Introduction: Making a Fun Paper Lantern With the Silhouette Cutting Machine

About: Huur... derrr.

So here we go again with another Silhouette Instructable. What an amazing machine! This time I made a cool paper lantern, perfect for party decorations or cool accent lighting.

This project uses a piece of black construction paper. A piece of vellum paper, a glue stick, some clear tape, a bamboo skewer, two color changing LEDs and a 3v CR2032 button cell battery.

Step 1: Preparing the Image

This design is a 3D unicursal, or single, continuous path, maze. The path covers each face of the cube and returns to the starting point. The design consists of the same pattern, or it's mirror image, on each side of the cube, with slight modifications to make the path continuous.

I laid the image out in image editing software then imported it into the Silhouette Studio software to create the cut file.

Step 2: Cutting the Pieces

I ran the black paper through the Silhouette machine first. When it was cut I weeded the 'path' carefully. With the waste removed from the inside of the image, I removed the outside waste as well, leaving the pattern for the cube stuck to the cutting mat. I set the outside piece aside to use in the next step.

If I tried to peel the cube pattern from the cutting mat it would be very difficult and it wouldn't hold it's shape very well. I left it on the cutting mat so I could paste some vellum paper to it. This does two things- it stabilizes the pattern and diffuses the light from the LEDs I'll add later. If I had an extra cutting mat I'd cut a piece of vellum to fit, But I don't so I used the outside waste piece from the black layer as a guide to cut the vellum.

Step 3: Assembling the Cube

With both paper layers cut it was time to attach them. I used glue stick to carefully cover the entire black layer. I carefully aligned the vellum to the black maze pattern and smoothed it down with an old credit card. I left the two layers on the cutting mat and put them under a stack of magazines to dry.

When the pieces were dry I removed them from the magazine stack. I used the hobby knife and the credit card to carefully remove the paper layers from the cutting mat. I laid the piece out flat with the vellum side facing up. This will be the inside of the cube. I used a steel ruler and the credit card to crease the folds of the cube and the tabs. After the cube was creased, the vellum was hanging over the black paper in a few spots. I used the steel ruler and the hobby knife to very carefully trim the vellum without cutting the black paper.

When everything was trimmed and creased I assembled the cube with tape on the inside. I left the last side open to allow me to install the lights.

Step 4: Let There Be Light

The lighting I used for this project is super easy. I used two color changing LEDs, a CR2032 3v button cell battery, a bamboo skewer and some clear tape.

I trimmed the bamboo skewer into two pieces that fit diagonally inside the cube. I taped the battery to the center of one skewer peice, then taped the other one on as a cross piece. I tested to make sure it would fit inside the cube. When I was satisfied with the fit it was time to install the LEDs. They simply slide under the tape and skewers to make contact with both sides of the battery. If the LED doesn't work, flip it over and reinstall it. If it lights up then it works.

Slide the bamboo LED holder into the cube and close it with a few thin strips of clear tape from the outside. That's it- really simple. This is perfect for party lighting. Make several and install the LEDs and batteries right before your guests arrive. You could make it a bit fancier. Make multiple cubes and cut a small hole is one corner to slide over a string of LED holiday lights. This project could be scaled up to make a more permanent lamp, too. Have fun and let there be light!

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