Thursday, August 16, 2012

Paper Lanterns (with LED lights)

Paper lanterns everywhere. These non-flammable, simply beautiful, versatile, paper lights, have been a staple in our summer entertaining --- scattered on dinner tables, added to picnic blankets, strung across the patio; they're even a excellent kid's craft: the kids have made night lights for their rooms.

After making "night lights" for Grayson's camping birthday, I just couldn't stop. My personal current favorite are the ones made of news print. They are just so fresh. See? You can hold light in the palm of your hand, if you use LED lights. Why not do these with your kids and paint each face of the pyramid a different color? Since they're lit with LED lights, they're non-flammable and don't require matches. How cool is that? This is how they are made: how-to below.















SUPPLIES
Paper: regular, transparent, news print, etc.
LED tea light candles
Scissors
Hole Punch
Scotch tape
Template (PDF TEMPLATE HERE)

HOW TO: 
1. Begin by either printing out the template, (PDF TEMPLATE HERE), on your desired colored paper OR print one template which you will use for tracings. I have one cardboard template ready at all times and like to have this handy. For a group of kids or party, having sheets already printed is a time saver.
2.  Cut the lantern shape out of desired paper. Above, we've used both colored and newspaper print.
3. Punch holes with hole punch.
4. Fold the corners up.
5. Using the longest piece of tape possible, place in on the INSIDE of the box and very, very carefully pull the opposite side up and seal tightly. You do not want light coming out of the edges, so take time to seal these well.
6. Carefully insert the LED candle.
7. Press to light when desired.
I hope these bring beauty tables and even, corners of your home! Enjoy. 

Pictured below is the metal "camper's bedlight" we made for Grayson's Camping Birthday Party:

Birthday camping night lights:
Supplies:
Sheet metal (craft store)
or use recycled metal, as we did. I went to our local sheet metal company. 

They gave me large metal sheets which are used in 4 color printing. I washed these up, being careful of edges. Sand if necessary. These made fantastic material to work with and added to the rustic feel I was looking for. Follow the same instructions, as above. Our regular paper hole punch worked on this thin metal but I wanted the kids to feel that they had created a "real" outdoor project so I had them do a little more. Under adult supervision, we watched them one at a time, punch further holes into the template with the point of a screw driver pointing into the metal and then, tapping it to create a hole with a hammer.

As a final touch, we thread wire through the top of the lights so that these could hang, as well. Not only were these a fun craft, but I strung them on a twine string, this summer and swung them across our patio one night for ambiance. This was how the idea of working with paper was born. This shape has provided so much inspiration!

SOMETHING YOU MIGHT LIKE

More pyramids: Bat Lanterns with new printable pyramid (not pictured)


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19 comments:

  1. They are gorgeous, thanks for including a printable too.

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    1. Have fun with these -- big and small. We absolutely love using them... I love can't stop imaging new color combinations. Thank you!

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  2. Saw these on CraftGawker - such a great idea and your photos are beautiful!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment! These really are so pretty. I had ignored LED lights until this project & desire some something different this summer, brought it all together.

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  3. Would it be possible to attach/hang these lamps onto a ceiling without falling off due to wind or shaky movements? And what materials would be suitable for such a purpose (i'm guessing metal). Awesome idea by the way!

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    1. Yes. You could thread these on string and knot them. I would make a insertion hole slightly smaller. I've made these both with paper and with metal. Good luck!

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  4. I have a huge idea: make them out of maps and hang them in the car for long road trips!! We have used sewing pins to hold small bits of ribbon to the roof of our car.

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  5. Interesting post! This is really an innovative idea to create paper lanterns at home. It is a good way to decorate your home in negligible cost. Also, we can save plenty of money which required to pay the electricity bills if we use bulbs and small led's, etc.

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  6. You idea about lanterns is awesome !! you are really a Genius.

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    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment -- you really make my day -- even if it's months later. I hope you've had the chance to make these! They're wonderful this time of the year, too!

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  7. Super Cute Idea! I am going to look for the led lights and we will be making these for our next get together. Also love your camp out Birthday party idea too! Thanks for the print out and such great instructions!! :)
    Buffy

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    1. I'm just seeing your mail now. Thank you so much. I hope these work for you and that's for taking back to memories of a fantastic birthday!

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  8. I love this but the new google docs system doesn't work well with iPads ;( Our laptop is in the shop (& will be there for a long time)... Oh well, I will do my best to re-create shape by eye! ;) Thank you for this lovely diy to share with the kids!

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    1. Hello Jennine, Thank you for you comment and I also appreciate hearing about this with google docs + ipad -- earlier, it's been the safest way to pass along a PDF file. I will look into this and change, when I have the time. Until then, I hope that you can simply download the file to print -- it's a template. Wishing you the best/ gina

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  9. Couldn't get the template to load completely, waited forever .

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    1. That's such a shame. I've just double checked the link and for me, it comes up quickly. Thank you for taking the time to let me know and hope it was temporary.. Here's the link just in case it's easier for you access directly: Best of luck!
      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2fRrPlmenwYQ2tudXNBNG9KaEE/edit?pli=1

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  10. My daughters and I are trying to make these as a test to see if we can use them for day camp this summer. I'm having trouble getting them taped together and am a little unclear on the directions. Can you provide any more detail or hints? I'm obviously not a natural crafter like your other commenters! :)

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    1. Laura, I'm so happy to hear from you and want these to work -- and to be fun + easy!

      I looked at this template and see that it was one where I used long pieces of tape internally and smoothed all edges together. We made both paper and metal versions of these and due to that I didn't want a "lip/tag" that we would have to fold.

      However, I have an idea: you can use the template I made for another project ("pumpkin box") -- instead. These have little lips or tags that might be easier to use if you are not a super-crafter! SO, just print and cut out this template and the lips/tags should make them easier to fold together. I really hope this works! Don't hesitate to get back to me if you have any other questions!

      http://www.willowday.com/2013/10/surprise-bonus-make-paper-pumpkins-with.html

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  11. So glad for this most recent suggestion with your pumpkin box printable - I too had trouble taping the sides internally, particularly because my hole puncher could only punch holes close to the edge, so it was hard to keep the tape narrow enough to not cover the holes, but also wide enough to make the edges stay together well, with these 'lips/tags' it would be a lot easer.....thanks!

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Thank you!