Content warning: trypophobia.

Spring is here, with its promise of warm evenings that fade softly into night. What better way to enjoy the approach of Beltane than with occult-themed glass and clay lanterns flickering in the twilight?

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These DIY lanterns are easy to make and produce enchanting results!

For this project you will need oven-safe glass containers, black polymer clay (Sculpey and Fimo are two popular brands), a skewer or other pointed tool, an oven, and tea lights or votive candles (depending on the size of your glass container).

The Basics

Wash your glass container and dry it thoroughly. You can buy votive cups, use mason jars from around the house, or even salvage glassware from thrift stores. Just be sure your glass is sturdy enough to withstand vigorous crafting and a ten minute trip into a 260 degree oven!

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Take a small piece of polymer clay and knead it in your hands until it is as soft as suede. The warmer it gets, the easier it will be to work with. Working on a smooth, clean surface, roll it out into a snake. Make Medusa proud! I reduced my snake until it was about 3mm wide. Working with small snakes (snakelettes?) begin to create your design on the glass. Press the clay onto the glass and tap it lightly to flatten it. If you need to reposition it, simply slide it along the surface. The clay is very forgiving!

In the image below, you can see that I made a simple pentagram. Because I want my design to look like it is made of aged wrought iron, I wasn’t overly careful about making sure the snakes were even in consistency. Lumps and wobbles will add to the overall effect!

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To give the clay an authentic iron look, I used a wood skewer to stipple different areas of the design. Pay close attention to the areas where clay joins with clay. Stippling here reinforces the bond.

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Another technique is to flatten a sheet of clay across the surface of the glass. Try to get it about 1-2 mm thick, but it certainly doesn’t have to be perfect or consistent. Use your wooden skewer to create interesting divots and circular patterns in the clay. This gives your piece an organic look and is incredibly soothing to do. You’ll see.

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Imagine a whole votive of holey tentacles!

Once your design is complete, bake your piece in the oven according to the clay manufacturer’s directions. Remove from the oven and let cool. Then you can use a q-tip to gently clean off any residue from the glass, and it is ready for a tea light!

Lantern Designs

Here is a simple lantern made using the techniques outlined above.

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Here is a similar design on a blue jar.

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The lantern below has more coverage with clay. On this one, I used translucent paint to give the effect of stained glass.

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On the reverse side, I created an intricate stained glass window!

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This last one is the most intricate of all. I couldn’t stop making holes with my skewer! The effect is one of metal lace. The motifs on this hanging jar include two pentagrams, a planchette, and a triple moon. Blessed be!

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The same lantern lit.

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Lit or unlit, these little lanterns will make a lovely addition to your witch’s cottage. It would also be a fun project for crafting with the coven. Happy crafting, Dear Darkling!

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For amazing paper occult lanterns from Brenda, check out Dirge Magazine.

Brenda S G Walter

Brenda S G Walter

By day, Brenda poisons young minds as a college professor.  When she is not teaching classes such as Science and the Supernatural, she is writing about monsters, witchcraft, horror films, heavy metal, and gothic culture.  She might also be drawing apocalyptic landscapes or haunted houses while watching Creature Double Feature.  You can find her on Facebook and Instagram as Elderdark Nightmoth.

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