Lightning Bug Lanterns

The lightning bugs are coming out to play! Just before dark, they wake up from their hidden bed chambers in the grass and make the countryside sparkle! This is my favorite time of day in the summer. Sitting on my back porch swing I have a panaromic view of the all their lighting and flitting…

Do remember catching them in a jar when you were a child? The jar would flicker and glow! What simple joy!  It was a miracle in a jar! I still feel that way when the lightning bugs come out to play!
These dear, simple and homespun lanterns remind me of  lightning bugs in a jar! They are easy to make and such a delightful welcome as summer’s day melts into night.

Put bird seed ( or sand if you are near the beach) in a ball jar and drop a votive candle in a small glass votive holder. Nestle the candle down in the bird seed. That’s it!

Lightning Bug Lantern!

To make the handle use a 16 gauge steel wire and fastened it to the rim of the jar. Use a second length of wire to make the little handle. So easy! I cut and bent the wire with wire cutters.
Hang lightning bug lanterns on a crook in the garden. Line the walk with them or light up the front porch to welcome guest. Put them in unexpected places!
These little lanterns bring a warm glow to a summer evening… and a little charm too!


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  1. Yvonne, I have such great memories of catching lightening bugs, too. I remember doing it one summer on a very hot evening at my grandparents’ house in N.C. I put them in a jar and put them in the bedroom I was sleeping in. I love how you made these jars with the birdseed and votives. Great idea and thank you so much for your very sweet comments.

  2. Oh, lightening bugs are so fun. I love watching the kids chase after them. Thank you for your encouraging words on my blog. They made me smile ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Yvonne, I luv Lightning BUGS!!!
    Have for years and they are like magic in the air.
    Nice post and great pics.
    God bless and may you have a sweet week,

  4. What a lovely idea!!

    I haven’t lived in an area where there are lightning bugs since I was a teenager. And my kids have NEVER lived where there are lightning bugs, so they’ve never seen them. Except this summer my daughter went on a trip to Pennsylvania. She called me one night, excited about catching lightning bugs. I know some people call them fire flies, but they were always called lightning bugs where I grew up.

    Anyhow, I’m rambling. Thanks for a wonderful idea.

    Patti (Fill My Cup with Beauty)

  5. Yvonne, I just love the bird seed in a the bottom of the jar. It is so charming and I can’t wait to make me a few and place them out on the patio. Have a wonderful week. Patty

  6. What a sweet idea, it adds so much! I have only seen lightening bugs once in my life time..I’d always thought the were just in fairy tails…it was so exciting to see them for the first time with my children. ๐Ÿ˜€ (Mailed your package’s just a little give a way, hope you won’t be dissapointed)

  7. Yvonne, it is always a treat to stop by and see what your creative mind has come up with to make home a fun, enjoyable place! Love the idea of lightning bug lanterns! We don’t have them where I live, west of the Mississippi now. On a visit to my parents my son put one in my room for a “Night Light.” Joni

  8. Don’t we all remember these evenings as kids…such fun from something so simple. Maybe we are needing this return to simplicity so your little mason jar candlelabras are wonderful and charming and perfect. xx’s

  9. I have to admit, I never caught them, I just don’t think they lived where I grew up….if they did, they flew away and hid from me! I have seen them as an adult when visiting in Miss. and now and then on the highway….perhaps I should grab a jar and go scouting…it is dark out now.

  10. LOVE this post. It bought back memories of a time I was a bit mischievious. My cousin and I caught SEVERAL lightning bugs and we put them in Grandma’s bed. NOT funny when you have to recatch them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Oh, growing up in Wisconsin we had lightning bugs or June bugs as they were often called. We thought they were so magical. These lanterns are just magical too. This brings me back to when I was a little girl. We would run around in the yard at twilight in our short nighties with the lightning bugs and pretend we were fairies. These lights would surely invite the fairies out to dance.

  12. Yvonne, once I have seen in U.S.A. the lightning bugs coming out of the meadows. That was so magical. They are here in germany in our area very seldom and we we can see any, there are just a few in the darkness. But your lanterns are great, I love this idea. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Greetings, Johanna

  13. I’m a CA gal who missed out on lightening bugs, but I do adore your darling little lanterns. You’ve created another winner with your little jars…thanks Yvonne!

  14. Yvonne: This is a wonderful idea–clever use of Mason jars and birdseed. Two thumbs up!

    As I child, I had a pet lightening bug named Fiona. For awhile, I thought Fiona followed me everywhere I went. It was devastating to find out the truth!!


