeball it to the right size. Then I dragged and clipped some cute papers and embellishments from various DHD kits. I printed out a test draft at low res just to ensure it was the right fit, then I printed a higher quality document with the finished labels.
Set Up Your Supplies
Next, set up an assembly line for making the jars. Put down a layer of old newspapers to catch drips and spills. Put your plastic bag, scissors and glass bottles on top of the newspapers. Have the paper towels handy for wiping up. Line up all of your glowsticks; you will need about 4-5 for each jar. You may even need to add more, depending on your colors and the strength of your glowsticks.
Put on the goggles and gloves. Although glow liquid is not deadly toxic in small amounts, it is an irritant, and you DON’T want to get it into your eyes or ingest it. In addition, there is a thin glass ampoule that holds part of the liquid inside the glow stick; when you bend the stick this glass breaks and the liquid inside mixes with the liquid outside, producing the chemiluminescent glow. Tiny glass shards will be present inside the glowstick after it is snapped. You don’t want to get these into your eyes, on your skin, or on the floor where kids or pets could ingest them.
Drain The Glowsticks Into the Jars
Snap the glowsticks as you usually would to make them glow. Using the sharp scissors, carefully snip off the end of a glowstick inside the plastic bag. The end will fly around once it is snipped; by cutting inside the bag you prevent the end piece and any drops of liquid from landing around the room or in your eyes.
Now turn the glowstick around and carefully snip off the other end inside the plastic bag. The liquid will flow easily, so put the glowstick into the jar and let it drain out. Don’t shake the glowstick into the jar; just let the liquid drip in. If you shake it, you will probably gets lots of bits of broken glass in the jar as well as glow liquid. This doesn’t look pretty.
Once you have drained several glow sticks into your jar, carefully discard the sticks into the plastic bag that holds the end pieces and put it into the trash. Put the lids onto the jars and ensure they are tight. Then gently shake the jars up and down to distribute the glow liquid over the walls. You can add one or two SMALL drops of water (just drops!) to help the liquid flow inside your jar. If you add too much water, the reaction will be quenched and the glow will go out. Don’t add oil to the jar. I tried this once, thinking it might help the liquid coat the jar smoothly. Instead, it completely quenched the reaction. I saw web examples where glow liquid was dumped into whole jars of water and it glowed; maybe this works with larger glowsticks that have different amounts of chemical in them. I have not tried the larger glowsticks. If you do, please post your results.
The glow will only last several hours, so put these together just before you plan to use them. I’ve noticed that the yellow and green ones last much longer than the purples.
SAFETY: The chemicals inside the glowsticks can be irritants. Make sure you don’t let children or adults open the jars to play with the liquid. Throw the jars away when you are done. These jars should not be reused for anything. There are small glass fragments in the glow liquid that could cause cuts. Although different companies may add slightly different chemicals, the basic ones are hydrogen peroxide and an ester and a luminescent dye. They may contain phthalates (such as dibutyl phthalate or dimethyl phthalate), tert butyl alcohol, phenol (after the glowstick is snapped), and other chemicals. Although none of the chemicals in a glow stick are regarded as acutely toxic, they can irritate the skin, especially if a person has allergies to any of the ingredients. They can make you sick if you ingest them. It’s definitely best NOT to get the chemical on your skin. If you do, the MSDS says to wash with cool water for 15 minutes and contact a doctor or poison control center if you have lingering irritation or concerns.
As long as you’re careful, this is a fun and easy project. If you try it, please post pictures to share! Thanks for reading!