Luminaries and Lanterns
We're inviting each family to make a luminary that can be placed outside on the sidewalk on Christmas Eve where we'll have a "lighting" ceremony for those who can join us in the front garden, physically distant, wearing masks, and hats and gloves, etc. We'll enjoy a brief liturgy of scripture, prayer and lighting before humming silent night and returning to our cars. All safety precautions will be taken but if you're not able to join us, no worries, just drop off a luminary and we'll light it for you. Or send us a picture of the luminary doing its work to fill the night with light wherever you are!
Let's have fun making creative lighting to place outside the church on Christmas Eve. As long as they are not on the city sidewalk and don't have real candles we are within city guidelines. Also please use only non-breakable containers, no glass or pottery. We will provide the battery tea lights.
Here are some ideas for you to try at home. These are for most ages, but some adult supervision or help may be required.
The easiest luminary is made using an empty clear plastic milk, water or juice gallon or half gallon jug. Remove all labels. You can cut the jug all the way around just below the handle to remove the top. Any strong scissors will work. If you want to leave the jug primarily intact, you still need to cut an opening in the back just a little ways up from the bottom where we can add a rock or some kind of weight and a battery tea light. The examples in the picture are half gallon containers.
Star designs would be great since our theme for Advent is all about lighting up the night. Use a permanent (waterproof) black marker to draw designs on your luminary. If you want you could tape a picture or template in or outside the container to use as a guide for drawing or filling in a design. Remove it when you are done. The examples below are just a freehand dot starburst, and two designs using templates. I happen to have a star punch so that made things easier, but you might find a picture of stars to trace or just draw freehand. You can see one looks like a silhouette of stars and the other looks more like star light shining out. You have at least 3 sides so you can make them each different.
If you want a challenge, try making a punched tin lantern. My example below has discolored with time. It was made back in the day when shortening came in smooth tin cans, which were great for making lanterns. Find the biggest empty tin can you can: soup, fruit, vege, whatever. Remove and save the label if possible. Make sure can is rinsed out well and there are no sharp edges on top. You can pinch down any burs with pliers. The can will probably have ridges and that is OK.
If you still have the label, use it to measure the size of paper you will need to draw your design. Remember it will need to overlap probably ½ inch when you put it around the can and tape it together later for punching. You can measure the distance around the can if you do not have the label, then add the extra ½ inch. If you have freezer paper or something similar that is kind of waterproof that is helpful. If not, you might want to use cardstock or something a little heavier than notebook paper. It will get wet eventually. Do not tape it to the can yet.
Next, fill the can with water. If you have a plastic lid that fits on the can you are lucky, other wise you might want to tape some aluminum foil or plastic film over the top. Leave the can of water in the freezer overnight to be sure it has frozen nice and solid.
Now you can draw a design on the paper you measured for the can. (Hint: don't draw on both ends of the paper as one will overlap the other.) Make dots for where you will punch nail holes. Make slot lines if you want to use a slot style screwdriver. You will be hammering on the end of either the nail or the screwdriver handle.
Gather everything you need before removing the can from the freezer. You will want to protect any surface you are working on from water or scratches. Put down some plastic if you have it, then a towel folded a few times for padding and stability. Remove the can from the freezer. Wrap your paper design around it and tape the paper together. You will place the can on its side on the towel. Then start pounding the nail or screwdriver to make your design. You need to work fast as it gets harder to punch the tin when the ice melts. The ice helps the can keep its shape while you are punching, but it shrinks as it melts. You may want to check under the paper to see how far you are punching into the can. You want large enough holes so the light shines out through them. If the can is only dented, you won't see the light when it is lit.
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