How to Make Chinese Lanterns

Different Kinds of Chinese New Year Lanterns to make

Making your own Chinese Lantern out of paper is easy and they make great decorations for your home, classroom, patio, bedroom... You can hang them or place them on a table, individually or in groups. This one is the easiest to make and all of the materials you are likely to have at home, all you need is some paper, scissors and glue.

Easy Chinese Paper Lantern

Bright red traditional Chinese lanterns are a staple of any Chinese celebration. You see them decorating temples and shrines, parks, stores, homes and offices, and of course, all over Chinatowns around the world.

Chinese lanterns come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. You can try your favorite color paper, we stick with red and gold, the traditional lucky colors for the Chinese.

Let's get started!

Make a Chinese Lantern in Six Easy Steps

Materials needed:

  • One sheet red paper, Letter size or A4
  • One sheet gold paper, Letter size or A4
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue
Materials for Making Chinese Paper Lantern

Step 1:

  • Fold the red paper in half
  • Use the pencil and ruler to trace lines perpendicular to the folded side about 3/4" apart and leaving 3/4" at the top
  • Use the scissors to cut through the lines, this will form the bars in the middle of the lantern.
Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern Step 1

Step 2:

  • Roll the gold paper lengthwise to form a tube, this will be the center of the lantern
  • Secure it with some glue
Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern Step 2

Step 3:

  • Open the red paper
  • Match the red paper cut out with the gold tube at one end
  • Secure with glue
Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern Step 3

Step 4:

  • Match the other side leaving some of the gold tube visible depending on how tall or short you want your lantern to be
  • Secure with glue
Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern Step 4

Step 5:

  • Cut any excess gold tube at the bottom
  • Or just leave it as part of the decoration
Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern Step 5

Step 6:

  • You can use the excess gold strip to make the handle
  • Glue on both sides at the top
  • Ready!
Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern Step 6


Once you have the basics, it's easy to try out some different variations, you can get really fancy here.

For example, you could add some gold trimings to the lantern bars.

Cut the trimmings slightly narrower, use regular or shape scissors if you have them. Just glue the trimmings before you glue the lantern to the gold tube:

Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern with gold trim
Making Easy  Chinese Paper Lantern with gold trim

We will try some different shapes and kinds, including the most common balloon red lantern, a square-shaped box lantern, and some delicate prism shaped ones which are great for hanging.

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