Crafty Ideas for Dazzling Handmade Paper Lanterns

Add a soft glow to gatherings of family and friends with handmade paper lanterns. These handcrafted creations provide an interesting layer of lighting and decoration to indoor and outdoor festivities alike. Imagine an evening cookout illuminated by a whimsical string of paper lanterns. Inside the home, hanging lanterns add warm, flattering light to a casual dinner or impromptu cocktail party.

Make decorative and functional paper lanterns that suit your personal style. Go with a minimal look or create an elaborate design to coordinate with your home’s decor or special party theme. Pick up the necessary supplies from the local craft store and have fun making any of these handmade lanterns for all to enjoy.

Simple Chinese Lanterns
These easy-to-make lanterns will introduce the kids to an ancient cultural tradition known as the Chinese, or Lunar New Year. Hanging lanterns, central to the celebration, decorate villages and cities in China and southeast Asia. Get the everyone involved in making these colorful paper lanterns to hang throughout the house from late January through mid February.

Fold a sheet of construction paper in half and cut strips along the length of the paper, taking care not to cut through to the end. Unfold and create a cylindrical shape by taping the ends together. Staple a construction paper handle to the lantern.

Make a tabletop version by eliminating the handle and placing an LED tea light inside each lantern. Group them on any surface to create a romantic centerpiece. To add a touch of glam, decorate the lanterns with glue and a dusting of super-fine glitter.

Painted Lanterns
Use a round, white paper lantern purchased from an import store as the basis for this handmade lantern project. To stabilize the lantern, place it in a large bowl or pot. Use a child’s watercolor set and a soft artist’s brush to paint a custom design right on the lantern.

Rotate the bowl to avoid touching the lantern during painting. Let dry, flip the lantern over and paint the other half. Purchase a paper lantern cord kit, insert the light bulb and sit back and admire your hanging lantern artwork.

Exotic Floral Lanterns
Throw a bohemian-themed party replete with exotic floral lanterns made from inexpensive round paper lanterns. Determine your color scheme and purchase coordinating shades of tissue paper. Cut the tissue paper into smallish squares and wrap each one around the eraser of a pencil. Carefully remove the tissue flower from the pencil and dip the ends in craft glue or secure with a glue gun.

Proceed to cover the entire surface with the delicate tissue blossoms to create an exotic lighting effect. Affix flameless tealights inside with floral wire. Hang the oversize pom pom lanterns in a staggered grouping over a table for an eye-catching display.

Luminary Lanterns
These handmade hanging lanterns offer a new twist to paper bag luminaries that typically line walkways during the holidays. Use extra small brown or white paper bags for these delicate hanging lanterns. Gently fold the top edge of each bag down one inch to create an inverted cuff. Draw a design on the side of the bag using a decorative stencil and carefully cut out the shape with a craft knife.

Insert a small grommet on each side of the bag approximately 1/2 inch from the top. Create a handle with fine gauge wire. Loop each end through the grommets and secure by twisting the wire onto the handle. Place a battery-operated tea light in each bag and hang them indoors or out.
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