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.


    • says

      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.

    • says

      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!


  1. says

    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.

    • says

      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!

  2. says

    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….

  3. 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

      • says

        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!

  4. Paul says

    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.


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