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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Friday, February 22, 2013

Lantern Festival - Lantern Tutorial {Part 2 of 3}

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


This second lantern (see Part 1 for the first lantern) comes in large (above) taking six sheets of paper, for the lantern and inserts. The images and decorations are for all ages, however making the body for this lantern is more suitable for older kids and patient adults :).


The miniature version takes one page for the body, and one page with enough inserts for three lanterns.

I've created printable templates for both. Read through cutting and printing instructions on templates.

For the large lantern, print pages 1 & 2 twice, and page 3 once, on choice of colorful paper. I used cardstock. The inserts, found on pages  4 & 5 should be printed on white paper or similar, for contrast and light to shine through. Cut out pieces, cutting along solid lines.

Save the cardstock from the rectangle cut out for the insert, as this can be used later to close the bottom.

Decorate your inserts. You can print the ones I've supplied, or draw your own patterns. Lucky chinese symbols include fish, flowers, cranes, butterflies and bats. The zodiac animals could also be drawn.

I colored this in with permanent markers, and as I was getting ready to glue them to the body, noticed how the underside of the paper, with the marker showing through, looked like batik paint on silk. So I decided to go with that look (see image 2).


Glue your inserts inside the body, which is where you see the fold lines. {If you're thinking of using a battery operated "candle" insid the lantern, you may want to leave a panel without an insert, and have it facing the back.} Turn it over and draw or decorate a border around the edge of the insert. I didn't think of this until I had started assembling the lantern, and the process would be much easier with a flat surface.


Time to score and fold along the dashed lines of the upper and lower portions of the lantern (3). I highly recommend scoring if using cardstock, it makes for a much neater fold. Use a bonefolder, or the corner of a ruler, or the end of a knitting needle. Attach these portions to the body of the lantern. Then score and fold the body of the lantern (4). Glue the tabs of the upper and lower portions on both sections of the lantern. Then attach both portions together, finishing with the last to tabs of the upper and lower portions.

If using cardstock, a glue stick just isn't good enough for this lantern - you'll have to use tacky glue and wait for it to bond between steps.


I added a square at the top, through which I knotted some ribbon to hang it. To close off the bottom, espcially is using a "candle" inside, take that piece leftover from cutting out the insert part of the body.

Lantern (Large) Printable Template


For the miniature lanterns, print page 1 of the template onto colored paper, and page 2 onto white paper for inserts.

Cut out the lantern body along solid lines. Save one piece of paper from the insert cut out for top of lanter. Color in your inserts (or once again create your own), glue to the inside of the panels, decorate edges. Score and fold along all dash lines. Start by glueing the edge of the body, and then proceed with the tabs of the upper and lower sections. Glue the square to the top of lantern, attach ribbon.

If you're going to add a candle to these, you can keep one of the panels open (as with the large lantern) or shove (yes shove) the candle up the open base of the lantern.

Hang and enjoy!

Mini Lantern Printable Template

Are you making lanterns for the Chinese Lantern Festival? Leave us a comment, and share a link to see your pictures!

Learn about the lantern festival, make more lanterns (here and here), print riddles, and taste glutinous rice balls in preparation for the festival.

You can find all our posts on Chinese New Year HERE

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