DIY Round Paper Lanterns with Lantern Cane - Ideal for a Festival of Light Parade

These round paper lanterns look beautiful in the daylight but even more stunning when lit up at night. They're super simple to make, great for all ages to get involved, & because they're upcycled they don't cost the earth either.  

Ideal for any Light Parade, Light Party, Advent, Christmas, Diwali, Eid, Hannukah celebrations, or New Year! Here's how we made them.


I love that children can be really creative with these eco-friendly lanterns, adding as little or as much colour as they like, the lanterns are a blank canvas just waiting to be transformed into something beautiful.

To make our lanterns we used old paper lampshades (like the ones linked below). We then used PVA glue (gloopy glue) & spread a thin layer onto small sections of the lantern using a thick paintbrush. Thick chunky paintbrushes work best for this activity as the thinner finer ones tend to go straight through the paper. 


 Then it was time to add the coloured tissue paper. You can be as precise or random as you like with this. If you want to cover the whole lantern with colour you'll need to make sure the coloured tissue paper is touching or overlapping.


We applied more coloured squares, brushing a thin layer of glue here & there to help the layers stay in place. You really don't need very much glue, the more you add the more likely the colours in the tissue paper will start to run. 

When adding the coloured tissue paper it's best to work on a surface that won't adhere to the lantern, we found an old table or wipeable cloth worked best. If you can hold the inner metal frame of the lantern while decorating it also makes the process much easier but obviously little hands may find it easier to rest the lantern on a table while they are creating. 


When you've finished covering your lantern it will need time to dry. We hooked ours onto a stick & left to dry in a warm room for around 5 hours. Alternatively, you could leave them to dry on a wipeable surface for a few hours, or you could use them before they were completely dry if necessary, but they will be much stronger & sturdier once all the glue has dried.


To make our Lantern Cane we used a length of dowel & screwed in a small eyelet. Our lantern cane was the same length as Minnie's arm which made it easier for her to carry, but you could use any length of wood.


We wanted our lantern to stay secure on the cane, so we added a safety pin to the eyelet & then secured it to the centre of the frame once our lantern was dry. To do this we carefully folded the two semicircular metal sections together in the middle of the frame. This helped hold the safety pin in place & allowed the lantern to have a little movement without it sliding around too much.


To light up our lantern, we added a small LED flashlight torch (linked below) which we hung from the safety pin on the frame. Alternatively, you could hang a small battery-operated light, or tape a battery-operated tealight (facing down) to the top of the frame. When using any small lights with young children, always make sure an adult is supervising. 

With our mini flashlight added, our lantern was ready to shine bright & light up a dark night with its beautiful colourful glow. 


We've made these lanterns before at several Light Party events & the children (& adults) have had a great time decorating them. At the end of the evening, we've held a Light Parade where the children & their families have carried their lanterns outside illuminating the darkness with their colourful lights. Here's a little clip of the lanterns in action. 


Not only do these lanterns look beautiful, but they're also pretty bobust & will last for years if you wish to keep them, you could even resuse them as a lampshade for your child's room. If not, then they can easily be recycled.

Below you'll find items like the ones we used to make our lanterns
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