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How to make a paper lantern

Chinese Dragon

Chinese Dragon

© Metropolitan Museum of Art

    • Celebrations for Chinese New Year last for 15 days. The last day of the celebrations is the Lantern Festival. In Chinese it is called the Yuan Xiao Festival. It's celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.

      If you'd like to make your own paper lantern, here's how:

      You will need...
      •  Coloured paper or thin card (wrapping paper works well)
      •  Scissors
      •  Glue, sticky tape or a stapler
      •  Ruler

      a piece of yellow card
      Fold the paper lengthways...

      A piece of yellow card being folded
      ...and make a sharp crease in the folded edge with your fingertip.

      Use scissors to cut into the folded edge of the card, stopping about 2cm away from the opposite edge.
        
      Scissors cutting into folded yellow paper
      Make another cut in the same way about 2cm away from the first one, and repeat until you've made cuts all the way along the card, stopping about 2cm from the end.

      Scissors cutting yellow card
      Now unfold the card - it should look a bit like this.

      Yellow card with slits cut through the middle
      Roll the card around so the two short edges are together. Now you can see how your lantern will take shape.

      A chinese lantern starting to take shape
      If you're using glue, put glue down one of the short sides of the card - making sure the card is 'right' side up.
         
      Glue being applied to the edges of a piece of yellow card© Culture24
      Press the two short sides together firmly so the glue sticks - or if you're using sticky tape or staples, hold the sides together and fasten them in place.

      a hand holding the edges of a piece of yellow card
      If you're using glue to stick your lantern together, you might want to hold it in place with paper clips while the glue dries.
       
      A chinese lantern held together with paperclips
      To give your lantern a handle, cut a strip of card or paper about 2cm wide.

      Glue being attached to a pink strip of card
      The handle needs to be long enough to curve over from one side of the top of your lantern to the other.

      Stick the handle across the inside of the top of the lantern.
        
      A yellow Chinese lantern with a pink handle
       

      There you go - your very own Chinese lantern.

      You can make them all in sizes and colours - here we've made a red one, because red is a lucky colour in China. We've decorated it with gold glitter glue.

      A red chinese lantern decorated with gold glitter
      How about making loads and hanging them on a string across the room?

      All images copyright Culture24 unless otherwise stated.
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