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How to make a paper lantern

Chinese Dragon

Chinese Dragon

© Metropolitan Museum of Art

    • The 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
      Now, here's what to do.

      1. Fold the paper lengthways...
      2. Make a sharp crease in the folded edge with your fingertip.
      3. Use scissors to cut into the folded edge of the card, stopping about 2cm away from the opposite edge.
      4. 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.
      The first 4 steps in making a paper lantern


      5. Now unfold the card - it should look a bit like the picture labelled 5.
      6. Roll the card around so the two short edges are together. Now you can see how your lantern will take shape.
      7. If you're using glue, put glue down one of the short sides of the card - making sure the card is 'right' side up.
      8. 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.

      Four more steps showing how to make a paper lantern
      9. 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.
      10. To give your lantern a handle, cut a strip of card or paper about 2cm wide. The handle needs to be long enough to curve over from one side of the top of your lantern to the other.
      11.Stick the handle across the inside of the top of the lantern.  
      12.There you go - your very own Chinese lantern.

      The final four steps in making a paper 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.


      How about making loads and hanging them on a string across the room?

      All images copyright Culture24 unless otherwise stated.
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