Step One: Paint your paper lantern
Prepare your paper lantern by expanding it into a globe shape using the wire insert and paint it using acrylic paints. Take care not to press too hard with the paintbrush or to use paint that is too watered down because it may tear the tissue of your lantern. We used the horizontal wires as guidelines to paint blocks of color and stripes on my lanterns, but anything goes so feel free to splatter and swirl to your heart’s content! If you are feeling especially adventurous you could even try painting the inside so it shows through to the outside.
Step Two: Add your fabric pieces
Cut your fabric into pieces that you would like to add to your lantern. We had fabric with a rose pattern that was left over from another project so we used that and cut out the individual flower designs. There were some pretty little illustration designs on the fabric that seemed jealous of our attention to the roses, so we cut those out as well. If your fabric is more ‘abstract’ you could cut the fabric into shapes such as polka dots, stripes or even chevron. You can also use paper for this step, but it works best with a very thin tissue-like paper otherwise the paper tends to be too stiff and will stand away from the surface of your paper lantern.
Once you have everything cut out, coat the back of each piece with mod podge (or glue) and press it gently onto your lantern. You may also want to add a thin coat of mod podge over the front of each piece to keep all of the edges pressed nicely against the lantern. Keep gluing until all of your fabric pieces have a home on your lanterns or until all of your fingers are glued together.
Step Three: Embellish and trim
The final step is to add a tassel and other embellishments. Tie ribbons and lace to the bottom of your lantern so the wind has something to dance with. We tied ribbons directly onto the wire frame, but you could also suspend them farther down by tying them to fishing line. Add a single strand of small silk flowers if you are feeling romantic. If you are feeling fancy, glue a strip of sequins around your lantern or sprinkle lines of glue with glitter. Or some colored beads or tiny trinkets. Allow your fingers to thread little treasures onto your lanterns until that moment when you look at them and feel yourself smile… then you are done!
Hang your pretty lanterns from wide grosgrain ribbons, fishing line or white twinkle lights – they are not so particular about what they are paired with, so long as they can twirl and hang prettily for all to admire.