Simple and Easy Party Lanterns
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.
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
Do you dabble in craft projects much?
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. 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
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
Score Fold LinesClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 ballpoint 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.
Cut WindowsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
Glue Box SidesClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 later. 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 LanternsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
For my grandson's 9th birthday partyClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.