DIY “Joyeux Noel” Luminary Cups

luminary cups

So today, for some reason, I decided to get my D.I.Y. on! 

I guess I was just feeling crafty! Or maybe I was just inspired after I saw this picture:

I think originally I saw it pinned on Pinterest and it was something for sale on a website like Etsy (but it wasn’t Etsy), but it was sold out. So I took a screen shot of it…and promptly forgot about it.

Well today I happened to notice it just sitting there on my desktop, and it was beckoning me to click on it! When I did I immediately thought…“I could make that!”  I always crack myself up when I think stuff like that. Because the truth is, I’m really not all that crafty of a crafter….but for some reason I have flashes of MADNESS where I think I AM! :-)  This was one of those times.

So MY version of this project turned out to be a bit on the “rustic” side….but I also think it’s hard to go wrong with anything that involves flickering “candlelight”. Especially at Christmastime. Besides, I think I invested all of maybe 30 minutes in the making of it, so I’d say that’s a good amount of crafting bang for my buck.

The original “Luminary Cups” I THINK were made out of some sort of metal. Well, I knew THAT wasn’t going to be happening for MY project….so I used the next best thing…paper. :-)

luminary cups

I bought a 12-pack of red party cups from the gift wrapping section of the grocery store and I already had a dozen battery-operated tea lights on hand from the recent tree decorating challenge. The only other supplies I used were an Xacto knife and some masking tape. Oh, and I printed off some block letters using this font from my computer.

luminary cups

I taped each individual letter to a cup with small pieces of masking tape……

luminary cups

…and proceeded to cut the letters out with my Xacto knife. This was my favorite part! I just loving making stuff with my Xacto Knife!  Maybe I’m a frustrated surgeon! ;-)

After I had the letter completely cut out, I carefully peeled off the paper and the masking tape, making sure not to tear any of the cup.

luminary cups

Here they all are ready for “assembly” (which basically meant flipping the switch on all the tea lights and placing one in each cup.)

luminary cups

luminary cups

luminary cups

Each time I walked by my “creation” tonight I had to: A) stop and admire it and B) smile. :-)  Little flickering candles just scream Christmas to me!  Now I am dying to get all the rest of the Christmas decorations out tomorrow! (Much to the hubster’s chagrin.)

I’ll leave you with another one of my award-winning video productions! (Although it was hard to beat the Flying Ghost video!) Since the “flickering candles” really MAKE this mantle decoration…I had to share.

Pretty great huh?? ;-)  Just imagine it when it’s dark outside and all the lights are out.  Even No. 3 son was impressed with that!


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  1. Charity says

    I did mine yesterday. Only had red plastic cups, but effect was the same and the kids thought they were cool. However, if I do a second set, I might do them upside down so that the bottom of the cup “throws” more light back down toward the letters making them brighter. Also, I was thinking it would be cool to spray paint mason jars with a dark color leaving the letter on the glass (sort of a reverse stencil) and then putting the tea lights on the inside.

  2. Safaia says

    You could also paint the interior of the cup a different color so that the holes would pop during the day OR night.

  3. says

    Nice! I once made luminaries from tin cans — probably saw the idea on Martha Steward’s show. Fill the cans with water and freeze to make it easier to drill/pound holes in them. I spray painted them all dark blue so the cans would *disappear* in the darkness and only the lighted holes would show.

  4. CTY says

    Jillee- Thanks. These look great! I mostly decorate with disposable decorations (live pine & holly) because there is no space to store things. I have just the place for a set. My porch rail still has the solar tiki lamp set I made for summer. I figured I could make them out of plastic cups to keep them weather proof-ish. Here in S CA we don’t get much rain and no snow, also, the porch is covered. I like Lori’s idea of the tissue paper–I ‘ll use colored cellophane. Already have the tea lights left from No 1 son’s wedding.

  5. says

    I’m impressed! I’m glad you made a video because it showed us the “effects” of candlelight on the mantel. Really pretty!

  6. Lori says

    Just an afterthought, I think these are avery neat an creative idea. But I am going to add one thing. Tape or glue a piece of tissue paper ( your choice of colour) inside the cup over the letters. Soften the effect of the lighting and the cut outs for the letters.

  7. Michelle says

    Very clever. Turned out really nice. A great idea for those flickering fake tea lights! And those cups stack for storage so won’t take up space either. Now if only I had a mantle to put them on!

  8. says

    These look GREAT, but if you ever decide you do want the metal ones, you could just buy the metal spray paint. :) That’s how my entire bathroom accessories became bronze!