How to make your own paper lanterns
Idea 1: Paper trail
Often used to ring in the Chinese New Year, these traditional paper lanterns can be dotted around your garden to shed a little light on the situation. Plus, they’re quick and easy to make!
- one A4 sheet per lantern (white or coloured paper)
- glue or sticky tape
- tealight candles or fairy lights
You can use sheets of coloured paper or decorate plain paper before you cut it. Fold the A4 paper in half lengthwise, so that you end up with a long rectangle. Cut strips along horizontal lines from the edge of the paper, stopping about 2cm from the fold. Unfold the sheet of cut paper and wrap it around so that the two edges meet. Use sticky tape or glue to attach. You can place these little paper lanterns on the table over tealights, or add a paper handle to the top and hang them over bulbs on a string of fairy lights.
Idea 2: It’s in the bag
A simple brown paper packet can do more than hold your lunch. Here it’s reinvented as a low-fuss, low-cost paper lantern.
- brown paper bag with gusset or flat bottom
- matchless candles
Bags with a gusset or flat bottom will work best. Before opening it up, cut out a simple heart shape in the front of the bag, or punch out holes to let dappled light filter out. Carefully open up each bag and line the bottom with a shallow layer of sand. Rest a tealight securely on the sand and don’t seal off the bag. Dot the lanterns around the garden and, come dusk, let them shine. If you want to string up the bags, don’t weigh them down with sand, and use matchless candles (little battery-powered tealights) to avoid a fire hazard. Once you’ve switched on the battery-powered tealights, wrap a piece of twine around the top of each bag and attach them to a length of string suspended between branches in your garden.
Idea 3: Hello cupcake
You don’t need to be a master chef to cook up this cool paper lantern idea.
- cupcake liners (white, or in various patterns and colours)
- sharp knife
- fairy lights
Insert one cupcake liner inside a second one to create a layered little ‘lampshade’. You can use white liners or combine two contrasting colours or patterns for a little extra fun. Using a sharp knife, cut a small ‘x’ shape into the centre of the liners. Carefully push a fairy light bulb through the incision and repeat along the entire string. Bright idea? We agree.