Making Paper Mache Lanterns

Paper mache lanterns are an easy and beautiful craft. This guide contains instructions for making your own paper mache lantern at home.
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July 17, 2008 Flag

These are easy and beautiful paper mache balloon lanterns. They work great as party decorations, house decorations, and out door lanterns for the summer time.

Material

Instructions

  1. Tear the tissue paper into strips (about 1 inch wide).
  2. Blow up your balloon to around the size you would like your lantern to be.
  3. Mix glue and water, 2 parts glue to one part water, it should be a milky consistency. Slide a piece of tissue paper in and out of the glue mixture. Tissue paper is delicate and will rip easily when it gets wet, try to keep it straight, not twisted, and place in on the balloon. Continue this with each piece of tissue paper until the balloon is well covered.
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  5. Let dry, you may want to put one more layer of tissue paper on it once the first has dried.
  6. Pop the balloon and cut the jagged edge off, cut this down far enough so the heat of the candle will have a place to escape out the top.
  7. Punch two holes in either side of the balloon.
  8. Make a hanger with copper wire or an old wire hanger. I twisted the wire to make a spiral which keeps the wire from falling off the lantern.
  9. Place a tea light in a glass candle holder then place that in the lantern. Or to be safe you could place a battery operated fake candle inside.

WARNING: Do not leave this candle unattended. This lantern is made off paper and is highly flammable. When you place the candle inside, feel around the lantern and make sure you can not feel heat on it, just coming out the top. Battery operated tea lights would work as well and be safer.

Comment On This PostWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
July 18, 20080 found this helpful

Cute, but so tippity, so flammable? you're right, keep it right with you. Bet the light looks nice through the tissue.

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July 21, 20080 found this helpful

They would make nice centerpieces at showers or weddings if you filled them with mints or nuts.

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July 23, 20080 found this helpful

This is a great way to keep my 2 and 4 year old entertained for an afternoon, and to make it easier to keep the paper from twisting and scrunching, drip some glue on the balloon, then lay down the piece of paper, then use your finger to smooth glue over the top. This is especially fun for kids who love to get messy! There are some many uses for this project, and the one we just made will hold my daughter's hair bows and clips!

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July 23, 20080 found this helpful

This is a great way to keep my 2 and 4 year old entertained for an afternoon, and to make it easier to keep the paper from twisting and scrunching, drip some glue on the balloon, then lay down the piece of paper, then use your finger to smooth glue over the top. This is especially fun for kids who love to get messy! There are som many uses for this project... and the one we just made will hold my daughter's hairbows and clips!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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July 23, 20080 found this helpful

This is a great way to keep my 2 and 4 year old entertained for an afternoon, and to make it easier to keep the paper from twisting and scrunching, drip some glue on the balloon, then lay down the piece of paper, then use your finger to smooth glue over the top. This is especially fun for kids who love to get messy! There are some many uses for this project... and the one we just made will hold my daughter's hair bows and clips!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
August 22, 20080 found this helpful

Very cute and inexpensive. Cool for a B-BQ outside at night. Or you can use smaller balloons and place scented candles inside to create a nice calm environment when kids are away for a bubble bath. Or make jack-o-lanterns for up-coming Halloween. xoxo

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December 20, 20090 found this helpful

I was very excited to make these for a solstice lantern walk with my six and four year old. This project turned into a huge nightmare! The tissue paper is very difficult for even an adult to work with, it very easily bunches up on itself once put in the solution. The kids didn't much like having glue on their hands and to tell you the truth I didn't either, it stung a little if you have any little cuts on your hands.

We finally managed or I should say I did because the kids lost interest in getting one layer on. I let it dry for a day and then tried popping the balloon. Well the paper stuck to the balloon and shrunk it right along with the balloon! Such disappointment! I gently worked the paper free from the other balloon and came out with a very flimsy lantern. I don't imagine that it will last beyond the lantern walk. This would require way more than one layer, I'm even doubtful that two would be sufficient. More than that and the light wouldn't shine through, so what's the point? Argh. We ended up painting jars and attaching the wire to them.

I did see some for sale at a shop with leaves embedded in them and hot glued twigs for a base. They looked lovely, I'm not sure what sort of paper was used but it couldn't have been tissue paper.

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May 12, 20150 found this helpful

I noticed that the contributor mentioned only 2 layers. And I am not surprised to hear that the paper lantern was flimsy. It takes an average of 7 layers to make it firm. And consider using tissue paper... you will need more. I teach art in an elementary school and the youngest that I have done this project with is second grade and because we only meet once a week for 50 minutes this will take at least 4 class times. My fifth graders created paper mache masks and it was at least 8 weeks and we used newspaper strips and then kraft paper or brown paper bags. You might switch between using newspaper and paper bags or kraft paper. I have in the past used a heavier paper for the first couple of layers and then switched to a heavier paper with a different color making it easier to know whether you have place enough layers on. I also had the balloons taped to a typical size metal can. I have never had the paper stick to the balloon...I made a pinata that I never popped the balloon and it lasted inside the pinata for years. This was one of my samples so we didn't use it. I have in the past couple of years used art paste but when our district didn't have the budget I was buying flour and adding Elmer's glue a bit along with the water to make a "pancake" like consistency. Wishing you the best in this adventure!

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