How to Make a Peanut Butter Jar Camp Light

Long ago, when my children were very young I devised a lantern that felt was safe for a toddler to carry.  While I knew that this lantern could not cause any harm compared to a kerosene lamp, we treated it with the up most respect.  In this way, I was preparing my kids for the day that they would carry a “lit” lantern.

Below are the general directions for this lantern but do not hesitate to tweak it to make it your own.

Supplies needed

2 identical sized peanut butter jars with lid

Wax paper


Glue stick


Drill with small bit

Cording such as rope or leather

Hot glue gun with glue

Utility knife


Battery operated light that resembles a flame



  1. Clean out one jar removing any wrappers and peanut butter inside.
  2. Trace a pattern of the outside of one of the jars making sure to a add ¼ inch and cut out.  Repeat two more times.
  3. Glue the layers together with a glue stick.
  4. Tape the ends of this wax paper tube together and place inside one of the jars.
  5. Now drill a hole on the inside rim of one of the lids.  Repeat directly across from this hole.
  6. Run cording such as rope, or even leather threw each hole and tie-off ends.
  7. In the second lid, drill a large hole.  This will be for the on/off switch of the light.  If excess plastic is left, cut away with a utility knife.
  8. Line up the on/off switch with the hole and trace the outline of the light.
  9. Apply hot glue to this outlined area and place the light on top.  Again, make sure the on/off switch is lined up with the hole before securing down.
  10. Secure on the lid with the light attached to the top of the jar.
  11. Place the lid on a table and hot glue the other lid with the handle to the bottom of the jar.
  12. Turn on and enjoy.

Optional additions to this basic design include creating flames.  This is done by cutting out plastic food wrap that is colored red, orange, and yellow.  If you choose to add flames, consider shopping for the colors during the holidays.  Red can be found during December while orange and yellow appear in the fall and spring.

Once you have the plastic, cut out flame shapes and wedge between the wax paper layers.  Make sure that all the layers are securely glued down before placing inside the jar.  Also, make sure the flames are located on the end where the battery will go not on the top.

Making a peanut butter camp light is a great repurpose activity that is fun and can provide that teaching moment that is safe and functional.