Lantern crafts for kids can include making lanterns that are for decorative purposes only, as well as ones that may be illuminated. Kids can decorate glass jars and tin cans to make candle lanterns that emit light from within. They may also enjoy creating paper lanterns as decorations for their rooms.
Glass Jar Lanterns
Paint any design on the outside of any size glass jar with glass paints, or glue colourful tissue paper around the circumference of the jar. A tea light inside the glass jar will illuminate the colours of the glass paint or the paper. Make a handle for the lantern by puncturing the lid with two side-by-side holes. Thread a strip of 22-gauge craft wire through the holes and twist the ends together to make a loop. Kids of all ages may enjoy this.
Soda Can Lanterns
Older kids may enjoy making an aluminium soda can lantern. Parents can also help by cutting the can, if the children are too young. The kids can decorate the can with acrylic paint before shaping the can into a lantern. Carve strips around the centre of the can using a craft or utility knife. Space the cuts every 1/2 inch around the circumference. Begin cutting the strips 1 inch below the top of the can and stop the cuts 1 inch above the bottom. The cut aluminium can be sharp, so wear gloves for safety. Press the top of the can down after all of the cuts are made and the soda can will collapse in the centre. The cut strips will protrude around the circumference. To insert a tea light candle, cut the base of two strips so you can separate them from the can to create an opening.
Chinese Paper Lanterns
Kids can make a row of Chinese paper lanterns using colourful construction paper, gift wrapping paper or scrapbook paper and scissors. These lanterns are not lit from within; they are for decorative purposes only. Fold a rectangular strip section of paper in half, lengthwise. Make cuts along the folded edge from the fold to within 1 inch of the top edge of the paper. Space the cuts every 1/2 to 1 inch along the fold. When you unfold the paper, the cuts create openings in the centre of the paper. Staple or tape the short edges of the paper together to create the lantern shape. Make a handle for the lantern with another 1-inch strip that fits across the top.