Water Bottle Lantern

When the sun goes down and the stars come out, a campsite can get pretty dark if you don't have a lantern. I made my own lantern with a water bottle. That's right, a DIY lantern. You can make one, too, and share the light with friends and family during your next camping trip.

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Gather the materials to make your DIY lantern.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Cut out at least 8 circles out of your cardboard. You will want them to be larger in diameter than both your water bottle and tap light.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Cut smaller circles out of the center of the larger ones turning them into rings. They should be just slightly larger than the diameter of your tap light so that it fits loosely in the center.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Keep cutting out the circles until you have a stack that is taller than your tap light.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Cut two more circles of the same size. Cut a hole smaller than the diameter of the water bottle into the center of one of them. Don't cut a hole in the other one.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    Glue together all of the cardboard rings you first cut. Then, glue the one with the smaller hole on top. Leave the circle without a hole detached for now.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    Flip over your stack of rings and attach hook and loop fastener dots to the bottom. Attach the opposite hook and loop fastener dots to the circle without a hole.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Step 8

    Insert your tap light face down into the stack of rings. The bottom cover is removable using the hook and loop fasteners, allowing the light to be turned on and off.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

  • Step 9

    Glue the water bottle to the top of your cardboard housing. The water bottle's base should cover the hole that the light shines through.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 9

  • Step 10

    Cut a length of ribbon, and glue both ends to the sides of the water bottle. This will act as the lantern's handle.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 10

  • Step 11

    The last step is to turn on the light and find a dark place to test our your lantern!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 11

  • Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    What's happening?

    The water causes the light to change direction. (You can see the same effect by putting a pencil in a clear glass of water – viewed from the side, the pencil appears to be broken.) This change in direction is called refraction, and it causes the focused light from the tap light to disperse in all directions. This spreads the light out around your campsite, making it easier to see all around you.

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