Star Lantern




This instructable is about making a Lantern in a star shape with using bamboo. This can be great for out door patios/lantern festivals or general outdoor decor that can bring nice light and colour to an area.

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Step 1: Getting Started

In these images you will see a variety of materials needed to help complete this lantern.

1) Flat bamboo
2) Round bamboo (this can be found at a gardening store)
3) White craft glue
4) cup/container for the glue
5) garden shears (cutting the bamboo)
6) glue gun
7) glue sticks
8) tissue paper (any colour/pattern you want! Be creative!)
9) Regular scissors
10) Exato knife/blade
11) small tart tin (about the size of a tea light)
12) tea light (can be found at IKEA in packages of 100)
13) Brush for applying the glue
14) Wire
15) Ruler
16) Pliers
17) A fun friend to make it with
**Note: the happy person in the background. Lanterns have that affect on people**

Step 2: Cutting Your Bamboo

To ensure that the shape of the lantern will be consistent the lengths of the pieces of flat bamboo must be the same, or at least very close in size.

I made each piece 25.5 inches long. But it is up to you how big or small you want your star to be. Play around.

Take the garden shears, flat bamboo and cut 10 pieces of the same length.

Step 3: Arranging the Pieces Into a Star

Now that you have cut your ten pieces of bamboo you are not going to arrange it as a star. Take 5 of your 10 pieces (the other 5 are for the other side of the star) and start laying them out like the images have shown. Have the grainy-light coloured side of the bamboo facing up.

TIP: Try to make it so the pieces of bamboo are alternating over/under. This will make the structure stronger if the strips are creating a kind of in and out weave. Hope the images make it clear.

Step 4: Hot Gluing

Next you hot glue the corners together. But ONLY the corners for the star shape.

TIP: don't worry about the over/under method in this step.

Step 5: Creating the Other Side

Next you repeat step 3. However to ensure that you get the exactly the same shape as the one you previously made you lay out the strips of bamboo on top of the already made star.

Glue the corners of the star that was just made together. But do not glue both stars together yet.

You glued the corners only at the point to allow the star to have some flexibility, this will help you make any adjustments that you this your star shape needs.

After being satisfied with both of the two stars you glue other intersecting points (hexagon in the middle) together with the glue gun (see images).

TIP: wait a few min to let the hot glue set up.

Step 6: Gluing Both Stars Together

Now after you have finished hot gluing both stars in other intersecting areas (where two pieces of bamboo touch) other than the corners. You are going to glue both corners of both stars together.

TIP: Wait a few min to let the hot glue set up.

Step 7: Tying Together the Corners With Wire

Even though we just put hot glue on the corners of both of the stars we are gong to further reinforce that connection by taking wire and wrapping it around ALL 5 adjoining corners.

Step 8: Going 3D

Now your ready to put the pegs in your star to make space in side/going 3D.

First, take the round bamboo and cut a length that would determine the depth of the lantern. In this example I chose to do 4 inches. I would recommend a size that is anywhere between 4 to 5.5 inches. You need 5 of these pieces.

Next, you stretch the star shapes into creating room for the peg. Test the stretchiness of the structure. You will see that it can take a lot more that you think. The pegs are going on the corners of the hexagon.

Put a dab of hot glue on the bottom of the area where you are to put the peg. And then a dab on the top of the peg. Place the peg in and hold it steady for a few seconds to make sure that it is stable.

TIP: I recommend that once you glue one peg in you do the OPPOSITE side/across from it to help create more immediate support.

Step 9: Creating the Platform for the Tea Light

Congratulations! You made it past the trickiest part.

Now you must create a platform for where the tea light will rest.

Take a scrap piece of the flat bamboo and measure it up against the inside of the star in between the back and the front. Then cut off the appropriate amount. From the center peg to where you want to place your platform is roughly 1 inch.

When you are done creating the platform you hot glue the tea light into the tart tin and then hot glue the bottom/sides of the tart tin to the bamboo platform.

TIP: Try your best to make it so the tea light lays flat as possible.

Step 10: Putting on a Hook/handle

Almost done creating the frame!

Now if you like you can add a handle/hook to the top of the lantern structure.

You take the wire from the middle and wrap it around the top corner with leaving an excess amount of wire on both ends. Next you take both ends of the wire and then twist them together. You are welcome to do other methods as well make it whatever length you find useful. The loop that I created in this example has roughly the radius of 3/4 inch.

