Glow Stick Lanterns

My kids were excited to have these in their rooms the other night when they went to bed. Simply fill a small jar with water and then cut open a full size glow stick and pour it in! Don’t waste your time using the tiny bracelet ones. You’d need a bunch and it would be time consuming and messy to get the same brightness of  1 or 2 of the full size glow sticks. Break the stick first to activate it and be careful while pouring out the contents. I used some kitchen shears to cut the top off of the glow stick which was a bit tedious, but worked. Gently swish around the water (but do NOT shake) and you’re set!
This is NOT a kids activity, but my kids enjoyed seeing the end result. A clear plastic container (like a peanut butter container) would work too and not be breakable. Either way, kids shouldn’t be carrying these around.
These would look neat lining a driveway or walkway on Halloween! We always seem to end up with a bunch of glow sticks after going trick-or-treating, so we’ll be making more of these!
I used a pint sized and a quart size and used 2 full sized sticks in the quart. The pint sized one seemed to be brighter than the quart sized jar. It glowed bright for a day and the larger one lasted the night.  I bet baby food jars would work GREAT. My advice would be to just make one at first and see how it goes before making a bunch for a party. It seems as though not all glow sticks are the same and I’ve received mixed results in the comments section. So you may need 2 sticks of some variety and only 1 in others.


  1. I’m bookmarking this one to try out :-)

  2. This is a fantastic idea! So doing this next year. Thanks!

  3. How cool!!!! You always have such great ideas!!! Your very inspiring!!! Thank you!!!! Kendall

  4. Those look great and I can’t believe how long they lasted! I tried this on Halloween but didn’t add water so the effect was kind of sad. Oh well, now I know better next time, thank you!

  5. how cool! i’m stopping by from the lovely poppy and would love for you to come by and checkout the huge giveaway going on that ends thursday- xoxo nicole

  6. This is yet another great way to use mason jars!

  7. What a great idea, thanks! We’ll definitely be making some of these this summer.

    Jamie :)

  8. What a great idea, thanks! We’ll definitely be making some of these this summer.

    Jamie :)

  9. I keep seeing things like this on Pinterest, but my understanding is that there’s glass inside the glow stick. Makes me wary of cutting one open.

    • Yes you have to be careful. The shattered glass will be mixed in your jar, so be careful when disposing as well. We did them in plastic water bottles and then just threw the whole thing away.

    • That is a GREAT idea. I had to strain out the glass before washing the mason jar. Using a plastic bottle would have been so much easier! Thanks for the suggestion Ronda!


  10. We tried this but had a lot of trouble getting the glow stuff out.

  11. We tried this and it did not work…the glow onlu lasted about 3 min then it faded to nothing. Waste of money!

  12. Jennanne, click on the link I shared at the bottom of the post and scroll through her comments. Many have had the success we did, but it didn’t work as well for others. We used full size glow sticks, not the skinny dollar store ones as well.

  13. Very cool idea! Found you on the T & J link party!

  14. Very cool! Found you on the T & J link party!

  15. Can you add glitter in there for an added sparkle effect

  16. How do you dispose of them after the glow is gone? Can you just add another glow stick to the same water and keep re-using?

    • Hi Lisa! My kids lost their interest after the first sticks wear off so I didn’t try recharging them, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. To dispose of them, I strained out the glass (from when you snap the glowsticks) and then dumped the water out. Good luck!

  17. So cool I love the glitter idea too! Ty ladies!

  18. Our village asks residents to put out lanterns on the Christmas parade night the evening after Thanksgiving. Usually they put candles in the bottom of gallon jugs, but I wonder if the glow stick jars would work as well, if not better….

  19. Noemi Tardis says:

    How about using glow pigments instead of glow sticks I don’t know how they would work with water but it may turn out to work well

    • Could you use baby oil instead of water, that way the glitter would float around more????

      • I don’t see why not! It’s definitely worth a little experiment. We’ve done baby oil/glitter bottles and my kids loved them! We did them at my daughter’s beach birthday party. I never thought of adding glow stick to that before, but it’s a great idea!

  20. That’s not water in there its a caustic chemical that ate the paint off the dash of my truck after it exploded from the Suns heat.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Why add water to the jar.? Why not just pour the contents of the glow stick into ta dry jar ?


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