Balloon Lantern




Introduction: Balloon Lantern

This instructable teaches how to make a balloon lantern. This can be used for outside in your patio or make one for a lantern festival (such as Illuminares events in British Columbia!

Step 1: Materials and Set Up

In the picture shown is a variety of materials that you will need to help complete your lantern.
1) regular white glue
2) balloon (blown up)
3) glue gun
4) tea light
5) aluminum tart tin
6) thick string/hemp/cord
7) Tye wire
8) paint brush (to put the glue on)
9) scissors
10) tissue paper (you pick the colours!)
11) a strip of card board 12"x 5" connected together (opt.)

This can be a slightly messy process so make sure that you are wearing clothing that you don't mind getting glue on and cover the table with plastic and/or newspaper.

Step 2: Mixing the Glue

For better distribution of the glue and application it is best to add a bit of water to the white glue. Usually the ratio is 4:1 (4 parts glue, 1 part water).

Step 3: Blowing Up the Balloon

Take the balloon and blow it up. Then if you like you can place it in the cardboard stand (the strip of cardboard that is optional to tape together). This lifts the balloon off the table and makes it where you don't have to hold it while painting the glue on the balloon.

Step 4: Papering Balloon

Once you have covered the balloon in a medium-light layer of glue (you don't need tons on it). You can start taking whatever colour or pattern of tissue paper and start papering the balloon. You need to have 3 layers of tissue paper on the balloon.

Step 5: Adding the String

Once you have papered three layers onto the balloon then you then take the cord/string/hemp (which ever one you have) and wrap it around once the top area of the balloon. Then you paper overtop of the string, ensuring that is properly glued down to the balloon and secure.

Step 6: Leave to Dry

After all the papering is completed you need to leave your soon to be lantern to dry. Preferably leaving it hanging and not having the balloon touch anything around it would be preferred (it will be wet from the glue and may stick to things). Usually leaving it for a full 24 hours will ensure the shape of the lantern is best.

Step 7: After Drying

After the paper and glue has completely dried on the balloon you need to pop the balloon and take it out. More times than not the balloon comes out easily, however you may to work a bit harder to scrape it out.

Cut the excess paper where the string is to create a bigger whole and give you lantern a cleaner edge.

Step 8: Adding Your Candle

After you have cut a larger whole for your lantern you need to add the tea light.

Take a tea light and glue gun it to inside your aluminum tart tin. Then take it and glue gun it into the inside bottom area of the lantern.

Step 9: Adding Your Handle

A handle can be done in many ways with different materials, but in this case we are going to make a stiffer handle with wire.

Take a piece of tie wire and poke it through one side of the lantern close to the top so you have fold it over the edge. Then do the same for the other side.

Step 10: Lighting the Lantern

Now your pretty well done! All you have to do is test it out by lighting it!

Good job! Now you have a pretty hand made lantern!



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    28 Discussions

    Can this really be left outside?

    I'm decorating my outdoor fence with a bunch of these as we speak. Thank you millions for such a crafty, clever idea! :)

    We tried these today, but I smeared neat washing up liquid all over the balloon before sticking the paper to it, and had no problems 'peeling' the balloon out. Usually with papier macher I use vaseline to cover the mold with, but I was a bit put off using it with these, as it's petrol based!

    The kids and had fun tonight preparing these to use for a Memorial Day garden party this weekend.  We experimented with shaping the balloon using some twine tied around the middle and they look great! Thanks for posting.

    1 reply

     I am so glad you enjoyed making one! I like that idea of using some twine to create new shapes! I also did an other lantern instructable using bamboo if your interested in trying that one too.

    A few coats of clear acrylic spay from a craft store should offer some protection from a light rain. Just don't forget to puch a small drain hole in the bottom :-)

    this project seems fun...something that I can do with my daughter.....

    I see in the handle step that you can give the lamp a pretty good bend. Does it bounce back or does it have to be bent back into shape? They must be pretty tough too? Good idea for around the yard. Should I put holes to let the rain water drain also? Maybe a lid. Thanks bud.

    5 replies

    you don't have to bend the lamp at all. Your are only bending the wire (create an arc over the top). The lantern can be pretty tough, but that is depending on how many layers you put on the balloon. Three is a good amount, but I encourage you to experiment. Remember that it is only tissue paper and water soluble glue that is forming the shape so leaving it out in in the rain will most likely ruin it. As well you need to keep some kind of opening at the top for the heat/flame to have oxygen, plus for the heat to go somewhere, so creating a full covering over top of the lantern will possibly suffocate it.

    Maybe some resin or something over the paper after the glue dries. I don't think the ballon would take the resin bye it self. Will have to experiment as you mentioned. Thanks again.

    Or you could paint it with a clear paint. That would make it waterproof too.

    Great idea. I think I will make these only, make the opening smaller and use a string of white X-mas lights.

    Ya resin might work. But like you said do it over the paper after the glue dries.

    Fun and easy project, even for little ones, thank you!

    Instead of a real candle there are tiny fake tea lights that flicker and don't get hot. they might work. lovely idea!!

    I guess I'd worry about the tissue paper catching fire from the heat/flame... But it's very pretty!

    1 reply

    If you use a tea light and make sure that there is a proper opening at the top then it should be fine. :-)