“There will be times when you walk into a room / and no one there is quite like you.” 

– From The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson.

Jackson County Library Services is excited to announce Rogue Reads, a program to encourage everyone in Jackson County to read the same books. Our goal is to promote reading and build community through conversation. Check out the Rogue Reads page on our website for more details on how to sign up and the different events that will be coming up.

In keeping with Rogue Reads and one of the featured books by Jacqueline Woodson, The Day You Begin, the Ashland Branch Library will be offering a Take & Make Kit to create a beautiful luminaria so that it can serve as a reminder to let your light shine!

What’s great about this craft is that anyone, anywhere can do it. As long as you have a little glue, a tea candle, and lots of imagination, you too can create a beautiful light to share with the world.

Before you begin, though, the very first thing you need to do is find a small jar (think jam), clean the jar thoroughly, and remove the label. (Hang onto the lid though, you’ll need it later.) One of the easiest ways to do this is use some of that hand sanitizer that we all seem to have laying around and smear it over the label. Let it sit for a minute or two, and then put the jar in hot soapy water. Depending on what the label is made out of, you’ll either have to scrub it off or peel it. Mine peeled off pretty easily. By the way, don’t worry if there is a film left over from the label, that will all get covered up in the end.

Now that you have a jar ready to go, you’ll need to gather a few basic items: 

  • Glue 
  • A small amount of water 
  • Jar lid or small container (for the watered-down glue) 
  • Coffee filter or tissue paper 
  • Food coloring, watercolors, markers (whatever you have on hand) 
  • Small tea candle, or votive 
  • Small paint brush helps, but Q-tips, a piece of sponge, a finger, anything that enables you to dab glue on a jar. 
  • Smock or apron – this is a potentially very messy project!

If you choose to use a coffee filter, this will add time to the craft and turn it (if you want) into an all-day event.

To color the coffee filter, you have a lot of options: you can use food coloring, crayons, watercolors, marker, etc.

I used food coloring (just a little drop, and another great use for a jar lid) and markers; both worked wonderfully. After you’re done with your coffee filter, you‘ll need to let it dry.

While the coffee filter was drying, I took the opportunity to go for walk outside and look for leaves to add to the outside of the jar. This was also the time for me to gather my supplies for the next step of the project and water down my glue. Take about a teaspoon of glue and add one or two drops. You want it to have a more paint-like feel to it.

When you have all your materials gathered, it’s time to decorate your jar. I discovered the easiest way to do this is to do small sections at a time. As you can see, I choose to use leaves, tissue paper, and the colored coffee filter.

When you have the jar covered, you can soldier on to the next step or you can take a little snack break and talk about what’s next. I took a snack break to let the glue on my jar dry a little before I took the next steps.

I used my break as a chance to think about other ways I could add to my design. I found a 6-inch piece of ribbon I had on hand and thought it would look nice on the top. It was a bit wide, so I cut in half and glued it around the rim. String, yarn, jute, or curly ribbon all can be put to use in a similar way.

Now is the time to add a little sparkle to the outside of your jar. I cut up little pieces of foil, but you can use stickers, foil stars, or whatever you think would be fun. Use these items sparingly though, as they will block the light from the candle.

Now your jar is done. Make sure the candle you choose matches the size of your jar. It’s always best to start smaller and see how it goes (we don’t want any accidents!). When it’s dark, light the candle and sit back and enjoy the amazing, beautiful thing you have created!

To round out this fun family project, check out the Storytime Short which will also feature Jacqueline Woodson’s book The Day You Begin. If you want to take it even further; discussion questions can be found here. I have also put a book list together of other thought-provoking children’s books, these can be found here. For the older children in your life, the Medford Branch Library is offering a series of neat Rogue Reads programs based on Jaqueline Woodson’s book Brown Girl Dreaming.

Last but not least, and most importantly of all, let your light shine! We all have something beautiful and unique to offer the world.