Capture a magical moment! Mason Jar Fairy Lights are easy and inexpensive, and can be made with virtually any sized-jar. Light up your next gathering, or let folks make their own.
What's the Story Behind this DIY?
Every year, I return to Camp Namanu, along the shores of the Sandy River, for the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend. Namanu is a place alive with magic, and holds so many of my own youthful memories that I cannot possibly express in a brief blog post how special this place is.
Today that is not my goal, but it would be wrong to go on without noting that Namanu saved me. It was there that I first found my voice, wrote my first song (a Forest Echo in 3rd grade when I was Sherwood Girl) and felt the strength and beauty and energy of a community truly Alive in the world.
I am just one of the thousands – hundreds of thousands – of Portland area girls (and boys… sorry, I am from an earlier time) who have spent a portion of their summer each year at Camp Namanu since it opened in 1924.
The former campers and staff who return to the reunion, ages 18 to 101 (Miss Marcie, our guest of honor in 2014, first attended Camp Namanu in 1925, when Calvin Coolidge was president) treasure our common bond as fiercely as any family. Because we understand – in a way no one else can – how profoundly life-changing our time at Namanu was.
A few years back, to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the opening of the camp, one sweet Namanu sister brought our little group a special project to celebrate - Mason Jar Fairy Lights.
It didn’t matter that it was a child’s craft, and the youngest of us was old enough to be a grandma. Our Mason Jar Fairy Lights were beautiful and lovely, and the moment is now a treasured memory.
Fairy Lights are simple, and like most lovely things, they are fleeting.
How to Make Mason Jar Fairy Lights
Materials & Supplies
- Glow sticks (Get them at the Dollar Store. We used the bracelet size)**
- Jar with a lid (We used pint- and quart-size Mason jars, but any jar will do)
- White tulle (about a foot square)
- Glitter (about a tablespoon)
**WARNING: The substance inside glowing items is usually dibutyl phthalate - a clear, oily, colorless liquid. According to all the resources we consulted, glowing products have low level of toxicity and do not present an acute danger to children or pets. However, they can cause irritation if they comes in contact the body; including eyes, skin, and mouth.
5-Minute Craft DIY
Cut one end off of a glow stick and shake it into the jar. The more you get onto the sides, the better.
We all used two or three bracelet-sized glow sticks for a quart-size jar. Choose different colors if you want.
Scrunch up the square of tulle and put gently place it in the jar. Avoid wiping the sides as you do so, if possible.
Generously sprinkle the glitter into the jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake it all up.
More easy, DIYs inspired at Camp Namanu include our whimsical Mason Jar Fairy Lanterns (an entirely different craft / fairy home), Fairy Garden Terrarium, and our safe, easy Flameless Campfire.
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Post updated June 16, 2021 (Originally published September 9, 2014)
How long do they glow? I assume you can just add more when they stop glowing?
Renée ♥ says
They last at least a few hours. I'm sure you could add more if you wanted to extend them.
I never knew about fairy lights... I only went to academic summer camp because the first time I went I got sunstroke apparently my first day (I only remember playing outside and my head being very hot) so my parents never enrolled me again and now I'm a super urban girl. I remember reading books about it growing up and always being a lil jealous of the friendship, it's good to know those are real and not just part of teen fiction novels!
Lori Paul says
Wow- Wish I knew you girls were doing this last weekend. I would have crashed your moment.
But up in Backwoods we were having "Moon Cake", brought all the way from China, and that was wonderful too.
You wrote a lovely piece about our very special place.
Thank you for it.
Courtney Teno says
Thanks for sharing. Definitely making these with my new charge. Nannying again!
Jane Utzinger says
Namanu was my home away from home. It was and still is a very special place. I was in the row in front of you and a few to the right at the 90 year celebration. Thank you for sharing the fairy lights...I don't recall making them way back when, but it is never too late. After all, there are "fairies in the meadow that dance upon the dew".
Holly Maunu says
This is so lovely, Renee. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad we have a connection through Namanu.
Renée ♥ says
Thanks so much, Holly. I feel the same way 🙂
Bill Volckening says
What fun! I love a pretty little light every now and then. 🙂
Oh wow, those are so cool!!
I think I went to Camp Namanu for Outdoor School in 6th grade. So very cool that you get to go back every year! I love my summer camp I went to for 5 summers and wish I could spend some time there as an adult, too. Summer camp really is magical!
If you haven't already, go to the website & consider registering for this year's Reunion at Camp Namanu! It is Sept. 10-13 with options to come the whole time or just a day or too.
Renée ♥ says
I go to the reunion every year.
how beautiful are those jars! and gorgeous space