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How To Make Paper Bag Luminaries for Easter

Updated on February 22, 2014

Decorate the path to your door with these fun and easy to make paper bag luminaries!

Start by opening enough small paper brown bags for your luminaries. You'll need to place one about every two to three feet along the path you're lining them with. Decide whether you want to line both sides of your trail, in which case you'll need twice as many. Use the 'lunch sack' size, and you can get a package of fifty for around a dollar.

Great for Easter!

If you want larger luminaries, you can use the next larger bag size. I don't recommend using anything larger than the sack that's bottom is about the shape of an ice cream carton. If you use any larger size grocery sack, the wind can easily blow the sides in, and even tip the sack over.

On the top two-thirds of the bags, carefully cut out designs. (The light will be shining through these from the inside later.) Keep your cuts fairly small; you shouldn't have any really big open spaces. Two or three smaller cuts will look better than one large cut.

For the designs on your luminaries, choose Easter-themed pictures. Bunny heads with long ears, Easter eggs, and baby chicks are all traditional images. You could also fashion your luminaries as Easter Bunnies, by cutting out facial features in each bag. Be creative! There are no 'wrong' designs.

You can also cut the top edges of the bags with decorative scallops. If you have access to pinking shears, those will also make a nice edge to the top pf your luminary bags.

The reason that you only make designs on the top two-thirds of the bag is that you're going to fill the bottom third with sand. You can borrow sand from the sandbox, (you'll be able to put it back later). You could also fill you luminaries with small rocks, driveway gravel, or even dirt. Anything heavy enough to weight the bag down will work, as long as it's not flammable.

Line your luminaries up along your path, to get the spacing correct before you light them up. Then, place a small candle in the center of each one's sand. Candles are traditional in luminaries, but you should also consider non-fire light sources, especially if you have small children around, or expect it to be windy. 'Break and shake' light sticks are an inexpensive alternative, and they even come in a variety of colors.

Supplies for your luminaries...

Set of 125 White Luminary Bags and 125 Richland Tealight Candles
Set of 125 White Luminary Bags and 125 Richland Tealight Candles

Here's a great pack of 125 luminary sacks of matching candles to get you started.


Be a Good Neighbor!

Be sure to clean up all your luminaries in the morning, so that they don't become litter in your neighborhood. If you fold up your bags carefully, you can even store them to be used again next year.

Luminaries are also Great for Halloween!

Use Halloween themed pictures. Cats with arched backs, pointed witch's hats, crescent moons, stars, and lightening zig-zags are all traditional images. You could also fashion your luminaries as jack-o-lanterns, by cutting out facial features in each bag. Be creative! There are no 'wrong' designs.

Or Make a Christmas 'Trail of Lights"!

Line your driveway and/or walkway with Christmas luminaries.

Or co-operate with neighbours to line the whole street!!

Reader Feedback

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    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      It was so awesome to live in Louisiana and in particular Slidell. The luminaries lined sooooo many driveways on Christmas eve. We tried to take it out of state with us when we moved but could not find the right kind of bag. Thanks for memories from the bayou!

    • donaldwilson profile image

      Don Wilson 

      7 years ago from Yakima, WA

      We like to use the paper bag luminaries to line our driveway when we have all our family coming in for our Christmas get-together.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It does look beautiful

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      7 years ago

      I think battery operated candles are a wonderful fit into lighted luminaries.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Love the look of paper bag luminaries. Nice idea to use these for a holiday party.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      7 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I haven't tried to make paper bag luminaries before, but your instructions are thorough. Hope to try this someday.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Those luminaries are cute!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like to put them out for Christmas along the sidewalks and driveway. They are a fun addition to the celebration.


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