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Glow stick lanterns

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glow stick lanterns made from empty drink bottles filled with water and glow sticks

Kids just LOVE making these fantastic glow stick lanterns. A super easy craft that’s great for summer!

We just love these glow stick lanterns. They’re so quick to make, gorgeous bright colours and make a great little decoration for when you’re camping or out in the garden on summer evenings. 

The kids like to make these in the summer so they can decorate the garden and play tents. They’re just fun and look great once it’s going dark.

What you need to make glow stick lanterns

You just need a handful of things to make these lovely glow stick lanterns and the bottles you can just re-purpose from out of the recycling bin.

  • Empty plastic water bottles – it’s best to use the 500ml bottles for these lanterns – the 1 litres bottles are a little big and heavy for small children to carry around.
  • Pack of chunky glow sticks – just pick these up in pound shops or in the party section at the supermarket. Or you could order them online from places like Amazon.
  • Enough water to fill the bottles – little children like to do this using funnels and jugs and watering cans…. stuff they can really make a mess with!

How to make glow stick lanterns

You’ll just love how simple and easy these lanterns are to make!

homemade glow stick lanterns with plastic bottles and chunky coloured glow sticks
  • Fill the bottles with water. This just weighs them down so they’re less likely to fall over. The water also makes the glow stick light appear brighter and give off a fuller light.
  • Get the glow sticks glowing – just bend them until they make a snapping sound and then push it into the bottle and screw on the cap. 
  • Arrange as you like – they make a great edge decoration for pathways or around the front of tents so that you can find yours in the dark. 

Make garden lanterns your way

  • You could go ‘posh’ and use San Pellegrino water bottles and co-ordinating glow stick colours…
  • You could buy a huge 5 litre bottles of water and put lots of glow sticks in them and have them at the garden entrance. These big lanterns will glow with all different colours and look great!
  • They also make a great little night-light inside the tent if you’re camping with kids. Especially if they’re a little afraid of the dark it’ll save keeping a torch on all night and it’ll just give off a soft glow.
  • You can also turn these lanterns into glow up skittles and play garden bowling. Kids love to do this on summer evenings, it’s fun, they can use maths skills! Although it can get a little competitive!

LOVE Glow Stick Crafts? Try these:

If the kids love playing around with glow sticks then they’ll just love these two glow stick activities – they’re super fun!

  • Glow Stick Bath – create a gorgeous, relaxing sensory bath for the kids. Turn out the bathroom lights, play some classical or soothing music and let the kids really chill out in a bubbly glow up bath!
  • Galaxy Jars – help the kids to create some amazing glowing galaxy jars – they’re brilliant fun and super easy to make.

More Summer Crafts for Kids

If your kids love summer crafts and activities then they’ll love these simple ideas – packed full of fun and all super easy to make and do!

  • Homemade Water Toys – a collection of brilliant homemade water toys and games that are simple to make and set up in the garden. From rainbow squirters to create mists of rainbows in the sunshine, to neat little tin foil rivers you can run all over the garden. Loads of water play ideas to keep them happy on hot days.
  • Big Bug Hunt – a free printable bug hunt that’s perfect for little ones to use out in the garden. This cute little bug hunt has eight of the cutest bugs for your little ones to search for. It’s a lovely nature craft for toddlers and pre school children to have fun with.
Garden bug hunt printable, preschool bug hunt printable checklist, bug hunt sheet, outdoor activities for kids, summer fun for kids
  • Mud Pie Target Shot – let kids make some muddy mess! Create a homemade mud pie station and mix up some mud pies. Then hurl the mud pies through the air at the target shot – help them to add up the scores and see who the mud pie champion is!
Yield: 1 lantern

Glow Stick Lanterns

glow stick lanterns made from empty drink bottles filled with water and glow sticks

Glow stick craft for kids

Prep Time 2 minutes
Active Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost Less than £1

Materials

  • Glow Sticks 
  • Water 
  • Empty Bottle 

Instructions

  1. Fill the bottles with water – this just weighs them down so they’re less likely to fall over. The water also makes the glow stick light appear brighter and give off a fuller light.
  2. Get the glow sticks glowing – just bend them until they make a snapping sound and then push it into the bottle and screw on the cap.
  3. Arrange as you like – they make a great edge decoration for pathways or around the front of tents so that you can find yours in the dark.

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DIY glow stick lanterns made from empty bottles and glow sticks

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