Intro: Spooky Silhouette Lantern
The haunts of yesteryear meet modern techniques and equipment!
By taking advantage of modern shape cutting machines, I’ve been reinventing early century designs that allow a single piece of paper (by the design of the cuts) to produce both structure and original silhouette imagery. This particular lantern is created with two components (held by slot and tab) allowing it to break down flat for storage, yet offer sturdiness when in use.
The imagery on this lantern is new in a vintage-style (and by example might offer you a springboard of ideas to use the lantern frame for your own original imagery and/or modifications.
A note on machines - This project was first created with a mass market blade cutting machine (since returned to the manufacturer) because it could not handle the thin, yet dense, 2-ply museum board (and I felt those machines were generally buggy or inaccurate). I sent this material to a competing blade-machine company and was told it could not cut the material either. I have since put this and similar projects on temporary hold until such time as a better cutting method (such as a Zing) is available, (to create this and a sketchbook full of design ideas).
Gather the following materials - for this project you will need:
1 - Cutting Machine (laser cutter, blade cutter) or hand cut with Exacto (if you are skilled with a blade)
2 - The PDF patterns in Step 3 (for vector software or as a printed pattern)
3 - Black 2-ply acid free museum board (thin and durable, though you can vary your material choice)
4 - Crepe paper or vellum (to allow the light to shine through).
5 - Glue
6 - Scissors
8 - Ruler
9 - Battery operated LED light
Cut enough museum board (to safely contain within a wide margin) the two pieces of the lantern parts listed below. The image here shows the pieces before and after being cut into shape.
The two frame pieces will be:
Lantern frame (14” wide x 6-1/2” tall)
Bottom panel (3-1/2” wide x 4-1/4” tall)
And (in a later step) crepe or vellum will line the inside.
(For computer applications - I might recommend combining the two pattern files into one file depending on your software and/or machine capabilities).
Download the 2 PDF pattern files: lanterFrame.pdf and lanternBottom.pdf. Import the files into your cutting software and cut the lantern as it is has already been designed, and proceed to Step 4...
OR download lanternBottom.pdf with Empty-Frame-Pattern.pdf to make your own personal design &/or imagery changes in a vector software of your choosing, and then proceed to cut process...
NOTE ABOUT MACHINES: I have attempted this project with at least two mass market blade cutting machines (since returned due to mixed results cutting 2-ply matt board because of its density and thickness). I recommend at least a reliable and/or powerful blade cutting device, or laser cutter... or giving up some strength by using a less dense material.
And again if you are skilled with a blade (& may not have a machine) you might be able to print the overall pattern, then trace and cut your board material.
Once your pieces have been cut pop out any remaining small uncut pieces. (With a mass market blade cutting machine that may miss some cuts the Exacto is a must on this step).
Lightly score with an Exacto blade where the red lines appear in the the image (in other words that is between each panels, the tab, and between the upper curvatures). Fold all score lines of the frame.
Using the scissors or Exacto blade trim the crepe or vellum to fit the inside of the lantern form (shorter at the bottom to avoid the slots at the bottom); and this crepe or vellum material will then be glued into the frame. You will get better results if you bend the crepe/vellum along the same lines of the frame ahead of the glue process.
Lay the outside of the lantern face down, so that the inside is face upward. Apply glue lightly to larger areas of the inside of the black frame, then position crepe over the applied glue and allow to dry with weight holding this in place.
When glue has dried from previous step, fold in the left panel (tab side) and right panel toward the middle, so that when glued the right panel will overlay the tab.
Glue the tab and fold the frame flat, so that the right frame rests into position on the left tab. Hold the frame under weight as it dries to assure the frame will fold flat when in storage.
After glue has dried, you will have an effective box form. The bottom panel can then be put in or out of this box to hold the frame in place.
To insert the bottom panel, first insert one tab into a slot, and with a slight bending of the bottom panel, place the other tab into the open slot.
Insert a battery operated light for safest operation and enjoy the spooky 1920s style ambiance.