How to Make Paper Lanterns (Step-by-Step) (2023)

These Chinese paper lanterns are such a fun paper craft for anyone to make. They do for beautiful cozy decorations at home.

How to Make Paper Lanterns (Step-by-Step) (1)

Did you know that paper lanterns have different meanings and symbolism in different countries? And, depending on where they’re from, they can be made using paper, silk, with bamboo or wood, with real candles or just a pseudo-source of light?

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There are also dozens of different festivals across the globe that are celebrated with lanterns at the heart of the celebration and festivities. Lanterns are just that amazing.

So, in the spirit of all that festivity and celebration of light and traditions, let’s take a look at how to make a paper lantern of our own right at home!

Also, give these paper crafts for adults a chance in case you love a good paper DIY project.

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Supplies and Tools You’ll Need

Here’s a list of everything you’ll need for this project:

How to Make Paper Lanterns (Step-by-Step) (4)

Watch: DIY Paper Lanterns

Not much of a reader? Check out a full tutorial on how to make these on video!

How to Make Paper Lanterns

So, if you’ve gathered all the different materials you’ll need, read ahead to find out how you can make your own paper lanterns.

Step 1

The first step is to pick out craft paper that you really like. You can use textured, colored, and printed paper, as long as it’s colorful and pretty and not too opaque that the light can’t filter out.

So, once you’ve picked out the paper, turn it over on your work surface. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw two lines: one each about half an inch or 1 cm away from the bottom and top of the paper.

(Video) Paper Lamp Making at Home | Paper Lantern Tutorial Very Easy | DIY Festival Decoration ideas

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Step 2

Don’t put away your ruler and pencil just yet. Place the ruler over the line you just drew and draw markers along that line at every centimeter gap.

Repeat this for the second line at the bottom of the sheet, too.

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Step 3

Next, turn your ruler around and line it up so that the top edge and bottom edge of the ruler are both on the first markers of both lines. Draw a line connecting the two.

Proceed to draw vertical lines connecting each of the markers across the top line with their subordinating ones.

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Step 4

Grab a craft cutter and use your ruler to cut down the lines, as seen below. Just a word of caution: don’t cut beyond the two lines at the top and bottom of the page, or your lantern will just fall apart.

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After you finish cutting the paper into strips, your craft paper should look like this.

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Step 5

Next, use your cutter to remove just one strip right at the end of the sheet so you can make a gap, as seen below.

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Step 6

Next, grab a roll of double-sided tape and a plain white sheet of paper. Tape two long strips of the double-sided tape at the top and bottom of the sheet.

(Video) How To Make A Chinese Paper Lantern | Fun Kids Activities

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Step 7

Stick both the top and bottom of the craft paper to the top and bottom of the white sheet.

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The white sheet is smaller than the craft paper, so when you tape them, you’ll find that the latter will create a tunnel or mound-like bubble down the middle.

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Step 8

Turn the paper around and tape another strip of double-sided tape, this time on the side of the paper, as seen here. Don’t worry; just trust the process, and you’ll see why we’re all out of proportion at the moment.

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Step 9

Next, grab the side you just taped and carefully fold it over to the opposite end.

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Remember when you cut out one strip to leave a gap on that end? Well, you’re going to stick the taped side to that end of the paper. Don’t you just love how the craft paper strips are billowing out?

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Your lantern should look something like this once you’ve taped the ends together.

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(Video) How To Make A Chinese Paper Lantern 🎄

Step 10

But we’re not quite done just yet. If you want a little extra jazz and a better finish for your lantern, then start by cutting two strips—three strips if you want a handle—of white paper.

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Step 11

Tape a bit of double-sided tape along two of the strips and stick them around the top and bottom of the lantern.

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With the last strip, simply tape either end of the paper and fold it into a curved handle as you stick it in place at the top.

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Step 12

Feel free to decorate your paper lantern with washi tape, glitter, and any other embellishments you can think of.

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You can also place an electric tea light candle inside to light it up.

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What Kind of Paper Do You Use to Make Lanterns?

You can use different types of paper to make your paper lantern. Just take a look at your options:

  • Construction paper is perhaps the most popular choice as it’s easy-to-find, cost-effective, and comes in pretty colors and prints.
  • Card stock, too, is pretty popular. But, it can be a little too opaque, especially if you pick up heavy card stock.
  • You can also use tissue paper or copy paper, but they’re not going to be as durable or easy-to-handle as the other two.

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How to Use these Chinese Paper Lanterns?

