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Tutorial - Glowing Crepe Paper Waterlily Luminaries

This is a tutorial I originally produced for 100 Layer Cake, which you can view here. These waterlily luminaries are a real showstopper! Great decoration for dinner parties or outdoor events.  

Delicate petals of crepe paper are layered onto a simple mason jar, and when you place a candle inside, the effects are truly enchanting. They are very affordable and simple to make, and use only a few basic materials. In this tutorial I am using quart-size mason jars which yield flowers about a foot in diameter.


  • Crepe Paper Folds - 1 Green, 1 Yellow, and 1 in the Petal Color of Your Choice
  • Sharp scissors
  • Glue gun, Glue Sticks
  • Quart Size Mason Jar
  • Candle  


Step 1: Cut a length of yellow crepe paper 1 inch taller than your jar, and wide enough to wrap around it.  Cut so that the grain of the paper runs horizontally with the jar.  Use scissors to cut a fringe along one edge of the yellow paper piece. The fringe should be roughly ⅛ inch strips, cut about 1 - 1 ½ inches into the paper. Wrap the yellow paper around the jar, with the fringe toward the mouth, and glue to secure in place. 

Gently tug the fringe to stretch the paper, which will give it a slightly wavy, natural look.  Ensure that none of the fringe dangles inside the jar, and glue the top edge to the lip of the jar to keep it in place.

Tutorial - Glowing Crepe Paper Waterlily Luminaries

Step 2:   Unfold a portion of the crepe paper you’ve chosen for the petals (I used ivory here,) and refold it into a rectangle that’s about 4 inches wide, and just a few inches taller than your jar.  You are looking for a stack with about 12-16 layers, with the paper grain running vertically.  

Step 3: Cut the entire stack into a petal shape with a pointed tip, and  a 1-2 inch base.  Separate all of the individual petals from the stack.  Repeat the process until you have 30-36 petals.  

Tutorial - Glowing Crepe Paper Waterlily Luminaries

Step 4:   With your thumbs, gently stretch just the center of the petals outward to give each petal a curved boat shape.  Gather the straight end of the petal so that it is pleated.  This will help the petals keep their rounded shape.

Tutorial - Glowing Crepe Paper Waterlily Luminaries

Step 5: Attach the first petal with a small amount of hot glue at the base.  

Tutorial - Glowing Crepe Paper Waterlily Luminaries

Step 6: Add two small dots of glue, one on either side of the petal, about 3 inches up from the bottom.  Bring the petal up against the jar, not stretching it flat, but allowing the center to remain open.  Hold in place until the glue hardens.       

Continue adding petals, overlapping each slightly with the last.  Turn the jar and continue adding petals.

Step7:  As you begin adding the second layer of petals, place the glue dots lower on the petal - closer to 2 inches from the bottom.  This will allow the petals to lean outward, and open the flower.  You can reach into the previous row of petals to help secure the petals as you glue them.         

Step 8: Once your flower is as full as you’d like it, cut a thin strip of paper the same color as the petals, and fold it into a ½ inch ribbon.  Glue it around the base of the jar to give the flower a finished look.

Step 9: Unfold the green crepe paper and cut out some circles in various sizes.  Cut out a wedge to make the lilypad shape.  These look nice clustered beneath the flowers.    

Add a candle or flameless light, and enjoy!   


Tutorial - Glowing Crepe Paper Waterlily Luminaries

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Tutorial - Glowing Crepe Paper Waterlily Luminaries


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