  15. LOVE your lanterns my friend! I so enjoy using mason jars in unexpected ways! Last week my inlaws stopped in for the weekend and my father-in-law, who has lived his whole life in Washington State, was amazed to see *lightening bugs*. He had never seen them before and they put on a great performance for him ๐Ÿ™‚


  16. My kids all LOVE catching lightening bugs and Mason jar votives are a staple around here. Charming and lovely as always Yvonne- we’re so glad to be home and catching up
    xoxo Pattie

  17. Hi Yvonne!
    I love your idea of hanging these sweet little lanterns from your shepherd’s crook.
    I have an “empty” crook in the backyard that needs a lantern ๐Ÿ˜€
    ~Wishing you a wonderful week, Yvonne~
    Thanks always for the work you do creating such a wonderful place to visit~

  18. We love to catch lightening bugs (or fireflies, as they are known here in our town of SC!) My children gather their jars with holes in the lids and we have so much fun catching them! Of course, we let them go just before bedtime, so “they can be with their families.” Often, I have the children research the things we are doing or different things we find. Last summer, we learned that the lightening bug is actually in the beetle family! I have family coming to town from Memphis next week and we will be making your granola, as well as, displaying these little laterns! Thank you! (My son is named ‘Mason’ for his great grandmother, Anna Mason…on a side note!) Have a great week!

  19. This is such a cute idea. Your bitty buddy loves lightening bugs! She could run around all night catching them. A couple of weeks ago, she caught like a dozen of them and had them in a jar. She told me that she caught them for me. Later that night laying in bed I kept seeing little lights. She had put the jar of them in my room and they had used one of the holes as an escape hatch! Crazy kid!

  20. Yvonne, you add such a MAGICAL TOUCH to EVERYTHING!! I think tonight I am going to take my girls out on the porch, and see if we spot any lightning bugs on the prairie!! XXOO,Damaris

  21. Oh yes, lightening bugs, a favorite childhood memory ..why don’t I see them anymore? Probably because in the heat and bugginess of the south I don’t sit out much at night..

    After perusing a few Matha S. mags on vacation, I decided your blog is comparable. Thanks for all your efforts at producing such a delightful, pretty, and informative place to visit!

  22. OH Gosh I remember those days,,catching lighting bugs,, I love to sit an watch them too,,you candle jars are really pretty and easy to make,,, what a glow they all must make.


  23. Yvonne, yes, I have sweet memories of chasing lightning bugs on summer nights of my childhood. We would capture them in jars and whatch them dance. Your idea of the birdseed in the jars for the candles is super. I’m going to copy it! ~ Sarah

  24. Hi! I just found your blog via Amanda @ Homegrown and Beeyoutiful and it is beautiful! What beautiful pictures and great ideas! I really like this post because I love mason jars.

  25. Hi Yvonne!

    Oh how excited I am that you left me a comment! I can’t believe it! You see, just last week I was reading your blog just enjoying myself, then my computer started to act up and I lost your page. I was so upset. I tried my best to remember your blogs name and just couldn’t remember it for nothing. I was trying high and low to figure out who I had visited that led me to you. Couldn’t remember that either. I thank God that you found me!

    I was enjoying reading about your giveaway too. The one with the Cuisnart Ice Cream maker. I was so excited because I got one for Mother’s Day and I am now a huge fan of this little ice cream maker. I was trying to read your comments on peoples opinions about this little machine.

    Besides that, How could anyone not fall in LOVE with your blog. It is absolutely beautiful and I must become a follower. Looking forward to trying your recipes.

    By the way, I love these lanterns! Beautiful! I wish I cold sit with you and enjoy the view from your back porch too! I use to catch them in jars as a child too. I miss those fun Summer evenings. I’m now in the city and I never see them. Sad! That’s why I want to buy a farm in the country to bring back all those fun memories. Thanks for sharing these tips. I’m going to have to make these.

    Thanks again for your comment and sorry so long. It’s nice to meet you too! Have a lovely evening! ๐Ÿ™‚

    God bless,

  26. I have such delightful memories of catching fireflies and spending endless summer evenings outside as well as sleeping in the enclosed porch we had.

    Thanks for sharing this idea! The birdseed certainly would not be wasted either. ๐Ÿ™‚


  27. buckle my shoes — it’s just not fair — I feel left out — I have NEVER seen in person a lighting bug — that’s right — only in photos — how can that be a 50 yrold and still haven’t seen in person a lighting bug! O my what is a girl to do — wink! Love your jar idea — next best thing – right!

  28. I also used to enjoy catching those little liighting bugs. They were so much fun to watch. What a cool photo the lighting bugs would make. When you live in CA or WA state you do not have lightings there ๐Ÿ™ , but since I moved to TX I have got to enjoy them again .
    I love mason jars, so your lantern idea is really great.
    Have a blessed day .

  29. One of my cousins goes through the bogs in a small community in Arkansas, and she always tells me…..she remembers the delight at my seeing them, even as an older lady….and they are definitely ‘lightnin’ bugs’ not fireflies….

  30. Love, love these, Yvonne! One question: how did you fasten he wire to the sides of the jar? I have an empty Mason jar sitting in my kitchen right now that held fig preserves that someone gave me. Fig preserves don’t last long around me! I hesitated on putting t hat jar into recycling, and now I know why! =)

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