How to Make Homemade Paper Lanterns

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Construction paper
Wire or dowels

Making homemade paper lanterns is cheaper and more fun than purchasing them readymade from a store. Paper lanterns date back centuries ago and in the Chinese culture symbolize a long and lucky life. Today, these candles are used to decorate venues for festive occasions. You can make simple lanterns to hang or make floating lanterns that you can place in water.

Follow these steps to make homemade paper lanterns.

Step 1 - Cut Handle

To make the handle, measure out one inch from the short end of your colored or white construction paper with a ruler and cut it.

Step 2 - Mark the Edge and Lines

Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Draw a line one inch from the long edge opposite of the fold to mark where you should stop cutting.

Measure and mark lines spaced an inch apart starting from the folding edge and stopping at the previously marked line. Cut the lines with a sharp pair of scissors.

Step 3 - Tape and Decorate the Lantern

Unfold the paper and match the short sides to form the lantern. Tape the ends and staple the handle on top.

Decorate the lanterns with glitter, fancy trim, or anything else you have on hand. Make several such lanterns and hang them from a string.

Floating Lanterns

To make a floating lantern, purchase a Styrofoam base from a craft store. These can be cut to fit any shape you have in mind. They form a sturdy base for your lantern and prevent it from tipping over in water.

Use either dowels or wire to construct the frame and cut them to size. Dowels are easy to use if you want a square lantern, but wire is the best if you have a particular shape in mind because it can bend easily.

For a sphere lantern, make two wire circles in the size you want your openings to be, and cut a series of wires each larger than the other, with the largest circle as wide as you want the lantern. Connect all the circles carefully with wire strips.

Use colored paper, rice paper, or tissue paper over the frame. Attach these to the frame with glue, folding the paper for extra strength.

Use your imagination to decorate your lantern with glitter, or make characters or patterns with a calligraphy brush.

Use either a small tea light candle or a battery-powered one and place it inside your lantern. Set your lantern in a pond or water-filled bowl at the entrance and enjoy the lovely glow.