Make a Paper Lantern

October 3, 2012 Off By Koehler Home Decor

Every celebration or even just a family gathering calls for a little decoration. If you have been to a wedding recently (or any formal party in fact) you may have noticed that good old fashioned paper lanterns are really making a comeback as a decor choice.  Lanterns can be anything from fun and kooky for kids parties to endlessly elegant for more grown up affairs.

If you go to a large home goods store you will probably find plenty of paper lantern options there but you will also often find that they are pretty pricey, especially since they are only made of paper.

One alternative to these rather costly items is to make your own paper lanterns. There are lots of ways that you can do this and most of them are far simpler than you might imagine. Here is a basic method:

Simple Paper Ball Lantern

This is a very easy way to make a paper ball lantern and it is a great choice if you want to string lanterns all across a room for a celebration. When they are finished these round rice paper lanterns look very complicated but they really are not and they are very, very versatile if you use a little artistic imagination.

What You Will Need

A Round Balloon
Rice paper (lots of craft stores stock this for under $10 for A 50-60 foot roll!)
A small battery operated LED (they cost about $1 each. Look for the kind that has a small wire to attach to the lantern easily.)

Watercolors if you want to paint your own designs.

How It’s Done

Inflate your balloon and tie the string to the end of it. Suspend the balloon at a comfortable height where you have complete access to it.
Make a simple papier mache solution by mixing one part water to one part flour. Mix until smooth in a large bowl.
Dip a strip of rice paper into the solution and then run it through your fingers to remove any excess.
Lay the strip at one end of the balloon and carefully stick it on. You can choose do this in a vertical pattern (going down the length of the balloon) or to wrap the strip around the circumference of the balloon instead for a different effect.
Repeat the process, slightly overlapping the strips every time until the balloon is completely covered. Leave a small portion (it only has to be very small, enough to get a pin into)
Leave your creation to dry for several hours. When it is dry if you are going to paint it now is the time.
Once you are happy with your artwork and it is all dry pop the balloon by inserting a pin into the small space you left.
Carefully cut a small circular opening into the top of the lantern. Attach a string to either side of the opening for hanging and attach the LED light. Enjoy!

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