Sunday, May 18, 2008

How To Make A Paper Lantern

Paper lanterns are a Chinese tradition and are often seen as decoration during Chinese New Year in February. Their lights add a warm, buttery glow to a room and with the right decoration can make it very cozy. Such lamps traditionally use white or cream colored paper, but nowadays they come in just about any color imaginable. Following are instructions on how to make your own professional looking paper lantern.

Things You’ll Need:
6 flat strips of bamboo 1/4 inch wide and 4 feet long
Rubber Cement
Masking Tape
Rice paper
Battery Powered light socket (Optional)
Drill with small bit (Optional)
Silk thread or string (Optional)

Making a Paper Lantern
Step 1:
Start by bending the six bamboo strips into circles. If they are stiff, rub your hands across their length to warm them, this will make them more pliable. Tape the ends of each bamboo circle together.

Step 2:
Take four of the bamboo circles and stand them upright. Tape their sides together so that the four circles form a square, each opening facing a different cardinal direction.

Step 3:
Slide the remaining two bamboo circles onto the top and bottom of the box, forming a cube. Tape them all firmly in place.

Step 4:
Wrap the rice paper around the sides of the square, using the rubber cement on the inside where the ends of the paper meet forming a vertical line.

Step 5:
Cut the rice paper along the top and bottom of the frame, leave several inches of excess. The rest can always be cut away later.

Step 6:
Fold over the top and bottom of the frame, leaving holes as the edges of the frame. Cut away the excess rice paper carefully to leave neat edges.

Step 7:
Place over lit candle as a centerpiece or decoration and enjoy!

Another Way To Display Your Paper Lantern
Step 1:
Do not use a candle, instead use the drill to bore small holes into the top edges of the frame.

Step 2:
Thread the string through the hole and tie them together to allow the lantern to hang.

Step 3:
Tie the light socket to the end of a piece of string, lower it into the top of the lantern.

Step 4:
Tie the opposite end of the string to the others and suspend wherever you wish!

Tips & Warnings
If you have trouble getting the paper to cling to the frame, mist it lightly with a water spray bottle.
Various designs can be found on rice paper or better yet, decorate the lanterns by painting or drawing on them.
Rice paper is very thin and sticky, unless you hands are clean and dry it will stick to them and rip.
Never leave a lit candle unattended, this is a fire hazard

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