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The inspiration for this project comes from when the kids needed light up in their tree fort.  I thought about some hanging lanterns up in the tree, but it needed to be safe.  Flickering LED lights to the rescue!   This version of the lantern is more indoorsy.  The good news is that one forage through your recycling bin will yield you a whole roomful of lovely soft lights.

 
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Step 1: Supplies/Tools

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Supplies:
Scrap cardboard
Tape
Tissue paper
Flickering LED tea light (I got some from the local dollar store - super cheap!)

Tools:
Scissors
Xacto knife
Ruler
Glue gun/glue sticks

Optional stuff:
Wrapping paper (decorate it any which way you like, right?)
Thread, ribbon, string, or chain to hang the lanterns
Wire

Step 2: Cut the main body of the lantern

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You can go with oodles of designs for this project, but this one was pretty and pretty easy.  I cut my cardboard into a rectangle measuring 8" x 5.15" (it was random - I just cut the bad ends off a scrap box lid).

Step 3: Cut the vertical slits

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Using the Xacto knife, cut through the TOP layer of the cardboard.  I made them 1" apart, giving this lantern eight sides. Since the length was 8.5, that leaves us with a half-in overhang on one end.  This will be used to seamlessly attach the two edges together.  Cut the vertical slit down that last half-inch; cut off the top layer and the corrugated middle layer of the cardboard.  That will leave a half-inch tab along one end.

Step 4: Measure and cut the windows

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I selected every other vertical section to have a window.  They are 1.25" from one end and 1.75" from the other, making them just under 3" long.

Step 5: Add the screens to the windows

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Cut pieces of tissue paper slightly larger than the windows.  Glue them on the inside of the lantern.  I waited to paste the one by the tab until I assembled the lantern (next step).  It was just easier that way.

Step 6: Roll the lantern into an octagonal tube

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Hot glue or tape the ends of the cardboard together.  Cut away any of the tab that is showing.  I had to glue the last piece of tissue on using a Q-tip to spread the glue.

Step 7: Make the lid

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Cut a long thin strip to make the sides of the lid.  I went with .5" x 10".  When you cut the excess off, remember to leave some extra to make a tab like you did for the body of the lantern.

Holding one side firmly against one of the faces of the lantern, cut through the top layer of the cardboard so that you have a joint that follows the shape of the lantern.  Repeat with the other edges until you come full circle.

Next, cut an octagonal piece for the lid and join the two pieces.  I used a lighter weight cardboard for the top of the lid, so it had an ugly pattern all over it.  I used reflective silver duct tape to cover that (which also reflects the light).

Step 8: Make the bottom

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You will need a way to keep your LED candle from falling out, so now's a good time to add a bottom to your creation.  You will need about four stubby pieces of cardboard and another piece of octagonal cardboard.  Glue the stubby pieces up inside the bottom of the lantern.  Take the top off your lantern and slide the bottom in through the top.

[I wasn't very precise on this project and sometimes had to be very patient with getting the bottom to fit in there.  Having a pencil handy was a help in order to guide it into place]

Step 9: Ta - da!

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You're done!

Step 10: Variations

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Voila!  Safe, pretty, and pretty lighting!

Pretty fancy - using wrapping paper or cloth and a glue stick, you can dress these up in any fashion and style you like: seasonal, personalized, event-specific, or part of the everyday decor

Display - wire can be bent into a bow to hang the lanterns; several make a romantic setting.  Wire can also be fashioned into feet for standing on surfaces, rather than hanging.  On that note, they can sit on any surface as they are.  A mixture of hanging and standing lanterns looks really nice!
artworker4 years ago
Adding some solar panel, batteries and light sensitive switch will make it numero uno! Ofcourse you can not keep it unattended in the rain. Awesome project!
Lissastrata (author)  artworker4 years ago
That sounds good! I went with the little lights I happened to have on hand (I had a whole bag of them from a recent event). However, a solar panel would be pretty cool.

A more outdoorsy version was where I used disposable coffee cups in lieu of the cardboard. It is quicker, easier, and more rain tolerant.
sunshiine4 years ago
Very creative! Thanks for sharing your hard work and great fun!
Good looking project.
ChrysN4 years ago
Nice!