Caitlyn Nichols has one of the coolest jobs in the theater world. As prop master for Playful People Productions, the nonprofit San Jose theater company geared toward kids and families, she gets paid to tinker and craft. Add to that her role as a general technician at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park — she’s the Muppet doc and helps Tinkerbell fly — and you can see why we’re a bit starstruck.

Now, the San Jose native is showing us how the tiny fairy can light up our homes and backyards with a Tinkerbell Lantern, a popular craft she’s done with PPP families over the years. It makes a wonderful gift for anyone who believes in magic — including you.

All the craft requires are a few simple materials, including a Mason jar, construction paper, craft glue and a battery-powered tea light. Gather your materials, then trace, cut and glue. Decorate the lid of your jar with faux flowers and rhinestones or just keep it simple and bask in Tinkerbell’s mesmerizing, 3D glow.

“It’s a visceral thing,” Nichols says. “You can see the lights and the color, and as cheesy as it sounds, it is a little jar of hope. Doing an art project helps you step back from the crazy of the world and live in the moment.”

Tinkerbell Lantern


A Mason jar with lid (or any glass jar with a lid and smooth surfaces)


Light-colored tissue paper in two or three colors

White pencil or crayon

Black construction paper

A paint brush you don’t mind getting gluey, preferably one made of foam

Small bottle of Mod Podge craft glue

1-foot length of ribbon

Battery-operated tea light or string of battery powered lights


Wash and thoroughly dry your Mason jar.

Using scissors, cut out 30 small pieces of tissue paper — 1½-inch squares or other shapes.

Using a white pencil, draw a fairy on the black construction paper freehand or find one you like online and trace it onto the paper. Make sure your fairy can fit in the jar. For a large jar, the fairy should be no taller than 4 inches. For a regular-sized Mason jar, it should be about 3 inches. After the fairy is drawn, cut it out.

Caitlyn Nichols measures her paper Tinkerbell cutout to make sure she fits in her new fairy home. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 

Using the brush, apply a layer of Mod Podge on the inside of the jar, where you want to apply the paper fairy. Place the fairy against the adhesive, pressing down to make sure it sticks. A pencil or popsicle stick is useful, if you have a hard time getting your hand in the jar.

Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge over the exterior of the entire jar. Place tissue paper shapes on the jar, creating a stained glass effect. Don’t worry if the tissue paper overlaps. Some overlap means that when the light shines through you will get a beautiful 3D effect.

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