Making paper lanterns

Three child-made paper lanterns lit by candles Paper lanterns can be a beautiful decoration, indoors or out, but they’re also very easy to make.

Making lanterns with kids

For preschoolers, you will need to help with the cutting but otherwise kids can pretty much do this themselves.

  1. decorate a piece of A4 paper children decorating a red paper lantern
  2. fold the paper in half length wise
  3. cut 1cm strips across the paper – start cutting at the fold and stop about 2cm before the edge of the page  Cutting paper to create a paper lantern
  4. open the page out
  5. spread glue along one short edge  Adding glue to hold a paper lantern
  6. roll the paper to overlap the short edges, sticking them together
  7. cut a strip of paper and glue it on as a handle  Four paper lanterns made by children
  8. use your lanterns as you will – you can hang them or stand them on a table or window sill

handy lantern tips

  1. you can use other sized paper, just be sure it is rectangular, not square. A4 is a good size for little fingers to work with
  2. decorating the paper with crayons, stickers and textas is more effective than pencils!
  3. colour paper is a good basis
  4. remember they are made out of paper – you can put a tea light candle inside but the fire risk is high. Don’t leave them unattended or near kids, and be sure the paper is firm enough to stand first (cheaper printer paper isn’t!) A good compromise is to use a candle inside a glass jar or a battery operated tea light candle.


6 Responses to Making paper lanterns

  • karmaskeeper says:

    These look really neat. I am a crafter, and I love finding new and easy projects to work on. My kids are all grown now, but I still like doing crafts with kids. My friend runs a daycare center. I make trips there from time to time to craft with the older children. I will have to try this project with them I think they would like it. I know I would, I just love seeing the smile on those faces when they see how easy it is to be creative.

    • Wow, that’s a great thing to be doing – I love doing things like that with children, too. My (then) pre-schoolers had lots of fun making the ones pictured in this post.

      I also got a group of cubs to do this last Christmas – some of them were amazed that they could create a lantern in under 10 minutes. It was nice seeing their satisfaction and pride when it was finished.

  • holunderminze says:

    Oh paper lanterns. How cool, I’ve always wanted to do those myself. My grandfather used to do them all the time. He was really a role model for me. Now I can suprise him for once!

  • sorrowscall says:

    Hmm, I have a holiday flea market coming up this weekend and something like this with a little bit more refined holiday patterns might go well as a bonus gift to people whom stop by my booth. I was just going to give people a fancy bag but this seems like it would go over well a bit more.

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