Making Paper Lanterns for Chinese New Year

chinese new year craft for kids

Making a paper lantern for Chinese New Year is a really simple and fun way to decorate your house for Chinese New Year. You can make miniature lanterns which are easy for kids to handle and can be attached to fairy lights to be lit up like real lanterns.

Chinese paper lanterns

The Lantern Festival, when beautiful lanterns are hung everywhere, is fifteen days after the beginning of Chinese New Year with the first full moon of the year.

It is traditionally a time to celebrate the light and warmth of the sun after Winter. Lanterns are hung everywhere in the streets and performers juggle, dance and parade through the streets.

Paper lanterns are really easy to make but usually cannot be lit using a candle because of the risk of the paper catching fire. These miniature paper lanterns can be appreciated just as much in the evening as they can during the day.

Make Paper lanterns with Kids

You’ll Need

Colored paper
Tape, or a stapler
Colored Cellophane (optional)

For miniature paper lanterns use rectangles of paper about 10cm/4in by 5cm/2in. For larger lanterns use A4 sized paper or similar. Trim a narrow strip of paper off the end of your rectangle. Put it aside as this will become the handle for your lantern later.

Fold the piece of paper in half, making a long, thin rectangle. Draw a faint line about 0.5cm/ 1/4 in in from the top (on the open end of the fold). This is where you will cut to, but not over the line!

Now make a series of cuts about 1cm/1/2in apart along the fold line. Be sure not to cut over the guide line or you will chop your lantern in half!!

Now unfold the paper and wrap your lantern around. Tape or staple the short edges of the paper together. 

If you are making a miniature paper lantern you can now place it over a globe and attach your strip of paper over the lights and stick/staple to hold it in place.

**Option- Before hanging your lanterns and adding their handles you can insert some cellophane to make their glow even more lovely. Simply cut a piece of cellophane the same size as your original lantern and make it into a cylinder so that it fits inside your lantern. Tape it into place and voila! A magical glow will now appear when you turn on the lights!

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