How to make a Chinese Lantern

Posted on January 1st, 2017

I love how national events are slowly becoming international events. When I was growing up I had never heard of Chinese New Year, for my children it is quite different, even in primary school there were crafts and Chinese food to mark the occasion. While we don’t celebrate Chinese New Year I like my children to be aware of different cultures and events and when they take place. A craft is a good way to do this. I decided it would be a fun to make a chinese lantern with the children at Coombe Mill. We had a little look at the pages about China in my lonely planet Kids cities of the world book, discussed Chinese symbols from my printable below and then set about making some Chinese Lanterns.   

How to make a Chinese Lantern

What you’ll need to make a Chinese Lantern

  • Toilet Roll

  • Scissors

  • Red Paint

  • Yellow or Gold Paint

  • Black or Gold Marker Pen

  • Yellow or Gold Floristry Ribbon
what you'll need for Chinese Lanterns


Method for making a Chinese Lantern

paint it redPaint your toilet roll red and put it aside to dry
Squash the toilet roll and cut a long thin strip from each side leaving a good cm untouched at the top and bottom cutting-the-lantern-holes
cutting the rest of the lantern holes Open your toilet roll and flatten again in a new place about 2 cm round from the first squish and cut another two strips along both sides. Repeat once or twice more until you have strips spaced around your toilet roll.
Now bend the toilet roll gently in half across the middle of the strips, open and push the toilet roll end to end to so the lantern shape pops out from the fold line. folding and squashing the lantern
Cutting the lantern handles Cut two thin strips from the end towards the centre (without cutting all the way through) and lift to form handles.
Cut a length of red, orange and yellow floristry ribbon and split them in half Creating the floristry ribbon candles
Cutting the Floristry Ribbon into Candle shapes Cut the ends of a half of each colour into a point matching a Candle flame
Split the remaining three halves in half again, curl with scissors and organise with the flame style floristry ribbon Floristry ribbon flame
Stapling the flame in the lantern Staple onto the lantern for a flame effect inside
Use Yellow / gold paint to accessorise your lantern Painting the decorations
Draw your decorations on Add Chinese symbols with a black or gold marker pen. (There are some simple symbols with happy greetings on the printable below)


Printable Chinese Symbols.

Chinese Symbols

A few alternatives you could try

  • Try yellow lanterns with red trim.

  • Add your lanterns onto a length of string or floristry ribbon to form lantern bunting

  • Hang your lanterns over fairy lights to create light up bunting.
  • Place on a saucer over a tea light for a table decoration (don’t add the pretend floristry ribbon flame for this option).

  • Add a little glue and glitter if required (or you could add this to the red paint when it is still wet.
A few extra ideas for the Chinese Lanterns


A Vlog tutorial on making a Chinese Lantern



Making a  Chinese Lantern in Activity Hour on the Farm


Making a chinese lantern for Chinese New Year at Coombe Mill Activity Hour

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or feel it is important for children to be aware of such events?

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