Paper Lanterns

Create your own paper lantern, using watercolors and tissue paper as decorations year round, day or night.



Step 1. Gather your supplies.

How to make a paper lantern

How to make paper lanterns

Step 2.

Glue (4) Craft Sticks together to form a square.

how to make paper lantern for kids

Step 3.

Repeat Step 2 and create (3) more squares.

paper lantern craft

Step 4.

Cut a square piece of white tissue paper. It should be approximately 2 inches larger than the craft stick square, as shown.

How do you make paper lanterns

Step 5.

Place the tissue paper square on a piece of wax paper.  Gently wet the tissue paper using a large brush. Carefully sweep the brush across the tissue paper, always going in the same direction.  It’s best not to drag the brush back over the wet tissue paper.

paper lantern making

Step 6.

Very gently paint some abstract designs on the wet tissue paper with watercolor paint. Work slowly and carefully to avoid ripping the paper.

Colorful paper lantern craft

Step 7.

Repeat Steps 4-6 to create (3) more painted squares of tissue paper.  Once dry, you will see beautiful, soft designs emerge due to the watery effect of the watercolors.

paper lantern

Step 8.

Apply glue around the edges of one of the Craft Stick squares.

kids craft paper lantern

Step 9.

Gently press the glue side down in the middle of a painted tissue paper square.

paper lantern pattern

Step 10.

Add craft glue around the edges of the tissue paper. Don’t use too much.

children's art activity paper lanterns

Step 11.

Using the large brush, very gently brush the glue around to cover all the edges of the tissue paper, as shown.

Paper lantern kids craft

Step 12.

Fold the left and right sides into the middle, and press gently to flatten.

Tissue paper paper lantern project

Step 13.

To finish the piece, fold the top and bottom pieces to the middle and gently flatten.

How to make paper lanterns kids craft activity

Step 14.

Repeat Steps 8-13 to finish 3 more pieces.


Step 15.

Glue the 4 pieces together to create a square as shown. Make sure the the sides where you folded over the tissue paper are all facing into the middle of the lantern.

Paper Lantern

Step 16.

Once dry, place an LED tea light inside the lantern to light up the painted designs. Using an LED light is a safe alternative to an actual candle light, with the same soft glow effect.

Further Discussion:

In New Mexico, luminarias, or paper lanterns, are placed outside during the Christmas season and are traditionally paper bags filled with sand and a candle. Many luminarias are set out in rows to make a light path. In China, paper lanterns are put out during festivals and carnivals. Children love the lanterns, which are shaped as circles or squares. Paper lanterns are popular in American decór, and can be seen in restaurants and homes to make guest feel welcome.

Fine Motor Sequin Christmas Tree
Sensory & Motor Candy Cane Printables
Foam Sequin Bangle
Sequin Igloo Art
Craft Stick Christmas Characters
Bottle Cap Magnets
Bottle Cap Advent Calendar
Bottle Cap Christmas Tree Ornament
Bottle Cap Santa
Bottle Cap Turkey
Bottle Cap Poppy Mosaic
How to Assemble the Boy Craft Extreme Rubber Band Blaster
Day of the Dead Clay Skull
Pottery Wheel Pumpkins
Glitter Glue Web & Pom Spider
Fall Stained Glass Plate
Paper Bag Pine Cone
Craft Stick Halloween Characters
Paper Bag Pom Pom Necklace
Paper Bag Scarecrow
Paper Bag Popcorn Costume
Paper Bag Leaf Lantern
Woven Paper Bag Basket of Apples
Paper Bag Sunflower
Word Wall Art
Wire Flower Headband
Craft Wire Dreamcatcher
Wire Bead Cross
Wire Bead Maze
Wire Photo Holder
Coffee Filter Owl
Recycled Jellyfish
Coffee Filter Flower Headband
Japanese Cherry Blossom Coffee Filter Fan
Coffee Filter Chromatography Experiment
Coffee Filter Parachute
Patriotic Coffee Filter Wreath
Firefly Art
Father’s Day Bunting Card
Abstract Art with Craft Sticks
Finger Paint Pointillism
Watercolor Salt Painting
3D Farm Scene
Thread Wrapped Dolls
Cupcake Liner Bouquet
Cupcake Liner Pinwheel
Cupcake Liner Rocket
Cupcake Liner Animal Bookmarks
Easter Glitter Art
Button Easter Eggs & Fuzzy Stick Basket
Button Flowers
Button Flower Headband
Button Crystal Dragonfly
Button Balloon Birthday Card
Button Birdhouse
Spring Melty Bead Shapes
Milk Carton Fairy Houses
Mini Hanging Planters
Leprechaun Trap