Displays with myriads of brightly lit red Chinese lanterns are strongly symbolic of a celebration, of happiness, and especially good luck.
Even if you haven’t been on a trip to China (yet), you can see them in every “China Town” and Chinese restaurant in cities around the world. You can see rows and rows of lanterns hanging along a street or above you in a restaurant. At other times you can see a lake or pond crowded with lit red lanterns all floating around. On special occasions the sky is filled with lightweight lanterns flying away into the night.
While the lantern displays in China are bigger, brighter, and more bountiful, there is no reason why you can’t have the fun of making some of your own Chinese lanterns.
What you need
Chinese lanterns are traditionally red, because the color is symbolic of good luck and prosperity. You can use plain paper, or card, A4 (or Letter) size.
What to do
Variation – a round lantern
To make your paper lantern more like the big round ones you see on display, you need to get rid of the fold across the middle.
Using a ruler and pencil to mark your lines first if you need to, make parallel cuts, about 1cm (½ inch) apart, starting from one of the long edges to within 2cm (1 inch) of the other edge.
Then use a strip of sticky tape to repair the cut edge.
As before, bring the edges around and glue to form a tube, and allow the slits to fall open. The lantern with be more ball-like than the simple version above.
Again, a variation is to include a gold or yellow tube in the middle.
String up rows of red lanterns, or a variety of colors, across a wall, doorway, porch, or even in your garden.
Small lanterns look lovely as a tree decoration.
Add extras to your lanterns such as tassels, or other trims, making each one different. You could put family names on them.
When you see Chinese lanterns in a public place they are all lit with bulbs or candles. When making your little lanterns out of paper at home, lighting them with candles is not really a good idea. However you could use strings of small LED bulbs. You can even get some that look like a lively flame.
Putting the gold or yellow tube inside your lantern helps with the illusion of being lit, simply for decoration.