Do Something Creative Every Day

How To Make Paper Lanterns

Luminaries are magical things - light up your front walkway or fireplace mantel with a festive glow. Make paper lanterns for special occasions like Halloween, Christmas, even weddings!

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Materials:
Bone Folder
Ruler
Craft knife
Pencil
8 1/2" x 11" Cover Weight Paper
Plastic Shapes Kit or any traceable design
Light Source
Tape


Step-by-Step

  1. Cut one sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper in half, so you end up with 2 pieces measuring 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". One piece will be used for the front of the luminary, the other for the back. On the front piece, trace a shape (we used shapes from the plastic shape kits) or draw your own, and cut out with a craft knife. We only cut shapes in the front piece of the luminary, but you may also cut from the back and side pieces as well.
  2. Next cut another sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper in half, so you end up with 2 pieces measuring 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". With a bone folder and ruler, create scores 1/2" in from the edge along the 2 long sides of each piece as shown. Fold in at the score marks.
  3. For the bottom of the luminary, cut a piece of paper 5 1/2" x 6 1/2". Score in from each side 1/2". Cut and remove the small square in each corner as shown. Fold flaps in.
  4. It may be easier to decorate your luminary while the pieces are flat and unassembled. Try cutting the top edge with decorative scissors. Adding a piece of vellum behind your cut out shape is great for diffusing the light, creating a softer look.
  5. Assemble the luminary as shown, attaching the pieces together by applying adhesive (glue stick or double-sided tape) to the flaps.
  6. For the light source, we recommend using battery operated candles, Christmas lights, or nightlights which are inexpensive, safe, and found at most hardware stores. If placing outside, you may need to add additional weight to the bottom of the luminary such as sand or stones.