Outdoor Paper Lanterns

Handmade paper lanterns lit with votive candles cast a soft glow that's perfect for evenings among the flowers.

What You Need:

Decorate your garden with more than daytime enjoyment in mind.
  • Two lampshades with socket rings (per lantern)
  • Bolt cutter
  • Fabric seam binding
  • Corrugated paper
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • Crafts glue
  • Metal clips
  • Twine
  • Colored paper
  • Votive candle holder
  • Votive candle


Step 1: Cut.

1. For each lantern, start with two lampshade frames (six-paneled or similar) equipped with socket rings. Remove the ring from one of the frames using bolt cutters. This frame forms the top of the lantern. Remove any material covering the shades, leaving bare frames. Place the frames' bottoms together and wrap with seam binding; secure the fabric by tying the ends. Make a lantern-panel template of cardboard and use it to cut medium-weight corrugated paper (from an art supply store).

Step 2: Glue.

2. Apply decoupage or pressed dried leaves and flowers to the insides of the panels. Before gluing, tie three lengths of twine to the top of the frame (where you removed the ring socket) spaced evenly apart. Tie the other three ends together in a knot. Use crafts glue to attach the paper panels to the top lampshade frame. Hold panels in place with metal clips until glue dries. Flip the lantern over and glue the panels in place on the second lampshade frame. Glue strips of colored paper in place to cover all the seams.

Step 3: Hang.

3. Set a votive candleholder in the socket ring; insert the candle. Hang lanterns from tree branches, a pergola, or an arbor, using S-shaped hooks. Trim excess twine to keep it safely away from candle flames. To reduce the risk of fire hazard, avoid using lanterns on windy evenings. Paper lanterns should not hang outdoors overnight. One night's dew can warp the paper.


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