Step 11: Papering the Lantern: Front and Back

This is the most fun part! Decorating and covering your star lantern. The colours of tissue paper are up to you and what other fun decorations you would like to add to your lantern.

1) The area that you wish to cover with glue (you don't need a lot )
TIP: try to make sure that the tissue paper is taught- this will make it look nicer/give it more strength.

2) Cut off the excess with scissors or exacto knife (whatever you prefer)

3) When you are done covering one complete side of the star, take your brush and go over it with a light layer of glue. At first this will make it more vulnerable to tearing however when it drys it will be much stronger.

Step 12: Papering the Lantern: Sides and Creating Vents

Papering the sides are not tricky, but you have to remember to leave two vents, one on either side of the top part of the star. Refer to images to further understand.

Step 13: Further Decorating and Material Exploration

After the papering it is up to you to further experiment and add to your lantern. I highly recommend further experimenting with both the bamboo, different paper, beads, sparkles, textiles etc. ANYTHING that you think might work nicely as a lantern.

I have included the finished picture of what the lantern that my co worker/friend made. It is decorated with sparkles and brightly coloured tissue paper cut into squares.

As well I have included an image of another lantern frame that is made out of the same flat bamboo to give an idea of other frame possibilities!

1 Person Made This Project!


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20 Discussions

A. M. Reid

9 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the tutorial! I'd like to link to this on my lantern-making website I've borrowed a picture if that's ok. If not, please tell me ASAP and I"ll take it down.

2 replies
KroftA. M. Reid

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

ps: Illuminares is a lantern festival that has been going on for 25 years in Vancouver. It is put on an arts non profit called Public Dreams. Here is the link

Take apart a bamboo slat blind or fencing for the slats and you can make it any size!


7 years ago on Introduction

I have recently completed an outdoor installation of my handmade bamboo star lanterns at the Art In Nature: The Nature Of Art Festival at Redwood Regional Park, Oakland Hills, CA. and I stumbled upon this website. This art craft is originally from Philippines. The star or "parol" in Filipino is pretty much a symbol of Christmas...a symbol of light that is hang in every home to make the coming of the Yuletide festive. Thank you!

Suniita' (LMM)

The Lumiere Ottawa festival has been doing workshops teaching kids how to make these for the festival for years now, I love how accessible this craft project is !  Its such a lovely event, I've been sponsored as an artist there for years now with The Playful Geometer's Cosmic SpaceCrafts.  They're not so easy for the average crafter to make so I decided to post a simpler paper-only polyhedral lantern instructable here: Quasicrystal Star Lantern.  Hope you enjoy :)


8 years ago on Introduction

great skills! Did you learn this from a Filipino? it looks so much exactly like the traditional Filipino Christmas lantern and how it's traditionally made. It's called Parol :)

its History --

this is their mutation now ----

Here's one from Disney's Family Fun craft site, which have been there all along: 

A. M. Reid

9 years ago on Introduction

Thank you for the use of the photo. I knew about Public Dreams but thanks for mentioning them - they've done great work!


9 years ago on Introduction

Has anyone been able to locate the 1/4" flat bamboo?

This is an excellent tutorial.  Very clear, and exactly what I was looking for!


10 years ago on Introduction

I really like your instructable... I think I'll try to make a big one for my window for X-mass.... I just know my sister who is pretty religious will call it a pentagram, but it's my At my local $ store they have fake/battery operated tea lights, think I'll use them... What is the shape of the last picture called... could you put up a drawing of it.. I think it's cool!!!

1 reply

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I am glad you will find it useful! Yes a big one for Christmas would be very pretty! If you paper over the bamboo thick enough it will look less like a pentagram? The lines from the bamboo will not show through as much. There are also fake tea lights that flicker like a real candle. Those could be a nice option for lighting. I will soon put up a drawing of how to make that lantern frame in the last picture that I have posted up. Or I might end up doing an instructable of how to make it. Only able to do what time can allow. Thanks for the interest!


10 years ago on Introduction

Its been 20 years since the last time I saw star lantern during Christmas, I will assume you are from Philippines.

1 reply

10 years ago on Introduction

This is a traditional Christmas decoration in the Philippines called a "Parol" (from the Spanish Farol, meaning lantern, or lamp). You beat me to it. I was going to make an instructable for this before Christmas this year.

1 reply