Instructions for a Round Paper Lantern

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This is the structure your lantern will have.

Round paper lanterns have been around for centuries and are popular for their festive appeal and unique look. They originated from Eastern culture, and are used most specifically in China and Japan in celebrations, festivals and to add any decorative lighting to the home and garden. If you want one of these exotic lanterns in your own home you can try making one for yourself.


The Frame

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Blow up one of those punching balloons (these are ideal because they are a perfect spherical shape and can be very large) or if you want a more egg-like shape you can use a regular balloon. Blow it up to the size you want your lantern to be. You will need some sturdy but pliable wire, a pair of wire cutters and a pair of pliers. Hang your balloon up and begin coiling the wire starting about 3 inches from the top and wrapping evenly and neatly around the balloon. Leave about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of space between each coil. You can wrap reinforcing wires on the sides to keep the coils in place. Cross two of the reinforcing wires over the top. This is where you will attach your light later.

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The Paper

Once you have the shape down and your frame is nice and sturdy, you can pop the balloon (or just deflate it) and start wrapping some rice paper or tissue paper around and gluing it to the wires. Make sure you leave the top open. Take your time with this part and let the glue dry in sections so you don't end up pulling it off the wires. Hot glue wouldn't be good because it will burn the paper. Use either glue paste or a stick. Let the whole thing dry before you do anything else to it.


The Decoration

You can add designs to your lantern in a few different ways. You can cut designs out of regular paper and glue them to the outside or inside of the lantern on the frame. If you glue them on the inside you will get a cool shadow against the paper when you light it up. You can hang a few pretty tassels at the bottom or a string with some large fancy beads.


The Light

Get a small battery-powered or plug-in electric candle (battery-powered will be easier) and hang it upside down inside the lantern. Wrap some string or thinner wire around the candle at the top opening where you crossed the wires earlier and make sure it is secure. Make sure you either have easy access to the battery door so you can replace the batteries or that the cord reaches straight out of the top of the lantern. Attach another length of thin-but-sturdy wire or thin string from the top so you can hang it up. If you do have a power cord attached to your light, make sure it's long enough and hidden so you can plug it in to an extension cord or outlet.


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