Tissue Paper Lantern Tutorial

Here is a little lantern to brighten the last days of winter.

I came up with this design after realizing the components that make up the kite paper window stars could be arranged in a different way to form a transparent vessel to hold a votive candle. Not having any kite paper handy, (or wanting to order it and wait for it to get here,) I thought I’d try gluing sheets of tissue paper together. It is a bit tricky when you are in the midst of working with the sticky, damp tissue paper, but press on, let it dry and all will be well.

Tacky glue
Tissue paper-not “bleeding art tissue”

Plastic bowl/lid to mix glue in
Soft paint brush
X-acto knife
Cutting mat
Before you begin, figure out a place to dry your glued up tissue paper- I set mine on the top rack of a wooden clothes drying rack. The paper is too fragile to hang from one edge, it needs to be draped somewhere, and this place might get a bit glue-y.

1. The tissue paper comes in an appealing rainbow order bundle. Choose two colors-I chose pink and peach.

2. Squeeze out a blob of glue into the plastic lid, I’d say a tablespoon. Add a bit of water and stir until the glue and water is smooth. You are after a thin, drippy mixture that will paint on easily-thinner is better than thicker here.

3. Smooth out one of the sheets of tissue paper onto your work surface. The surface will get a bit glue-y, which wipes off easily, but you should know this is a tad messy. I don’t think using newspaper underneath would work, I think the tissue paper would stick to it.

4. OK, now, using your soft brush, carefully paint all over the paper.

5. Line up the second piece of tissue paper and press it down. It will be very wrinkly and may even tear a tiny bit, just pat it down so there are no air bubbles. The paper also becomes translucent and fragile.

6. Peel the laminated tissue paper off your work surface, and place it on your drying surface. Let dry.
(Wipe off any glue on your work surface with a damp rag while it is still wet.)

7. When the tissue paper is completely dry, it will be wrinkly. Use your iron set to wool to press the tissue paper smooth.

8. Using the x-acto knife and ruler, cut out;  8 rectangles 2” x 3”, 8 rectangles 2” x 4” and one 2” x 8” rectangle. If you laminated full sheets of tissue paper, you will be able to make several lanterns.

9. Fold each of the 16 little rectangles in half length wise, and then open them.

10. Fold the top corners in to the middle fold.

11. Fold the sides of the point created in the last step in to the middle fold.

12. Fold the bottom edges of the rectangle in to the middle fold, and glue in place.

13. Now, take the 2” x 8” rectangle and fold down one long edge to make a ½” flap.

14. Fold the flap down to the single layer, crease, and open back up.

15. Apply glue to flap, and glue it down to the single layer part of the rectangle.

The part that is now 3 layers is the bottom.

16. Using your x-acto knife, make slits 1” apart in the single layer of tissue starting at the folded over flap. Don’t cut through the folded over part.

17. Fold each of the 1” flaps you’ve just cut to form a point by bringing the corners in to the center.

18. Take one of the 3” long folded rectangles, line up it’s long edge and the bottom with the edge and bottom of the tissue paper band and glue. Glue down the remaining 3” folded rectangles.

19. Take one of the 4” long folded rectangles, and instead of lining up the edges, center the folded rectangle between two points of the 3” folded rectangles and glue. Glue down the remaining 4” folded rectangles.

20. Shifting the 4” folded rectangles will have created “tabs” on each end. Roll the strip of folded rectangles glued to the tissue paper band into a cylinder with the smooth side facing in. Glue together.

21. Enjoy the illumination!

Here is a variation in yellow: