Chinese New Year Lanterns

Chinese New Year Lanterns make great decorations and this time of the year, you see them popping up everywhere around town, the temples, the stores, homes, parks...

Chinese New Year Lanterns decorate a courtyard

Chinese lanterns come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors, although for Chinese New Year, the traditional red and gold balloon lantern is one of the most popular ones.

Here we show you how to make your own so you can decorate your home, your room, hang by entrances, place on tables, liven up the classroom!

There are some very simple steps and all you need is some paper and glue and a few other things you are likely to have at home to make this bright and cheery lantern and get in the holiday spirit!

Make this Chinese New Year Lantern

Make a Chinese New Year Lantern

There are only a few easy steps to these beautiful Chinese New Year paper lanterns:

Materials needed:

  • One sheet red paper
  • Two to three sheets gold paper
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Regular Scissors
  • Scissors with fun shape (optional)
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Stapler
Materials for Making Chinese New Year Lantern

Step 1:

  • Use the pencil and ruler to trace lines about 3/4" apart perpendicular and along the whole length of the red paper
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 1

Step 2:

  • Use the scissors to cut through the lines leaving approximately 1/2" at the top uncut
  • This will form the bars that will form the balloon of the lantern.
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 2

Step 3:

  • Use some tape to hold the bottom of the bars together
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 3

Step 4:

  • Using the fun-shape scissor, or the regular scissors if you don't have one, cut thin stripes of gold paper
  • Glue the trimmings to the lantern bars
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 4

Step 5:

  • Fold 1/2" at the top and bottom of the red paper
  • You can use the ruler and scissors to make a light crease so it folds easily
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 5

Step 6:

  • Take a gold sheet of paper
  • Apply glue to one of the sides
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 6

Step 7:

  • Roll the gold paper to form a tube, this will be the center of the lantern
  • Secure the ends with the glue
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 7

Step 8:

  • Roll the red paper over the gold tube
  • Match only one side of the red paper to one end of the gold tube and glue them together
  • You can secure it with a couple of staples just to make sure it won't come off, the other side stays loose
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 8

Step 9:

  • Match the other side leaving some of the gold tube visible and shaping the balloon of the lantern
  • Secure the remaining side with glue and a couple of staples if needed
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 9

Step 10:

  • Cut two stripes of gold paper 1/2" thick
  • Glue them to the top and bottom of the lantern (it covers all the tape, staples, etc.)
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 10

Step 11:

  • Cut any excess gold tube at the bottom if you will be placing the lantern on a table, or
  • Cut thin stripes at the bottom to form the fringe of the lantern if you will hang it
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 11

Step 12:

  • Make the handle with a strip of gold paper
  • Glue on both sides at the top
  • Ready!
Making   Chinese New Year Lanterns Step 12

You can try different variations and sizes:

More Chinese New Year Lanterns

You can cut one sheet of red paper in quarters and make up to four little ones, BUT remember not to use them in fours, four is a VERY BAD LUCK NUMBER, so either put them in pairs, or groups of three, or even better, make two sheets and get EIGHT LUCKY LANTERNS, eight is the lucky number for the Chinese as its pronounciation resembles the word for "wealth"!

Instead of the round balloon shape, you can try a smoother hurricane glass-like shape like this one:

Chinese New Year Lantern

To get this not-so-round shape, you skip Step 5, do not fold the top and bottom to get the softer look rather than the balloon look.

More Easy Chinese Crafts - Try these next!

May the New Year turn out to be a very special one for you and your family...
filling each day with peak of health...
abundance of happiness...
bountiful prosperity...
and Zen like serenity...

Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái!

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