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Paper lanterns are a very popular decoration for lots of different events, festivals and celebrations and they are so pretty and effective to decorate your room or garden. I remember making this type of homemade lantern craft when I was a kid, so I thought it would be great fun to get my kids to make them too.
This DIY way of making a lantern is really easy, so they are a perfect craft for children to make.
Paper lanterns have lots of names – some people call them Chinese lanterns (this is what I always knew them as) but I’ve seen them called Junina Lanterns and Japanese Lanterns as well.
They are very popular to make and hang up for Chinese New Year, but they could also be a spooky Halloween decoration if you made them from black or orange paper and they would make a super Diwali decoration, as Diwali is the Festival of Light.
The lanterns I’ve made in this tutorial are nice and Christmassy so could be hung on the Christmas tree, or strung across the room as a garland.
I have also made them as a summer decoration for a garden party made in bright colours and strung in tree branches, across a patio or around a deck.
You can make these delightful Lantern decorations quickly and easily yourself or with the children. They can be made in any type of paper and you can decorate them as festively as you like!
You Will Need:-
You can make two of these lanterns out of one A4-sized sheet of paper. You could also use coloured paper or craft paper like the ones I’ve used here.
You could also use plain white printer paper and get the kids to decorate the lanterns themselves. If you use paints you can splodge the paint over the paper, and the more abstract it is, the better it looks!
You could also get the kids to colour in with crayons, pencils or felt tip pens. Cover the whole of each sheet of paper that you wish to use.
Firstly if you paper is larger than A5, you need to cut each sheet of paper to make them A5 sized. So if you are using A4 paper, cut them in half.
Next you need to cut a strip off the short end of the paper and put it aside to make the handle.
I made my handle roughly 2cm wide. 2cm is about ¾”.
Fold the remaining paper in half lengthways and make evenly spaced cuts in the paper along the folded edge to about 1cm or ½” from the edge.
You can measure these out with your ruler, again 2cm is a good width, but I have judged them by eye when I’m in a hurry – I once made 20 lanterns in the morning before my Mother’s birthday party. No time to measure!
Unfold the paper and lay it out, but don't flatten it too much, you want to keep the centre fold. If you want to decorate your lanterns with glitter, sequins or shiny stickers this would be the time to go for it!
Once any glue that has been used to add decorations has dried, roll your lantern into a cylinder with a small overlap. You can staple, glue or sticky tape it in place.
If you want to use glue you will need to use the paper clips to hold the lanterns together until the glue has dried. I favour using a little mini stapler, so that the staples don’t show too much.
Finally attach the handle to either side. Again I like to staple it. The finished lanterns could be hung on a Christmas tree separately or stapled to a string to form a garland.
What I love about this lantern craft is that these are quick to make, fun and the children can be involved at whatever level is suited to their ability, whether they are just able to scribble with a crayon or are old enough to use the scissors safely.
You can make them as quickly as you like, or spend a lot of time decorating them. They can also be made any size.
If you would like to make and decorate your own paper lantern, here is a free printable paper lantern PDF template.
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