How to Make a Paper Lantern Activity

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Updated on Jul 16, 2013

Practice the ancient art of paper folding and cutting and make these delicate paper pop-up lanterns. Your child will be able to experience this popular craft while creating either a self-standing paper lamp or, if made on a smaller scale, little compliments to a line of fairy lights. They'll look beautiful at a party!

What You Need:

  • Two sheets of paper per lantern
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape or stapler
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Optional: fairy lights

What You Do:

  1. Have your child fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise to create a long rectangle, then fold the rectangle in half. Keep the folded seam to the bottom.
  2. Help him measure a 1" to 2" space from the top of the paper and draw a line across the paper to mark the space. This will help him remember to not cut too far.
  3. Have him cut "free-hand" thin strips from the folded seam to the drawn line.
  4. After all of the strips are cut, have him carefully unfold the paper.
  5. He can roll the top and bottom of the paper to the width he likes and tape or staple it in place.
  6. Carefully expand the paper and set it on a table. 
  7. With the second sheet of paper, have him cut a strip to attach at the top to create a handle.

Helpful Tip:

Create eight paper lanterns on one 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper to size them for attaching to fairly lights with double stick tape. If you're going to add fairy lights to your paper lantern display, it's ideal that they have LED bulbs. If they're made with standard bulbs be careful that you don't leave the lights on too long so as not to create a fire hazard.