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How To Make A Chinese Lantern From Recycled Materials


If you're looking for simple and easy steps in pursuing how to make a Chinese lantern for kids to parade in the coming Mid Autumn Festival, look no further. Here, we have everything that fits your need. Made from recycled materials, offered with step by step instructions, it is simple yet stylish and ultimately we didn't spend a single cent to make this adorable Chinese lantern. 
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In the past, a simple folded paper lantern cost only one or two bucks but  things change a lots these days. Alas, these old fashioned lanterns are no longer popular, instead they are replaced by some trendy themes such as Angry Birds. If you're reluctantly to let go the tradition, make a paper lantern yourself. Craft Chinese lantern is not as hard as one would imagine. Crafting these lanterns not only bring the artist in you but you can also customize using objects/paints from your home, truly special if you're building it with your kids!

One day when I went to pick Austin up from school, I was informed that they would be organizing a hand-crafted lantern contest. As long as the lantern was the creation of a child and his parents, we could hand it in. Though it was not compulsory to participate but what made us pursing it was the fun factor! It had been some time since I put this favorite subject aside. Sounds like a great chance to get back in touch at the same time getting Austin to explore arts and crafts at home!

Ready to rock and roll and see how to make a Chinese lantern?

Materials - What We Used:
1. An empty box - used to box a bag of soy powder.
Dimension: 13.5 cm (l) X 20 cm (h) X 7 cm (d).
You can also use cereal box, food box or any soft boxes that is easy to bend and fold.
2. A pair of scissors.
3. A sharp knife.
4. Pencil & Shapers.
5. Puncher.
6. Colorful printed papers e.g. flyers/leaflets in your snail mailbox, old red envelopes (Hong Bao).
7. Translucent or transparent plastic sheet.
8. Stapler.
9. Tapioca powder & Hot Water - Glue
10. Candle.
11. Ribbon ~ 20 cm.
12. Bamboo chopsticks.
13. Thin wire ~ 10 cm.

What We Did?
1. Instead of the original shape at which is a cuboid, turn it to a hexagon!
On the largest face (13.5 cm X 20 cm), fold evenly to create two faces. Repeat similarly on the opposite face.

2. Using blocks or free hand, draw shapes that kids love e.g. star, moon, triangle, rectangle, whale, seahorse etc. I was aided by Austin's toy blocks and wooden puzzles.

3. Use a sharp knife, cut out the shapes.
Tips: When you're doing this, make sure you slide in between your hexagonal box a wooden board or a stack of old newspaper otherwise, you may make cut on the surface that overlaps behind.

4. Using a used translucent plastic sheet (from flower bouquets), staple surrounded the inner hexagon.

5. Scoop about 3 tbsp tapioca flour and add 150 ml hot water. Stir well. Then, steam for 10 minutes or until it turns transparent and sticky at which glue is formed. We kept our worries at bay, without using the commercial glues.

6. Grab used Hong Bao (Chinese New Year's red envelopes) or colorful flyers and leaflets, trim out any shapes under the sun. At this stage, Austin had contributed the most. With a homemade glue and paper bits, Austin messed with the lantern, sticking them anywhere he fancied! Our aim was to get rid of the not-so-nice prints on the box and eventually we managed to do it.

7. Trim the upper hexagon to create two ears for the lantern. Punch a hole each on the ears. Using ribbon, tie it to a bamboo chopsticks to make a handle.

8. We finally reached the most tricky part - LED or candle lit lantern? For safety reason, Austin is going to parade with a bulb however for this assignment, we decided to go ahead with a candle - to be nostalgic!

Using a hard plastic plate, cut 1-cm slits on a cross to insert a birthday candle. To make the candle stands sturdily, I coiled a thin wire around the candle a quarter from the bottom and tied them on the plastic plate.

9. Seal up the bottom ears. Then staple the plastic plate on it.

10. Ta-da! This our humble homemade lantern!

We plan to re-run this lantern making tradition for years to come. As Austin gets older, perhaps it would be great to get him paint the lantern instead of sticking paper bits. Or design with all kind of stylish shapes of his choices. Learning how to build a Chinese lantern from recycled materials not only gave us a sense of accomplishment, we also spent quality time together!!

To our surprise, this design bagged a prize under Child Involvement Category!

Last Updated (Monday, 01 October 2012 10:59)