Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Hindu holiday which celebrates illumination over darkness. A highly anticipated and much loved time of year, Diwali is always marked by a festival atmosphere and many decorations adorning homes and public streets. One of the most popular decorations is the paper lantern. Make your holiday especially bright by learning how to make your own Diwali paper lantern.
Start to make a beautiful paper lantern for Diwali by laying out three sheets of A4 paper end to end to form one long sheet. Once you have the papers in place, tape or glue them together. Then fold the entire sheet in half lengthwise.
Colour the paper using coloured markers or paint. Keep in mind that the colour should appear at the top of the paper, near the fold. Decorate the paper in a solid colour, or design a pattern using multiple colours, if you wish. Allow the paper to dry completely before proceeding.
Fold the coloured paper as though you were making a paper fan--accordion style. Tuck the first fold over at 1-inch and then make the second fold the opposite way, making sure to crease each fold well. This will create two sides of folded paper for your Diwali lantern.
Pull the papers apart carefully to separate them. Don't unfold the entire lantern, just start at one end and slowly separate the two layers.
Refold each side of paper separately by following the same creased folds. The result should look like two separate folded paper fans forming a V shape, but connected at the bottom. Press down on each one to make sure they both retain their folded shape.
Thread a sewing needle twice to make a sturdy double thread. Starting at one end, push the needle through the edge of each fold while leaving half an inch of thread on each side. Then do the same on the opposite end. Finally, tie off the threads on each end, still leaving the extra thread on each side.
Reveal the paper lantern by gently pulling out the folded edges of paper, which will result in the entire thing unfolding in a circle. Note that if there is a large gap in the center, you can remedy this by tightening up the threads a bit.
Enjoy your Diwali paper lantern by displaying it with a coloured light or small flashlight inside. You might also want to make several paper lanterns and string them together for a festive look.
In India, paper lanterns made for Diwali are known as "Kandeels."
While the process is quite simple, it does take a fair amount of dexterity to make a paper lantern. The effort is well worth it, however. Never use a real candle to illuminate a paper lantern.