How to: Paper Lanterns | 3.12.15

On the never ending quest to find good ways to show off the excellent range of gift wrap that we stock in the shop I hit on the idea of making paper lanterns from the wrap to hang in the shop window. At least twice a day ever since I have placed them there . . . . some 3 weeks ago someone has come into the shop and asked if we are selling them. I tell them no, that they are there for display purposes only but that they are easy to make and that I am more than willing to sell them the gift wrap from which to make them. An eyebrow is raised they ask me how easy, I tell them very, they don’t believe me. So . . . . here’s a how to.

You need gift wrap, I’ve used two different designs so that there is a contrast between inner and outer but equally it would work with one design.

You also need . . . a cutting mat, a craft knife, some double sided tape, a metal ruler, a pair of scissors, and if you want to hang them at the end, some thread and a needle.


First cut the paper for the internal cylinder – don’t make them too large, or the paper will sag under its own weight. I cut this paper (Esme Winter Squares in dark blue) to 15cm wide by 24cm long.


You then need to cut the paper for the external part of the lantern (Black Bough star gift wrap in this case), this needs to be the same width as the internal paper (15cm) but slightly longer (in this instance by 4cm) – so 15cm x 28cm.


Then take the external paper and fold upward from each end by approx. 3-4cm. These will be the marker lines to which you then use the knife to cut lengthwise. The cutting mat comes in handy here as you can use the 1cm guidelines as I did.

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You then need to turn the internal paper into a cylinder place a line of double sided along the long side of the paper; tear of the strip and carefully fix it to the other long side to make a cylinder.

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Then use the double sided tape again on the external paper, along the end of the underside of each width.


Then remove the protective paper on the tape and carefully apply to one end of the internal cylinder; I find it easiest to follow the existing join on the cylinder as a starting point.


The external paper will then be attached to the internal roll at one end only.


Now carefully attach the other end of the external paper to the other end of the internal roll – as the external is longer than the internal paper this will mean that the cuts that have been made will allow the paper to splay. I tried to line the papers up so that they stayed square with each other but an off kilter alignment also works.

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You can leave your lantern like that and have it as a standing decoration or if you want to hang it, thread a needle stitch a loop at one end of the decoration from one side to the other and then attach another thread to this at the mid point to hang it.

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If this still sounds convoluted rest assured making this one took less than 10 minutes and that was with me photographing each stage.

Go forth and make paper lanterns. Good gift wrap available from . . . . Black Bough.