Chinese paper lanterns are so easy to make. It’s one of our favorite crafts for Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival! In only 4 steps, you can quickly decorate your home or school with festive Chinese lanterns! Each lantern takes less than 1 minute to make!
We first learned how to make paper lanterns through reading our Chinese New Year Books, and my daughter was soon able make them independently!
For younger kids (like my son), I made a bilingual printable template so that the lines can guide cutting and folding. I’m happy to share the template with your family and school!
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Making lanterns for Chinese Lunar New Year
Many of my friends share that making paper lanterns is always a big hit at Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at school, church, and local communities.
The lantern craft seems to be versatile for a wide age range from preschool through elementary school!
However, when my daughter and I prepped these paper lanterns for her preschool last year, half of the class had trouble following the instructions.
Although it takes only 4 steps, a template with dotted and solid lines would have helped guide the struggling students.
I hope the DIY lantern templates can help your family or school celebrate important Chinese festivals!
What you need to make lantern craft
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- Bilingual paper lantern template
- Printer (we have this one)
- 8.5 x 11″ printer paper or card stock to use with template; construction or other paper of any size if not using template
- Scissors and/or paper cutter
- Cotton twine string
- Optional: stickers, gold paint pen, decorative washi tape (eg, sparkly, assorted)
How to make Chinese lanterns in 1 minute
- Cut bottom edge of paper (dotted line). This will be the future handle.
- Fold paper in half (solid line).
- Cut along dotted lines through both side of paper.
- Seal edges on both ends with tape
- Optional: decorate and hang as desired!
Extension activity: Counting paper lanterns
Here’s an adorable “DIY abacus” that my 3-year-old son loved because it was fun to slide across the mini lanterns!
To make the lantern abacus, we followed the same instructions as our nature leaf abacus to secure the string onto a piece of cardboard.
Please note that folding mini lanterns is more difficult than larger lanterns. For this reason, I didn’t create a template for the tiny size.
Once kids are comfortable cutting larger lanterns without a template, they can create lanterns of any size!
Have you made these Chinese paper lanterns?
If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s) and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!
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