How to Catch Will-O’-The-Wisps in an Old Glass Jar


After seeing Pixar’s “Brave,” Merida zoomed to the top of my girl’s list as the coolest Disney Princess EVER!!! This means “Brave-themed” birthday parties complete with Celtic-themed trimmings. Most importantly they want lots and lots of Will-o’-The-Wisps (or “Wisps” as they are called in the movie).

According to legend…with a little help for Wikipedia…the Will-O’-The-Wisp is a ghost-like light seen by travelers in marsh or bog areas that can resemble a flickering candle or lamplight. And they are a booger-bear to hunt, so let’s waste no time in catching a few.

What You Need:

Glass or clear plastic containers of various types (jars, craft ornaments, bottles) large enough to contain your creature

Grass; real or artificial (like the type in silk in floral arrangements) to help keep the creature comfy.

Vellum or tracing paper

Clear acetate paper

Sharpie markers (if you are free handing) or printed images of wisps

Light source like LED or “flameless” tea candles, miniature glow sticks, or whatever else you can find. (DO NOT use real candles…bad, bad idea).

Capturing (or Making ) the “Wisp”:

Since these elusive little Wisps are known to retreat from anyone who tries to catch them, I won’t bother you with the details of catching them and move on to showing you how to make one.

First, find an image of a Wisp you like (from “Brave,” “Skyrim,” “Final Fantasy” or just design your own). Either print out the image directly on the vellum or trace (or draw it freehand) on the vellum.

Next, cut the image out and glue it with some clear-drying glue onto a piece of acetate cut to fit in your container of choice.

Hint: You could draw or trace your image directly on the acetate, but it will show up much better on the vellum.

Make sure the image is right in the middle so it will appear to be “floating” in the bottle, jar, etc.

Creating the Wisps habitat:

Place your light source (already lit) in the bottom of your container and surround it with enough grass to cover the source, but not obscure it’s light. If the light won’t fit in the top of your container, you can always place it behind the container when you display it.

Next, insert the piece of acetate, complete with your wisp in the container and make sure it can stand up in the middle. By cutting the acetate just a little bit wider than the container, it will stay upright a little easier.

Finally, put the lid on that puppy so it won’t get away.

Pretty simple, but there is plenty of room to experiment here with shapes, sizes, designs, and types of light sources.

Not in the market for Will-o’-The-Wisps? Other simple creatures to capture (via magic, downloads or imagination) include Kodama or Forest Spirits like those in “Princess Mononoke,” Spirit World Fireflies from “Avatar: The Last Airbender (animated, please), pixies (or faeries, if you’re old school), Mater’s “ghost light,” or anything else you want to see trapped in a jar.

Remember if you have a metal lid, to poke a few holes in the top so the wisps can breathe. Not too big, mind you, this might encourage them to seep through the top and escape.

When you’re done, don’t forget to let them go and see where they lead you.

Or not.

Depending on the story, these little spectral luminaries can lead you on anything from a vision quest or (more commonly) steer you off your path to certain doom.

My advice, tread lightly.


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Trending Crafts You Really Should Learn: Jars of Light | GeekMomGeekMom

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