If you have ever wondered if you could make your own paper balloon lanterns, the answer is yes. You can easily make your own with a few common supplies and add some festive lighting to your backyard. These are also a great idea for kids to carry along when they are walking in the evening with you. These lanterns can be as small or as large as you like and also whatever colour or pattern of colours you like.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Large bowl
- Crepe tissue strips
- Straight pin
- Needle nosed pliers
- Battery-operated light
Prepare for your project by getting a few things ready. Blow up your balloon to the size you like. Knot off the end with a string so that no air will escape while you are working on it and so you can hang it to dry later. Mix your flour and water in a 1:3 ratio, respectively, in a large bowl. Lay down three or four layers of newspaper on the work surface to collect any drippings.
Tear or cut crepe paper into 12-to-18-inch strips. Dip them into the flour mixture quickly and then drape them over the balloon. They will fall apart quickly after getting wet, so work quickly. Continue to add the strips until the whole balloon is covered with one layer of paper mache.
Cut two 12-inch sections of string. Dip them in the flour mixture. Loop them around so that both ends are on the side of the balloon with the loop facing towards the top of the lantern. Do this on both sides with both of the strings. These will form the handle for your lantern later.
Layer on more strips of crepe paper over the strings so that they are well covered with paper mache. When the paper mache dries, the string will be reinforced with the extra layers.
Hang up the wet lantern in a warm dry area where it can sit undisturbed for 48 hours. Alternatively, you can set it in a large paper cup upside down. Keep some dry newspaper under it to catch any drippings. It will need this time to dry thoroughly. If you try to work with it too early, it will collapse, so be patient.
Remove the balloon from whatever you were hanging it on and use a pin to pop the balloon. It will collapse within the lantern. Use a sharp pair of scrissors to carefully cut a 3-inch opening at the top of the lantern, being careful not to cut the string handles. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the ballon fragments from the inside.
Drop in a mini battery-operated light and your paper balloon lantern will be ready for use. See the Resources section below for the type of light to use. This type of lantern would not be suitable for a candle.
Tips and warnings
- Keep the lantern dry as it is not weatherproof.
- Do not hang the lantern from the handles until it is completely dry
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