Home Décor: How to Make A Chinese Lantern

Happy Chinese Festival!

In ancient China, Red lanterns are popular, decorative items that Chinese people hung along the streets, in parks, in shops or in Chinese houses in celebration of the Lantern Festival or Chinese New Year. Some lanterns are commonly painted with Chinese arts and calligraphy motifs. There is no historical materials that records who invented these Chinese lanterns so it should just be the “Chinese people”. The lanterns appeared in the Western Han Dynasty. After paper was invented during the Eastern Han Dynasty, paper lanterns were invented. The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Lunar month and traditionally ends the Chinese New Year period. It was also quickly discovered that the lantern made an excellent flashlight or portable light.

Chinese red lanterns have a long history and became a well-known symbol of Chinatowns worldwide. They continue to be a means of artistic expression both in terms of functionality, design and decoration.

Lighting and appreciating lanterns is the main activity of the festival. It is also a way for Chinese people to pray that they will have a better and smooth future ahead.  Women who want to be pregnant would walk under a hanging lantern praying for a child.


(via greenbrideguide.com)

Chinese very often use red color paper lanterns because it corresponds with fire. For china men, it symbolizes good fortune and joy.  Red is found everywhere during Chinese New Year and other holidays and family gatherings.

Making your own Chinese lantern out of paper is quite simple and for sure they make great decorations for your home perfect for your kid’s bedroom, garden, Chinese New year or for parties.


 (via pinterest.com)

There are many ways to make a lantern. In this post, I will show you how to make a combination of red and gold Chinese lantern.

Here are 7 simple steps on how to make your own Chinese lantern.

What you will need:

  • Red and gold colored paper or Thin card (Wrapping paper works well too)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue, sticky tape or a stapler

Step 1

Fold the red paper in half or lengthwise.

This will make the body of your lantern. Make sure the upper length of your paper is connected to the bottom length of your paper. You can also make a sharp crease.

( via china-family-adventure.com)

Step 2

Cut strips crosswise. Cut from the folded edge towards the raw edge.

Do not cut lines very short because it won’t look very pretty.

  • Use the pencil and ruler to trace lines perpendicular to the folded side about ¾” apart and leaving ¾” at the top
  • Use the scissors to cut through the lines, this will form the bars in the middle of the lantern. Be careful to keep the strips connected and do not cut each strip off. 

Step 3

Roll the gold paper lengthwise to form a tube.

This will be the center of the lantern. Some people put firecracker inside the tube.

  • Secure the top and bottom portion of the tube with glue or tape.

Step 4

Open the red paper.

  • Match the red paper cut out with the gold tube at one end
  • Roll the red paper around the tube and secure with glue or tape. Make sure that the red paper is sealed properly and is correctly proportion with the tube. If you’re using glue to stick your lantern together, you might want to hold it in place with paper clips while the glue dries.

Step 5

After being glued.

  • Pressure from the upper and lower to the middle to let the folded part stand out and then tuck the red tube in to form a crease in the middle
  • Secure the red paper nicely along the edges of the tube with glue or tape.


Step 6

Cut any excess gold tube at the bottom or just leave it as part of the decoration.

  • You may cover it using another strip of colored paper if you desire. The handle needs to be long enough to curve over from one side of the top of your lantern to the other.

Step 7

You can use the excess gold strip to make the handle of your lantern or you can use other color that you desire.

  • Stick the handle across on the inside at the top of the lantern with glue or tape.

There you go! Now you’re ready to hang your very own Chinese lantern!

You can make many of them and string them together. Use a small piece of tape to keep them equal distance from one another.

So, this is the simple way of doing a paper Chinese lantern.  Hope this is useful for you.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!