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Time for another Easy-Peasy Friday! This week’s quick and simple project is an homage to three of my favorite things: glass jars, candles, and paper tape. These Jam Jar Luminaries take just a few minutes to make, and their candlelit glow produces instant ambience. I couldn’t resist the romantic twilight photo above, but others taken during more reasonable daylight hours are below so that you can better view the construction. I have already decided my pair will need a few more partners, then take their place under a glass cloche as a centerpiece on my dining room table. (And for you science geeks out there, don’t worry — I’m using flameless battery-operated votives, so no oxygen required. ;)

The real star of the show here is paper tape: self-adhesive rolls of either tissue or craft paper, available in myriad prints, colors, and sizes. I’ve been just a wee bit obsessed with the stuff ever since I used about 90 yards of Tim Holtz vintage tissue paper tape to cover a printer’s tray. Paper tape made a second appearance in my valentines this year, and I was officially hooked.

There are quite a few varieties of paper tape on the market now, sold in stores specializing in everything from crafts, to paper goods, to containers and gift wrap. My only caveat would be that, with the exception of one Japanese brand I purchased from the Container Store, all of them seem to be lacking in the adhesive department. Just think of it as temporary glue, meant to hold the tape in place long enough for you to seal it with a coat of decoupage or gel medium.

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To make a luminary, you will need:
a clean jam or mason jar, no lid required
paper tape (mine used about 24″ each)
decoupage or gel medium (I like Mod-Podge or Golden)
embellishments of your choice
a sponge brush or paintbrush to apply decoupage or gel medium

1) Wrap the center section of your jar with strips of paper tape. I found it easiest to wrap only the area of the jar that was symmetrical and without a raised pattern.
2) Apply a coat or two of decoupage or gel medium to the tape and allow to dry completely.
3) Embellish the wrapped area as desired. On one, I used hand-dyed ribbon and a transparent, beaded sticker. The other is decorated with twine on which I threaded tiny flower-shaped beads made of wood and stone.

Other ideas for embellishments include wire, paper tags, glass beads, metal charms, paper shapes, ribbon, bottle caps, snippets of vintage greeting cards — you are limited only by your imagination here.

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I am already making another set of these as a housewarming gift for dear friends who are moving this week. Any June weddings coming up out there? I think a series of tabletops scattered with tiny tealight luminaries would make for a nighttime wonderland — all you need is a passel of baby food jars and some paper tape. What do you think? How will you decorate yours and where will you put them?

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