Fire With Fire: Simplest Lanterns
If you’ve ever taken an early supper during which the restaurant staff changes the lighting scheme over from all-business lunch to starry-eyed dinner, you know that your dining companions instantly become twice as attractive. You don’t need a McMansion with dimmer switches in every room for an intimate effect; the basic element of fire will serve you quite well.
When my friend Emily and I decided to throw a dress-up party in college, the lighting scheme was the first order of business, and we ran right out to buy hundreds of votives (we also snipped lots of wild roses from the bushes around the fieldhouse). At my sister’s wedding, her friends and I spent hours hollowing out lemons to hold votives in star-shaped centerpieces we crafted out of chicken wire. For anyone on a budget, votives are key, but buyer beware: their flame rarely lasts the length of a three course dinner, and once outside, their fire goes out as quickly as Rick Astley’s career. We needed lanterns for our outdoor dinner, but I wasn’t about to drop $40 a pop at West Elm for them.
I turned instead to the charming jelly jar, but you could use empty salsa and peanut butter jars to the same end. On the craft-o-meter, these lanterns are startlingly simple to make, and their effect utterly delightful. The glass refracts the light into soft gold beams that play right off the angles of your face for — wow — instant movie star effect. You, my dear, will look as lovely as Marlene Dietrich with gold flecks in her hair.