Paper Bag Luminarias
Adapted From: Holiday
Decorating For Dummies
luminarias are made of votive candles set in paper bags weighted with
sand and placed in rows along walkways, driveways, and even rooftops. You can
use them in new ways, however, to light paths, a mantel, or a staircase. Because
they're so simple to make, you can use them as projects for children. Light up
your nights for the holidays by making some luminarias for your home and
customizing them for a specific holiday.
decorate, punch, or cut designs from lunch-size paper bags to make holiday
luminarias quickly and easily. Use bags in holiday colors (you can find them at
party supply stores) to give your luminarias a holiday look. For instant
decorating — no embellishments required — use the preprinted themed bags
that are often used for holding goodies.
Place one to
two inches of sand in the bottom of each paper bag. Nestle a tealight or votive
candle into the center of the sand. When you're ready to use your luminaria,
just light the wick of the tealight or candle.
stenciling, or drawing designs
customize plain bags by stamping, stenciling, or drawing designs on them with
craft paint or markers. Stencil stars for the Fourth of July, or stamp shamrocks
for St. Patrick's Day. A simple drawing of a jack-o'-lantern for Halloween or a
stenciled Star of David for a dusk celebration can provide a beautiful way to
welcome guests and make any occasion special.
For a simple
way to make a luminaria with a complex design, use a computer to print clip art
in black ink on plain copy paper. Trim the copy to fit just inside one side of
the plain brown bag, and then glue or tape it into place. When you light the
luminaria, the black lines of the design show up on the outside of the bag. With
this little trick, you can quickly make luminarias that look as if you spent
lots of artistic energy on them.
Try to find designs
that look like silhouettes or are completely black: They show up better
when the luminaria is illuminated.
perforate outlines of designs in your paper bag luminaria, bright pinpricks of
light shine through the paper. Perforating outlines of designs in paper is easy.
Just follow these steps:
1. Place several
layers of folded newspaper on a cutting board.
2. Tape your paper
bag, with the bottom flap unfolded, to the newspaper with pieces of masking tape
or removable tape.
3. Take a thumbtack
and prick evenly spaced holes along the outline of the design, making sure you
prick through both layers of the bag.
designs out of the paper bag will allow a little more light to shine through
your luminaria. But remember, when you cut more paper from the bag, you also
allow more wind in, making the candle flame more likely to go out.
out designs, use shapes that are 1 to 1-1/2 inches in size. Anything larger will
weaken the structure of the bag, making it more likely to sag.
1. Place several
layers of folded newspaper on a cutting board. Tape your paper bag, with the
bottom flap unfolded, to the newspaper with masking tape or removable tape.
2. Draw or trace
the outline of the design on the bag.
3. Cut out shapes
with a craft knife.
If you want
to use cookie cutters for patterns or larger motifs, you can use two bags (with
one serving as a liner) to give the cut bag strength. This layered effect is
very pretty when you use a contrasting colored bag for the inner liner.
When burning candles,
always follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe and proper use.
For more about candles and a close look at candle safety tips, head over
to the National Candle Association.