Christmas Tree Lantern from a Camper Jack

Christmas Tree Lantern from a Camper Jack

A friend of mine was cleaning out her barn when she asked me, “Could you do anything with this?”. She was holding a camper jack, and all I could think was that it reminded me of a Christmas tree.

Camper jack

These were used for old campers- or “glampers” as we now refer to them. But as you can see, the actual jack part was missing, so it was just the stand.

Top of a camper jack

And since I only had one, it was PERFECT for repurposing into a Christmas tree lantern. And to do so, I’d pair it up with some of my vintage Christmas wrapping paper!

Vintage Christmas wrapping paper

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Making a Christmas Tree Lantern and Metal Tabletop Christmas Tree

First, I cleaned up the camper jack a little before giving it a paint job.

Because it’s made of rough metal, I decided to use latex paint (instead of basic craft paint). Plus, that allowed me to pick the exact color I envisioned – a very retro lime green.

So, I got a sample of Behr paint from Home Depot and gave the camper jack a couple of coats of paint.

Painting a camper jack

I had so many pieces of Christmas gift wrap with gorgeous designs that I couldn’t decide which to use. So, I decided to use four different pieces for my Christmas tree lantern! 

If you can’t find any at thrifts or estate sales, make sure you check on Etsy for vintage gift wrap options!

First, I measured the side triangles on the camper jack and cut out a slightly larger version from one of the vintage Christmas wrapping paper. And since the paper was delicate and easily torn, I used laminating sheets on each panel for my Christmas tree lantern.

Laminating sheets

I pressed the lantern panel to the laminating sheets and rubbed over it with a plastic spatula to remove air bubbles. After that, I trimmed off the excess lamination and ended up with this!

Making a Christmas tree lantern

Next, I made three more panels for the camper jack, each with a different piece of vintage Christmas wrapping paper.

Lantern panels of vintage Christmas wrapping paper

Then, I simply dragged a bead of hot glue along the inside edges of the camper jack and carefully set each “panel” inside.

Retro Christmas wrapping paper in a Christmas tree lantern

And just like that, my Christmas tree lantern was coming together better than I could have hoped.

Christmas Tree Lantern from a Camper Jack

Once I had all the panels in place, I was left with a metal tabletop Christmas tree that was positively adorable!

Metal tabletop Christmas tree

And each side was different, thanks to my stash of retro Christmas wrapping paper!

Christmas tree lantern with vintage Christmas wrapping paper

But it’s not just your average tabletop tree, is it? I needed to see it lit up, as a Christmas tree lantern!

Since I didn’t have a bright enough LED pillar candle, I used a cluster of these awesome bright white LED tealights instead.

Metal tabletop Christmas tree from a camper jack

I didn’t want the amber glow of traditional LED tealights, so the cool bright white was perfect! And with battery-operated candles, there was no dangerous flame to worry about.

How fun is that?? I love the different designs and how they are illuminated from within the camper jack! Such festive Christmas home decor, and it definitely puts me in the holiday spirit.

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea for Christmas decor, then you’ll love this minimalist Christmas tree that was made from a coffee mug tree!

Nordic Christmas tree from a coffee cup tree

Craft on!


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Camper jack as a metal tabletop Christmas tree

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Omg! Such a cute project. I love that you shared it lit up as well. Super nice!

  2. This is so creative! Who would have ever thought to turn that jack stand into a Christmas lantern? It turned out beautifully!

  3. Wow! This is stunning! You always come up awesome ideas and yet they’re so easily put together. That’s what you call artistic vision, I suppose! Well done!

  4. This is the greatest Christmas recycle I have seen. I love it! Do you want my address to send it??
    Merry Christmas.

  5. Awesome. I’m keeping an eye out for one of these. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy Christmas!

  6. This is so clever and beautiful. Looks great!!

  7. I never would have thought of doing that! So cool!

  8. Sarah, this is so cool!! Very imaginative of you to see a Christmas lantern within that old jack! Love the vintage look you gave it, and those LED tealights make it shine perfectly!!! 🙂

  9. Totally gorgeous!

  10. too cool! love it and just think you could swap out the Christmas paper for other holidays/seasons to use year round!

  11. Genious! What an awesome idea and so clever to use the wrapping paper like that. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at VIParty.

  12. Oh, this is just delightful! What a creative idea — and it looks terrific. Great job. I saw your link at Elizabeth & Co.’s party.

  13. Got two in the barn. Making this weekend! Thanks for the idea, I was gong to toss the jacks. ?

  14. I have a couple of these downstairs (came with the house), but I had no idea what they were! They would be great luminaries for the driveway

  15. So Creative, as usual

  16. Now that’s a great idea what a wonderful example of visioning something where there is nothing. I truly would never of thought of his so super cute.
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  17. Oh my gosh…what a neat idea!!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J! Merry Christmas!

  18. Love this! Now I just need to find an antique jack stand.

  19. Love your vision to see a way to repurpose almost anything. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm and I’m pinning to out Favorites and Features board.

  20. Sarah, it is really cool!! You’re right, it has the perfect shape for Christmas!
    Thanks for sharing at #2usestuesday
    Merry Christmas!!

  21. Oh Sarah, this is so neat! You come up with the most amazing upcycles, I’m always impressed!

  22. Wow… you continually amaze me! This is so pretty… only you would think of something so cute with a jack stand!! :o)


  23. Love this so much.

  24. Seriously girl, would I love to get inside the creative brain of yours – genius! I used to have some of these and got rid of them…dang.

  25. Another fantastic project! Love it!

  26. Of course it’s a Christmas tree!!! Nice job! 🙂

  27. How creative and cute! I never would of seen a lantern out of that jack stand. That’s really thinking our side the box. Love it!

  28. betnice haryman says

    i love it. i have 4 of those that i was going to get rid of but not now

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