Maker Monday: Little Luminaries with Warren County Library.

As I’m writing this, most of us in my home state of New Jersey are isolating ourselves at home to stop the spread of Novel Coronavirus. It’s a stressful time. There is a lot of anxiety in many homes, many folks are lonely and the world can feel very scary right now.

And so people are looking for ways to connect and support one another. That’s where the group “Let There Be Light” comes in. Their purpose is pretty simple: “Showing our love and support for all those working hard to keep us all safe during these crazy uncertain times.”

As part of that effort, they are encouraging folks to set up luminaries outside their homes on April 1 at 7 pm so that we can “unite with the light.” Of course, luminaries are a great way to share the light any night, so even if you didn’t get a chance to participate on April 1, you can certainly make these whenever you need a pick-me-up!

And that sounds pretty good to me!

So I’ve made a simple template that you can print, cut out and decorate. Then just place a battery-operated tealight inside and put it outside your home on April 1. These are so easy to make, you can light your whole driveway or porch.

I recommend printing onto white copy paper. You can color the luminaries if you like, write encouraging messages on them, use decorative scissors to trim the top edge, cut or punch designs into the sides, or customize in any way you can imagine.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • A printed template (see below)
  • Scissors
  • Stick glue or tape.
  • Markers, colored pencils, or other art supplies (optional)
  1. Print your template on paper or cardstock. Use “Fit to page.”
  2. Decorate your luminary as desired.
  3. Cut on the solid lines.
  4. Fold on the dashed lines.
  5. Glue tab #1 to the inside of the luminary. I used stick glue. This forms the “box” shape of your luminary.
  6. Fold tabs #2 and #3 into the bottom of the luminary.
  7. Place Glue on Tabs #2, #3 and #4. Fold the bottom over Tabs #2 and #3 and secure in place. Attach Tab #4 to the inside of the luminary. Press in place. You may need to use the eraser end of a pencil or something similar to press the bottom together.
  8. Add a tealight and enjoy!

When assembled the luminary measures approximately 4.75″ H x 2.75″ W x 2″ L. If it is windy out, you may want to add sand or gravel to the luminary to keep it from blowing away. For safety, do NOT use a traditional flaming tealight.

You can download PDF versions to print below. There are two versions. One is blank so you can decorate it in any way you want. The other features the phrase “Let There Be Light.”

If you have access to a digital cutter such as a Silhouette or Cricut, you can download my SVG file and cut them that way. I prefer to use cardstock or heavyweight paper when cutting these little luminaries on my Cameo, but copy paper works as well. You assemble in exactly the same was as above.

If you like, I also made luminaries with clusters of hearts or clusters of stars. I suggest that you place vellum, wax paper, tissue paper, or even a bit of upcycled plastic bag behind the cutout shapes before you assemble the luminary. It will diffuse the light beautifully.

As always, if you enjoyed this project, please be sure to check out my book, The Big Book of Maker Camp projects. It has over 100 great family-friendly activities for camp or every day!

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