July 20, 2009

Hints and Tricks for Ball Jar Lanterns

If you have a set of our Ball jar lanterns, just consider this the instructions that came with your purchase. I thought of this after the fact, and thanks to the blogging world, I can still get you this information with full color pictures.

First of all, you need to know that the bail (the wire part of the jar) has to have one part down against the jar so the other part will stay centered over the top. In this position it will hang straight. The shorter ring of wire goes down, and the longer one goes up:

Dealing with Wax

When it comes to candles, I have heard, but haven't tried yet, that spraying the bottom of your glass container with cooking nonstick spray will make any candle mess clean up easily. If it works, it's a great idea. My own anti-candle mess suggestion is to only use candles in little containers that you can lower down into the lantern, like a votive in its own cup or a small glass.

If wax sloshes onto the bottom anyway, just heat the jar to soften the wax and wipe it out with a paper towel guided by the handle of a wooden spoon. To heat the jar, remove the bail and microwave it 20 seconds at a time. Or you could let it sit in a pot of hot water on the stove for a little bit. These jars were made to withstand boiling (sitting in a rack so they wouldn't bounce around), but they are 75 years old or more, so I wouldn't boil them--just heat them enough to soften the wax.

How do I light a little candle WAY down there? Ignite the end of a long, raw spaghetti noodle. I learned this one from my mother-in-law and it really works.

How do I keep a candle centered in the bottom of the lantern? I like Mr. Mole's Sticky Wax. Just a tiny pinch of this wax on the bottom of your candle makes it stay in place. I'm sure other things work. I'm thinking chewing gum, duct tape... any suggestions? Press the candle down with the end of a wooden spoon. I like this tool because it's not metal and is less likely to break glass if you lose control of it.

You can also put some sand in the bottom of the lantern and press the candle into the sand. Or try a collection of marbles to surround the candle and hold it in place.

Cleaning the Lanterns

You can remove the wire bail by pulling out one side and then the other. It's made of two bent wires that fit together. Here's a picture of how it's supposed to look in case you get confused.

To reattach, just make sure the longer hook is on top and you place the wire on the side of the jar that says "wire here." Put one end of the bail into one hole, then pull pretty firmly to get the other end into the other hole.

Just think, someone in the Ball factory had a job doing this all day every day for the new jars as they came down the assembly line.

Anyway, back to having the bail out. Now you can clean your jar with warm soapy water. I have a tooth brush and glass cleaner I use for little crevices. To clean and dry the inside of the jar, I use the end of a long wooden spoon pressed down on a dish rag or dry towel. I just whip that rag around inside and it's clean in no time. You can even scrub this way.

I'd love to hear any suggestions you have. Where do you hang your jars? If you blog about it, leave us a link!

I just found out our lanterns are featured on Inventing Weddings, a beautiful blog that gathers wedding ideas from Etsy. The post is called "A Step Back in Time." Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for showing how to reattached the wire, it was very helpful! :)


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