Simple and Easy Party Lanterns

Updated on July 28, 2015
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Denise has been studying and teaching art and painting for 40 years. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her art and design.

Little Lanterns

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Little Lanterns spruce up any event

Have a little soiree planed? Want something cool and unusual for the children to create to keep them busy? These little lawn lanterns are perfect. You can make dozens fairly inexpensively with just a few materials and little direction. There aren’t that many projects you can hand to children and allow them to create on their own, but this one that will last. Each time you bring out the lanterns you can recall the fun it was making it together. Other than the cutting of the windows, even grade school children can paint and fold these with very little supervision.

I prefer using acrylic paint for these because it adds a little extra sturdiness to the box when folded but it isn’t necessary. You can paint the box with tempera paint or even watercolor as long as you do not use a real candle inside. Since the LED lights are cheap enough to be purchased at the Dollar Store, why bother with the danger of fire, especially where children are concerned? These lanterns are easy to construct with a few folds and a little glue, so why not? It’s practical and thoughtful. The perfect project for girls and boys alike.

Cube Pattern

Right click and download box pattern.
Right click and download box pattern. | Source

Materials

The materials you will need are:

  • Pencil and box pattern
  • White 65 or 80 lb paper, standard (8.5” x 11”)
  • Large 1” brush
  • White glue, scissors, and sharp box-cutter knife/X-acto knife
  • Black and orange acrylic paint
  • Colored tissue paper
  • 1 LED light for each box
  • an inch or so of sand in each (optional)

Paint Orange Inside

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Do you dabble in craft projects much?

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Step 1. Painting the Paper.

Paint one side of the piece of paper completely black with acrylic paint. When it is dry, turn over and paint the other side your optional color. Orange is perfect because it looks like fire and adds a very nice glow. I’ve tried yellow before and it didn’t glow as well as the orange. A light blue is also nice. Allow the paper to dry thoroughly. This takes about an hour. Once the paper is dry you can begin tracing and cutting.

Truncated Pyramid Pattern

Right click and download box pattern.
Right click and download box pattern. | Source
Bottom part to the Truncated Pyramid.
Bottom part to the Truncated Pyramid. | Source

Step 2. Trace Pattern

Download and print the patterns. Cut them out so you can trace them onto the painted paper. On the orange side, on a clean dry space, trace the box pattern. Cut it out carefully around the dark solid lines and avoid the dashed lines, as those will be the fold lines.

Flower Fold Pattern

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Score fold lines

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Step 3. Cut Box and Score

With heavy paper, it is necessary to score the paper to get it to fold easily. To do this, use a ruler and a knitting needle or empty ball point pen. Place the ruler on the fold line and use the point of the needle or pen to “draw” along the ruler as in the diagram. Press hard enough to leave a dent in the paper. Don’t press too light or nothing will happen. This takes a little practice but soon you will find the perfect pressure. The pen makes a depression in the paper making it easier to fold. Large manufacturing companies have machines to do this for large cardboard boxes for cereal or whatever, but the technique is the same. Practice on a spare piece of paper until you feel confident.

Carefully cut out the “holes” or windows for light to shine through. This is done with a sharp knife and care not to cut toward your hands. Use a ruler to be sure the cuts are straight. For young children, an adult should do this, as it will take a sharp knife or Exacto blade to do the work.

Crease the flaps and the sides before adding the tissue paper windows so there will be no chance of damaging the tissue paper once it is glued.

Step 4. Tissue Paper Windows

Carefully cut out squares of tissue paper slightly larger than the windows. You can use the cut-away pieces for patterns, especially with the Truncated Pyramid. Put glue around the window area and place the tissue paper carefully so it doesn’t tear. Once the tissue paper is wet with glue it will tear easily so make sure it is adjusted the way you want the first time.

Cut windows

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Glue box sides

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Step 5. Glue the box sides

Crease the flaps and the sides. Apply glue to the flaps and hold them until the glue has bonded well. The Square Box and the Truncated Pyramid need to have only one side glued. I prefer not to glue down the bottom flap so that I can fold the box flat for storage latter. However if you want the bottom to be more secure, go ahead and glue it down.

The Flower Top Box is a little harder than the Square Box. It cannot be collapsed to store more easily. All four of the sides need to be glued. One at a time, glue the flap to the inside of the opposite side of the box as in the diagram. Hold each until they are bonded. Once the four flaps are glued, you fold the flower top by hooking the half circles together as in the diagram.

Add sand and a tea candle before folding down the top.

Finish Box Lanterns

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Tissue Paper Lanterns

Alternate Window Treatment

Instead of square windows, you can cut any size or shape you desire. Try a circle window or hexagon shape. If you are artistic and adventurous, cut shapes like numbers or letters to spell a name or event. The possibilities are endless. Have fun with it and use your imagination.