Paper lanterns would look gorgeous just about anywhere, don’t you think? Here a list of where you can use the and how you can use them:

(Video) How To Make A Paper Lantern Step By Step

  • At parties and gatherings as decorative pieces.
  • During festivals and rituals. You can hang them up from the porch, the deck, or even from an awning or rooftop.
  • You can set them on the mantel, on a low side table, or on your craft desk.
  • String them up with some twine and hang them across the backyard or over doorways.
  • How to Make Paper Lanterns (Step-by-Step) (26)

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Yield: 1 paper lantern

How to Make Paper Lanterns (Step-by-Step)

How to Make Paper Lanterns (Step-by-Step) (28)

These DIY paper lanterns are a perfect paper project that will help you to decorate your home on a budget. An easy, fun craft for adults and teens.

Active Time25 minutes

Additional Time5 minutes

Total Time5 minutes


Estimated Cost$1


  • 1x sheet of white paper (10"x 12")
  • 1x craft paper (12"x 12")
  • Decorative tape
  • Double-sided tape
  • 3x paper strips (12"x 1")
(Video) How to make a paper lantern | Step-by-step tutorial


  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Retractable blade knife


  1. Gather all your supplies to get started on this project.
  2. Turn your craft paper over with the right side facing down.
  3. Using a pencil and a ruler, draw two lines—one each at the top and bottom of the paper about a centimeter away from the edge.
  4. Next, make markers at every centimeter gap along both lines.
  5. Using the ruler and pencil, connect the markers on either end by drawing a line from top to bottom. Repeat this across the paper with all the markers.
  6. Grab a craft cutter and make incisions down each individual line you just drew. You paper will now be divided into strips joined by the strip
  7. Cut out the very last strip to create a gap.
  8. Next, grab your white paper and line both the top and bottom with a length of double-sided tape. Carefully stick the top and bottom of the craft paper(with the printed side facing up) to the top and bottom of the white paper.
  9. The white paper is smaller in size, so the craft paper will billow out.
  10. Next, line the sides of the white paper with double sided paper and roll it inward to stick the ends together. If you remember, you cut out one strip right at the end to create a gap. So, stick the side of the paper you just rolled onto that gap.
  11. To get a better finish on your lanter, cut out three more strips of white paper. You can line two of those strips with double-sided tape and stick around the top and bottom of the lantern.
  12. The third strip can be folded into a handle and then stuck onto the top.
  13. Feel free to decorate your lantern with washi tape, stickers, glitter, and other embellishments. You can also place an electric tea light candle inside to light it up.


How do you make a simple floating lantern? ›

Fold 2 sheets of paper towel into a square shape and soak in candle wax. Once dry, poke two holes through the ends of the paper towel and attach to one end of the base. When you're ready to light, simply light the paper towel and let your lantern float into the sky!

What are materials to needed to make it the lantern design? ›

The materials used for lantern frames include bamboo, wood, wheat straw, and metal. Paper and silk are traditionally the major materials. Popular illustrations on lanterns include landscapes, portraits of great people, dragon and phoenix designs, birds, and fish.

How do you make a round paper lantern? ›

Take the two ends of the paper and wrap them around to make a round tube shape. Use a piece of tape or glue to stick it together. Tape the top and bottom edge together. You can also use a stapler to connect the two end pieces of the lantern.

How to make a memory lantern? ›

9 Steps for Making a Memorial Lantern
  1. Measure the sides of your lantern. ...
  2. Protect your memories: digitize your photos. ...
  3. Crop and resize your photos. ...
  4. Print your photos. ...
  5. Create and print written text. ...
  6. Repaint or decorate your lantern. ...
  7. Affix or insert your photos. ...
  8. Add your lights.
Jan 17, 2023

How do you make a Chinese paper lantern fly? ›

To make a sky lantern, start by making a cylinder out of wax paper, which will be the lantern's outer shell. Then, glue a piece of wax paper over one of the ends of the paper cylinder. Once you're done with the shell, bend some metal wire into a circle, which will be the frame that holds your lantern's fuel source.

How many pieces of paper do you need for each lantern? ›

You will need TWO pieces of paper.

They need to be the EXACT same length but one must be taller than the other by at least two inches. If you need measurements, the first paper should measure 12″ X 12″ and the second paper 12″ x 16″.

What liquid do you put in lanterns? ›

Kerosene Lamp Oil

Flat wick lamps and lanterns are designed to burn brightest with kerosene fuel, but clear lamp oil works just fine too. A popular lamp oil choice is K-1 kerosene, which is affordable and readily available from filling stations or in prepackaged containers.

What are the parts of a lantern called? ›

Lantern Terminology
  • Bail. The handle of a lantern, formed in a semicircular shape. ...
  • Burner. The metal device that holds the wick and ratchet to advance the wick.
  • Fount. ...
  • Frame. ...
  • Globe. ...
  • Globe retainer. ...
  • Horizontals. ...
  • Markings.

