Introduction: Laser Cut Paper Lantern
I designed this lantern to be laser cut from heavy paper, I use 160gsm which is twice the weight of office copier paper. The lantern is intended for use with an LED tea light and isn't safe for use with wax candles or other naked flame.
To make this lantern you will need access to a laser cutter. The materials you will need are:
- Two sheets of heavy paper (A4 or US Letter), weight around 160gsm, twice the weight of office copier paper.
- One sheet of vellum or tracing paper (A4 or US Letter). One sheet will glaze two lanterns.
- One LED tea light.
- Laser cutter files for the project.
- Laser cutter.
- Scissors or craft knife to cut the glazing.
- Glue stick.
Step 1: Laser Cutting
I won't give a full tutorial on laser cutting here as there is an excellent one on the Instructables web site. I will give a few tips for laser cutting paper:
It is well worth spending a little time making test cuts to find how much power is needed. Cutting with much more power than is needed may lead to more smoke staining. Cut on a honeycomb table to minimise smoke stains.
I don’t recommend attempting to laser cut the vellum glazing. The vellum curls from the heat of the laser and may catch on the cutter’s moving parts. Instead, print the glazing PDF file on to the vellum as a guide for cutting with scissors or craft knife.
The underside of the laser cut parts is likely to be stained with smoke from cutting. Arrange for
the stained side to be inside where it won’t be visible.
The lantern will go together a lot more easily if all the folds are pre-folded and the parts then laid flat again. Some folds will be easier to start if the fold is made over an edge. I use the edge of my cutting board.
Step 2: Glazing and Assembling the Outer
Glue a rectangle of vellum glazing to the inside of each of the windows in the lantern outer. Lay the lantern outer aside for a few minutes to allow the glue to dry.
Glue the long tab to the opposite side. Put the glue on the outside of the tab. Press to make a good glue join and leave to dry for a few minutes.
Step 3: Assembling the Inner
Pre-fold the lantern and lay flat again. Glue the long tab to the opposite side. Put the glue on the outside of the tab. Press to make a good glue join and leave to dry for a few minutes.
Fold the bottom ends in the order shown. The end with the wide tab goes last. For the top, the procedure is the same. The end with the hanging hole goes first, the end with the wide tab goes last.
Step 4: Final Assembly
Fold the tea light retainer and slide it into position in the base of the lantern inner. Switch on the tea light, sit in the retainer and slide the outer over the inner.