Stencils

Right click and download pattern.
Right click and download pattern. | Source

For my grandson's 9th birthday party

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Finally

The lantern is so special; you can use it as a gift box. Beware. People may like the box better than the gift! Create a bunch for special occasions. They are great for birthdays, pool parties, slumber parties, and even general get-togethers.

Questions & Answers

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      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        gerimcclym,

        Yes, kids of all ages love these boxes. I think I even did a craft class for 1st graders and they were able to handle the instructions just fine. I'm so glad you like it. Thanks for commenting.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • gerimcclym profile image

        Geri McClymont 

        2 years ago

        What a unique craft. The little lanterns are charming. I think my students would enjoy making these, and they can give them away as gifts. Thank you for sharing and for the detailed directions. Congratulations on HOTD!

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        erorantes,

        My pleasure. I hope you have fun with these.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • profile image

        erorantes 

        2 years ago

        Thank you for explaining me about the safe lighting miss Denise. I used the regular candles in the metal lantern.

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        RTalloni,

        Thank you for the congrats. This is my first HOTD. I feel very blessed today. Thanks for commenting.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        erorantes,

        There is no chance of fire if you use LED candle lights instead of real flame candles. I get them at the Dollar Store, 3 for one dollar. That's a bargain and cheep enough to have the whole back yard lit up! Thanks for commenting.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        Kristen Howe,

        Thank you very much. I love making them and they are very easy. Thanks for commenting.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        2 years ago from the short journey

        Back to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award!

      • erorantes profile image

        Ana Maria Orantes 

        2 years ago from Miami Florida

        Congratulations on the hub of the day. You did a marvelous job. Thank you for sharing your beautiful idea. I like it. I will like to know how long they last before they go on fire. I want to make a few for my back yard. I want to turn them off before they start a fire.

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 

        2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Denise, what a great hub! I love this crafty idea for a hub, too. It's so inventive and creative as well. Congrats on HOTD!

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        RTalloni,

        Exactly. That would be perfect. Filled with treats or as lanterns. These little boxes are very easy to make and so versatile too. I love making them from watercolor paper I have painted so there are interesting designs on the sides also. My family say I have no life. I sit around making boxes all the time... haha. Thanks for commenting.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        2 years ago from the short journey

        Such a neat project hub. Using these on summer evenings would be such fun. I can also see making them with clear windows and filling them with treats for my little grands.

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        Jaya Sanghita,

        Thank you very much. They were certainly simple and fun to make. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for commenting.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • Jaya Sanghita profile image

        Sanghita Chatterjee 

        2 years ago from Kolkata

        Denise, I love this hub of yours! I too love making luminaries at home! Will try these too... Voted up and sharing and tweeting!

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        florypaula,

        I'm so glad you found this instructive. Enjoy. They are a lot of fun.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • florypaula profile image

        Paula 

        2 years ago

        I had no idea you can make lanterns at home. Great hub explained perfectly to understand the necessary steps.

        Have a nice day Denise.

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        BlossomSB,

        Thank you. I appreciate the confidence and comment.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • BlossomSB profile image

        Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

        2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

        Great, comprehensive instructions. I, too, like the safety angle. Your finished lantern look beautiful.

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        Rachel L Alba,

        I created the patterns myself. Feel free to download them and use them. I hope your granddaughter enjoys the project. I had fun making them.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        Larry Rankin,

        My pleasure, Larry, as always. Hope you have some use for them in the future. Enjoy.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        Minnetonka Twin,

        Well, thank you. It tried to make it easy enough for kids to figure out how to do it. I hope you find them useful.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • Rachel L Alba profile image

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

        Hi Denise, You have such good ideas. I love lanterns. They create such a cozy atmosphere. I never thought of making one myself though. I'm not that handy, but I'm going to show this to my granddaughter so like to do things like this. I voted up useful and interesting.

        Blessings to you.

      • Minnetonka Twin profile image

        Linda Rogers 

        2 years ago from Minnesota

        You did a beautiful job of explaining how to make these charming party lanterns. I love the idea of also giving these as gifts.

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        ChitrangadaSharan,

        Thank you for the vote. I love getting the kids involved in little craft projects. I think it is healthy for them to work with their hands on things that are creative.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        2 years ago from New Delhi, India

        These lanterns look so cute and you presented it very nicely with clear instructions and helpful pictures. I do like paper craft and would be trying this. Good to engage kids.

        Thanks for sharing and voted up!

      • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

        Denise McGill 

        2 years ago from Fresno CA

        purl3agony,

        Well, thank you for the confidence. I always felt that way about real fire myself. There are just too many accidents to have it near children. I find these LED lights are the perfect alternative. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • purl3agony profile image

        Donna Herron 

        2 years ago from USA

        Great tutorial with really clear instructions and diagrams! I love the look of these little paper lanterns, but was always concerned with having a safe light source. LED lights are a great choice. I'll have to try making these now. Thanks for sharing! Voted up and pinned!

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