How do Japanese make paper lanterns? ›

Using worn stencils and thick brushes, an artisan paints the floral decorations on the thin paper. A framework of wood helps to shape the thin boning that the paper will be attached to. Another artisan adds details to the painted paper before the paper lantern is finished.

How do you make a solstice paper lantern? ›

To make your winter luminary simply;
  1. Cut a tall strip of baking paper that fits around your glass jar.
  2. Using glue, stick your leaves onto the paper on the outside.
  3. Wrap the piece around the glass jar and tape it together.
  4. Place your light/candle into the glass jar and watch it glow!
Jun 21, 2018

What is a sympathy lantern? ›

The lantern memorial gift is a beautiful sympathy gift for loss of grandmother, a memorial gift for loss of husband or bereavement gift for loss of mother.

What are the paper lanterns that fly called? ›

Sky lanterns are usually called Chinese lanterns/wish lanterns/flying lanterns, and these lanterns can be traced thousands of years back in both Chinese and Thai celebrations and festivals.

How high can a paper lantern fly? ›

When used in ideal weather conditions, sky lanterns will easily reach heights of over 1000 feet. Typically, it's between 700 and 1600 feet. They will usually make it between 2 and 5 miles from the original launch site before extinguishing. After, they harmlessly float back to Earth to biodegrade.

How do flying paper lanterns work? ›

A sky lantern works like a hot air balloon. The candle flame bellow the shell warms up the air inside it, causing the lantern to float up and stay airborne until the candle is extinguished.

How do you make a paper lantern sculpture? ›

  1. Fold one piece of paper in half lengthwise. ...
  2. Along the folded line, cut the paper in half.
  3. Glue the two halves together to create one long strip of paper.
  4. Fold the paper into four equal parts; these will be the four sides of your lantern.
  5. Decorate each square with scenes or objects from the story.

What is a Japanese paper lantern? ›

The Japanese word chōchin refers to the traditional lanterns with a frame of split bamboo covered with paper, which can collapse flat into itself, and are usually designed to hang from a hook or a pole.

How do you attach paper lanterns together? ›

Step 1 - Take expanding hook and and locate the two end hooks, where the bottom of the lantern will be latched to. Step 2 - Place the expanding hook into the center of the lantern and start expanding the lantern up to the top hooks. Step 3 - Lock in place both lantern and expanding hooks, as shown below.

How much light level does a lantern give? ›

As you might guess, lanterns emit light. A light level of 15, to be precise, which is slightly more than torches and on par with glowstone, campfires, redstone lamps, and jack-o-lanterns. They're pretty easy to make – just surround a torch with iron nuggets.

How do you make a Christmas parol for kids? ›

Just cut strips of paper roughly the height of each point on the star. Have your child wrap the tissue and glue it to itself on the other side, forming a sheath around each point. Cut a piece of paper the size of the middle section and glue that on as well. Now that your parol is completed, it's time to hang it up!

What can I use instead of lamp oil? ›

Olive Oil: An odorless, smokeless renewable fuel that is a popular alternative to kerosene or lamp oil.

Can paper lanterns get wet? ›

Please keep in mind that though the paper lanterns are water resistant but cannot withstand stand long periods of wet weather conditions. So if you bring them inside if there is a huge downpour.

Can you use rubbing alcohol in lanterns? ›

Fill the lamp with a suitable fuel: denatured or ethyl alcohol (also called ethyl alcohol, ethanol or ethyl hydrate) with an alcohol content of 90% or higher. You can also used isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol with an alcohol content of 90% or higher.

Why are there holes at the bottom of a lantern? ›

There are holes at the bottom of a lantern so that oxygen passes through them with the help of convection currents and helps in burning.

What is a lantern on a stick called? ›

These creations are called jack-o'-lanterns, and they are proudly displayed on porches and stoops across the country.

What is the knob at the top of a lamp called? ›

A finial (from Latin: finis, end) or hip-knob is an element marking the top or end of some object, often formed to be a decorative feature.

How do you make Christmas luminaries? ›

Make the most simple, traditional luminarias with brown or white paper lunch bags.
  1. Fold each bag at the top, then fill each with a couple of cups of sand.
  2. Add a votive candle! For safety, many folks now use a flameless LED votive candle or solar-powered light.
  3. Place the bags on steady ground along pathways.

What are Chinese paper lanterns called? ›

Paper lanterns are called Dēnglóng (simplified Chinese: 灯笼; traditional Chinese: 燈籠) in China.


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