How to Make Paper Lanterns

Use origami to make paper lanterns.
Diagrams Help You Get Started

Learning how to make paper lanterns can be fun and easy to do. Paper lanterns are perfect for a wedding celebration or a summer evening under the starry night. Consider a variety of colors and styles for indoor use throughout the year.

Learn How to Make Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns are not a specific type of origami. That is because they often require cutting the paper and securing the paper together using glue. Traditional origami only involves the folding of paper. Nevertheless, this is a fun craft to do. The following steps will help you through the process:

  1. Start by folding a sheet of paper lengthwise in half. Then, cut along the folded edge, starting about an inch away from the edge and stopping about an inch away from the other edge. Cut inward.
  2. Open up the paper. You can use this time to add any type of decorative element to the lantern, such as adding glitter, marker or crayon designs or even adding ribbons. This is a great time to get the kids involved in the project.
  3. Roll the paper lantern together, from end to end. Glue the one-inch edges of the paper together. You may have to pinch them together tightly enough so the glue holds.
  4. Next, take a long ribbon or string that is twice the length of the height that you wish to hang the lantern at. For example, if it will hang six inches down from a hook, cut a ribbon the length of 12 inches at least. Fasten this ribbon to the latter either with glue or by making two small holes on either side of the top opening and tying the string in place.
  5. Form the bottom of the lantern by placing the lantern on top of a piece of cardboard and cutting a circle the size of the bottom opening. Add a few extra inches of space onto the sides of the cardboard so that you can fold them up to attach the bottom to the actual lantern. Set the project aside and allow it to dry fully.
  6. After the paper lantern is completely dry, you can add a small tap light that is battery operated within the center of it. Hang it up and turn it on to light up the space. Be careful to use only those battery operated lights that are safe to use near paper.

The most successful paper lanterns are those that people invest some time into making. These can last for some time if you use construction paper or a thicker craft paper.

More Tips and Tricks

Learning how to make paper lanterns can be a lot of fun. Try using a variety of different types of paper. You can create lanterns that are more elegant by investing a bit more time into the process and using thinner paper. Consider a few more options and tips that can help you through this process.

Origami Star Lanterns
  • For a fun string of paper lanterns, consider these instant party lights at Instructables.com. To make this project, you can use indoor Christmas light strings and place origami boxes over the top of the individual lights. Be careful about the paper being close to the lights if they emit heat.
  • MarthaStewart.com has a more elaborate style of paper lantern, made with origami techniques. The site offers step by step instructions and pictures to help you to create these lanterns. Use them to decorate for a beach party.
  • This video at 5min.com shows how to make an interesting type of paper lantern. You can follow the video to make these for any occasion. If you put in some extra time, you can create a paper lantern that is very impressive, especially if you use quality paper and decorate it.
  • To add a bit more intrigue to the project, try out this paper star lantern project at YouTube.com. It provides a unique way to make paper lanterns that you can use for any need.
How to Make Paper Lanterns