Paper Tea Light Lantern




Introduction: Paper Tea Light Lantern

This paper lantern is decorated with filigree butterflies and paper flowers. 2 tealights are used for illumination.

Step 1: Assemble Supplies


  • 7 or 8 sheets of 8.5X11 inch paper of 65lb or higher weight (additional paper for floral decorations)

I used 70lb double color Astrobrights paper that I found at Staples for $10.99. This 80 sheet package contains 16 sheets of 5 different color combinations.

  • Additional paper for leaves and flowers. Any weight will do.
  • Glue

I like the 3-in-1 from Beacon. It sticks quickly, but still allows for repositioning
(if done fairly soon after gluing.) Available in craft stores, Job Lot, and I’ve even seen it at the local Dollar Tree.

  • 1 or 2 battery powered tea lights. I thought this taller one would look good in the bottom of the lantern. The short one (optional) shines down from the top to add additional illumination. These are available in craft stores, Christmas Tree shop, and the short candles can be found at the local Dollar Tree (package of 2 for $1)


  • The provided template files and a printer
  • Cutting supplies scissors, knife,

o optional - paper trimmer –use it to cut the outer ribs

o optional - Die Cutter – like a Silhouette or Cricut. Upload the attached .SVG file to your cutter software.

  • A couple of elastic bands and a couple of clothespins (or paper clips) may come in handy
  • Templates (3 .SVG files attached)

Step 2: Print Out the First 2 Templates ​LanternRib and Lanternbase

If you plan on using a cutter; first, open the .SVG files in a Draw program (like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator) and strip out the text. You won’t be cutting out the text, and having it in the file will increase the time needed to upload them.) Save and upload into your machine’s software. In that software change all cyan colored lines to be score lines.

Separate out all the pieces and cut them out of your card stock. Cyan colored lines on the templates mark scoring lines. Don’t cut these, as some get folded and others are just guidelines.

You can use a paper cutter to cut the 8 outer ribs and additional handle. Strip measures ½ inch by 10.5 inches.

If hand cutting, use a knife to remove the pattern from inside the butterfly wings, or just cut the perimeter and stencil in the details.

Step 3: Cut Out All of the Parts.

2 bases –solid circles with the location of the candle holder and rib locations marked with score lines,

2 tops – donut shaped circles,

1 candle base –smallest circle

4 long fringe edged rectangles -2 each for base and top of lantern collars

1 short fringe edged candle collar

8 strips for ribs with 1 additional for handle

8 rib supports

12 butterflies

1 “sunburst shape” with center hole for optional top candle

Step 4: Assembly of the Base and Top

Glue together 2 of the long strips to create a rectangle long enough to wrap around the base circle to create base collar. Also, glue together the other 2 for the top collar. Fold the fringe over.

Apply glue to outer edge of 1 of the base circles, and carefully attach the fringe of the collar.

When you get all the way around, trim off any excess fringe, and secure flap.

Finish the base by gluing on the other base circle.

Step 5: Make the Bottom Candle Holder

Place an elastic around the candle. This will prevent the completed candle holder from being too snug. Hold the tealight candle base on the bottom of the tealight. Place glue on perimeter and attach the tealight collar.

Remove the tealight and glue the holder to the inside center of the base. You can remove the elastic from the tealight.

Step 6: Lantern Top

Glue the second fringe strip to the top donut-like circle. (do not put 2nd donut shape on it until optional 2 tealight holder is added.)

Fold the top tealight holder (starburst shape) by folding up at the intersection of the ray with the circle, and creasing down at the score lines.

Place short tealight into holder so that the flame passes through the small center hole. Temporally secure with an elastic

Step 7: Secure Top Tealight Holder

Drop tealight holder into the top collar assembly and glue. Remove the tealight and trim any excess

Then glue on remaining top circle to create the finished look. (not shown)

Step 8: Attaching the Ribs

Crease 1 end of each of the rib strips at the score line to make gluing surface.

Apply glue and fasten to the inside of the base collar. Line the center of the rib on 1 of the score lines marked on base.

Continue adding rib strips until all 8 are in place. Crease the ribs where they hit the edge of the collar.

Step 9: Attaching Inner Ribs

Crease the ends of the inner rib at the score lines to create gluing flaps. Apply glue to the bottom of 1 flap and to the outer curve of the inner rib.

Paste into the inside of the base and up along the center of 1 rib.

Continue until all 8 ribs are complete.

Step 10: Attach Top Collar

If you used a paper cutter to create the strips for the ribs, and left them at 11inches, you will need to trim off the excess at the score point of the inner rib.

Put glue on the flap of the inner rib and on the outside surface of outer rib and adhere to inside of top collar. Use the score marks on the “donut” as guidelines for placement.

Continue all around until all ribs are secure.

Step 11: Add Handle. Lantern Is Assembled!

Add the 9th strip over the top for a handle.

Step 12: Make the RickRack Trim

Cut out the “rickrack” - the swirly strip outlined in dark blue on the LanternRIB file. You will need 16 of these strips to decorate the ribs, plus 2 more for the handle. If NOT using the “double color” paper, then you will need 8/9 of each of 2 colors.

The strips will wrap around each other. See RickRack.mp4

Trim 1 end of rickrack square across bottom. Glue to the rib be sure to line up this edge with the edge of the collar, and trim to length at other end. Do this for all 8 ribs, and the handle.

Step 13: Add the Butterflies

Fold back the butterfly wings where they abut the body. Put glue on center of body and attach to the ribs. Place 1st butterfly at the ½ way point, skip a rib and place next in same position. Repeat til you have 4 butterflies attached. Now on the empty ribs place 2 butterflies. First will be about ½ way between rib center and rib top. Place the second between rib center and rib bottom.

Step 14: Floral Details

Coil the flowers by starting at the outer part of the swirl, winding them around a bamboo skewer, toothpick, or quilling tool. Place a generous amount of glue on the center and hold the coiled petals on it. When dry, use the skewer (or other) to put a little curl on the edges of the petals.

Cut 4 leaf bases out of green paper and score on cyan lines. Cut additional leaves out of 2 different green papers.

Glue flowers onto the leaf base. Add a few additional leaves.

Secure the bottom of the leaf base to the bottom edge of lantern, and run a small amount of glue up the center back of leaf base. Attach this onto a rib that has only 1 butterfly. Repeat 3 more times.

Add a few flowers to the top of the lantern. Put tealights in top and bottom. Hang up and enjoy!

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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is so beautiful! Thank you for such a great Instructable!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! had fun making it.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you!


    2 years ago

    crazy amazing!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you!