How to Make Paper Lanterns


Make a paper bag luminary.
Make a paper bag luminary.

Paper lanterns for kids brighten the night with a magical glow. Whether they remind you of staying up late on hot summer nights, Halloween trick-or-treating, or faraway places, paper lanterns are something special.

All that magic is easy and inexpensive to conjure up -- and makes a fun craft activity to do with kids. All it takes is a few supplies, some simple instructions, and a little work.

Follow the links below to learn how you can make your own paper lanterns.

Glowing Lantern

Choose patterned paper to give this paper lantern personality.

Paper Bag Luminary

Cut paper designs into a bag to make a shining paper lantern.

Keep reading to learn how to turn tissue paper, craft sticks, and a glow-stick into a glowing lantern.

For more paper crafts and fun activities, check out:

Glowing Lantern

Make a glowing lantern with this technique.
Make a glowing lantern with this technique.

Light up the night with a glowing handmade lantern. Use one as a night-light, or make a whole bunch to light the way to your door.

What You'll Need:

  • 16 regular craft sticks
  • 1 sheet patterned tissue paper
  • Glow stick

Tools:

  • Craft glue
  • Scissors

Step 1: Place a sheet of tissue paper on your work surface, printed side up. Smooth out all wrinkles.

Step 2: Beginning at the lower left corner of the paper, glue a craft stick along the bottom edge, lining up the stick with the bottom of the tissue paper. Glue a craft stick up along the left side, perpendicular to the bottom stick. Glue two more sticks to complete the square, making sure all the angles are square.

Arrange craft sticks as shown. Arrange craft sticks as shown.
Arrange craft sticks as shown.

Step 3: Glue on four more craft sticks to create another square that touches the right side of the one you just made. Repeat two more times so you have a total of four boxes in a row. Let dry.

Step 4: Trim the tissue paper that extends above the top edge of the squares. Also trim the right side of the paper 1/4 inch beyond the edge of the craft stick.

Step 5: Stand the shape on its side, and fold it into a cube shape without a top or bottom. Glue the tissue-paper flap to the first stick to secure the cube.

To make your lantern glow, place a lighted glow stick in the middle of the lantern. Never use a candle or fire of any sort, as the paper may burn.

Next, you'll learn how to make a star-studded paper luminary.

For more paper crafts and fun activities, check out:

Paper Bag Luminary

Paper bag luminary
Paper bag luminary

The light shines through the shapes in this super-simple paper bag luminary.

What You'll Need:

  • 1 dark-colored paper bag
  • Yellow tissue paper
  • 2 small novelty flashlights with batteries
  • 12 inches of ribbon, 1/8 inch wide

Tools:

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Paper punch

Step 1: Sketch stars and a crescent moon on the paper bag. Carefully cut out.

Step 2: Lightly crumple a piece of tissue paper, and place it inside the bag. Turn the flashlights on, and place them in the bag.

Step 3: Close and fold down the bag 1 inch from the top. Punch two holes 1 inch apart in the middle of this fold through all layers of the bag. Thread the ribbon through both holes, and tie in a bow at the front of the bag.

For more paper crafts and fun activities, check out: