Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hanging Paper Lantern / Luminary Tutorial

Paper lanterns or luminaries are simple and elegant, and are a great addition to parties and weddings, or as decorations around the home. You can make your own paper lantern with a few simple materials. Here is a tutorial for a small luminary, using one of my Halloween designs.

1. Paper. The paper I used is black cardstock and gold vellum. Cardstock comes in many colors and textures. The translucent vellum is what diffuses the light and makes the lantern glow. You can use any color vellum, just keep in mind what color your tea light is, as it will affect the look of the vellum.
2. X-acto knife with #11 blades.
3. Self-healing mat or cardboard to cut on.
4. Ruler for cutting straight lines.
5. Double sided tape or glue dots, double sided foam tape.
6. Battery operated tea light.
7. Ribbon.

You can refer to my tutorial for Cut Paper Silhouettes for ideas on finding a design and transferring it to paper.  For black cardstock, I would use the method of laying a print of the design on top of your cardstock, and cutting through both layers. Another method is to use transfer or carbon paper to trace the design onto the cardstock.

Measure the width of your tea light, then add a little extra space. This is the width of your bottom piece. I used a standard tea light, and made the bottom 2” wide. Then measure an equal distance on either side. I used an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper for the whole design, cut in half, so that the whole piece laid flat measures 11” x 4.25”.

Transfer your design onto the cardstock. To make a double sided lantern as shown, you will need to flip or reverse the design on the other side (like a mirror image). Make sure your design leaves enough of a border so that the cardstock will be sturdy. Too thin of border will make it weak once everything is cut out. On the top of each side, I added a small handle with a hole for ribbon to go through. This was added in the design, so it is all cut out of one piece of paper.

Cut the design out with your x-acto knife, on your self-healing mat. Make slow, small cuts, and make sure your blade is sharp. Since cardstock is thick, you may have to go over some lines more than once, especially any corners. Score lines to fold where you measured your bottom 2” area, and fold the sides up. The picture shows how it looks once the two sides are cut out, and the lines are scored.

Cut out two pieces of your vellum, slightly bigger than the opening of your design. Attach these inside using double sided tape or glue dots. Position your tea light on the bottom piece, and figure out where the on/off switch is. Cut a small hole in the bottom so that you can reach the switch. Attach the tea light to the bottom with double sided foam tape.

Attach the paper together at the top with tape or glue dots, and tie a ribbon or cord through the hole. Turn on the light and enjoy your creation! You can sit this on a table or hang it from the ribbon. Hang a row of lights in a darkened room to create a magical atmosphere!

The luminary pictured here is available in my Etsy store.

Arwen from Arwen Designs

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