Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lantern Festival - Lantern Tutorial {Part 1 of 3}

We've started making our lanterns for the lantern festival on Sunday.

This would be the easiest lantern to make, and despite the enthusiasm I put into the others, I think this is my favorite.

Read more for the tutorial

To start off, you will need 6 paper squares of the same size. We used origami paper : 2 dark blue and 2 light blue for the body; 2 purple for the top and bottom.

Steps 1 & 2 are to determine the center point of your square: Fold you square in half diagonally one way, open it up, and fold the other half diagonally. Steps 3 & 4 - open your square and fold each corner into the center point. Do this with all six pieces of paper.

Now it's time to decorate your squares: the options are only limited to your imagination.

I thought papercutting would be fun (similar to cutting snowflakes) and is a bit of an ode to chinese papercutting. In order to cut designs, open your square, and refold your paper along the diagonal as in step 1. Fold this triangle along the fold line in half, which gives you a small triangle (see image 5). Cut shapes along the edge, again similar to snowflakes, but don't cut further than halfway along, although if you do this after step 4 than you'll have a fold line to see where to stop cutting.

You could also draw a design on the center square (see image 7), write chinese characters (printable sheet of characters found at the bottom of this post), or glue a cutout (many found at Activity Village)

Once your squares have been decorated, it's time to assemble. The four squares for the body of the lantern are glued together along by attaching the side flaps. Make sure your images are facing up and that you don't glue the wrong flap (and end up with some upside down images). Start with two squares, and attach all four side by side. Once that is done, attache the two end flaps to each other, forming a sort of cube (see image 11).

I forgot to photograph attaching the tops and bottoms, but you glue all four flaps of your bottom piece to the bottom flaps of your lantern body. Then repeat with top.

We glued a ribbon loop to the top of the lantern, and voila! Fairly simple, and cute.

Are you making lanterns for the festival? Leave a comment about how your family makes lanterns.

Read about the lantern festival here, and our other lanterns here and here, printable riddles, and glutinous rice balls in preparation for the festival.

You can find all our posts on Chinese New Year HERE

You can find more cultural activities at the Culture Swapper linkup:

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