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How to make a paper lantern

Celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year by making these easy Chinese lanterns with our free template!

How to make a paper lantern

The Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year) celebrates the start of the new year according to the traditional lunar calendar. It is marked by the first new moon between the 21st January and 20th February. This year, the Lunar New Year falls on the 12th February 2021, the Year of the Ox.

In partnership with Brother, we have designed this exclusive template for you to make your own traditional Chinese lanterns! Download the black and white template and use with your ScanNCut machine for quick and easy paper lanterns. We’ve sized them so that they fit onto one A4 sheet of paper for ease of use, but feel free to size them up if you would like to create bigger paper lanterns!

If a Brother ScanNCut is still on your wishlist, simply print out the other, red coloured template and cut out using a pair of scissors. Then, all you need to do is follow the latter part of the tutorial below. Of course, having a Brother ScanNCut makes this project a breeze, and allows you to whip up strings of paper lanterns in no time!

Once you’ve learnt how to make one paper lantern, why not make several and string them up? Add tassels of yellow or gold to hang underneath your lantern.

The tutorial below is easy to follow, and it should take around half an hour to make one of these lanterns. And if you like this project, why not have a look at some of our other projects, like this origami lampshade or this DIY paper clock made out of paper circles?

We love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to share your craft projects with us on Facebook and Twitter, too!

How to make a paper lantern


You Will Need

  • Template
  • ScanNCut
  • Brother cutting mat, standard or low tack
  • Card, red
  • Paper, gold
  • Thread, for the tassel
  • Pen, ink or paint, gold
  • Beads
  • Glue

Step 1

How to make a paper lantern - step 1

First, download and print your exclusive paper lantern template. If you have a Brother ScanNCut, print out the black and white version and scan it into your machine and select ‘Scan to Cut Data’. Make sure you have some red paper or card handy. The machine will run the template under the scanner and once it is finished, an image will appear on the screen.

If you would prefer the SVG file, click the link below! You can save it onto USB which you can plug into your ScanNCut machine, or you can import it into Canvas Workspace and send via wireless to your machine if you prefer.

Paper lantern – SVG file

Alternatively, if you don’t have any red paper or card or don’t want to dip into your stash, simply print out the colour version of the paper lantern template and stick this down onto your Low Tack or Standard Tack Adhesive Mat instead. Scan using the ScanNCut and select ‘Direct Cut’ on your ScanNCut machine to cut out the template. Now skip ahead to step 4.

If a ScanNCut is still on your wishlist, just print out the colour version, cut it out using a pair of scissors and skip ahead to step 5.

Step 2

How to make a paper lantern - step 2

Stick some red paper or card onto your Brother cutting mat. We’re using the Low Tack mat here, but the Standard Tack is better for card. Burnish the paper or card down well. We’re using the Dovecraft Premium Textured Cardstock from Trimcraft for this project.

We’re using the SDX1200, so make sure you’re using the right mat for your machine.

Buy it now: Dovecraft Premium Textured Cardstock, £19.99, Amazon

Step 3

How to make a paper lantern - step 3

Using the touchscreen on the ScanNCut, adjust the crop around the image to remove unwanted areas and press ‘OK’. Then select the picture of the ScanNCut to save the template to your machine’s memory. Now you have a paper lantern you can cut any time! Load your mat into your machine if you haven’t done so already, and instruct it to cut out your paper lantern.

Check out our video tutorial above to see how to retrieve a saved pattern from your machine!

Step 4

How to make a paper lantern - step 4

Once the machine has finished cutting, press the unload button on your machine to safely unload the mat. Carefully peel off the waste around the ‘flower’ to reveal your paper lantern!

Step 5

How to make a paper lantern - step 5

How to make a paper lantern - step 5a

Using a metallic gold paint marker pen, edge around the perimeter of your shape to add some detail. A pen with a thick nib is ideal (like a chisel nib) as this will ensure a nice, even line. If you don’t have a gold pen, you could use a yellow pen or even some gold paint.

Set aside and wait for the ink or paint to dry.

Buy it now: Staedtler Metallic Markers gold/silver (2 pack) £2.69, Amazon

Step 6

How to make a paper lantern - step 6

How to make a paper lantern - step 6a

While the ink is drying, let’s grab a tassel! You can make your own using some gold thread, or you can buy ready-made tassels.

Tie the tassel to a long loop and thread on a bead. Make sure the loop is long enough to go through the paper lantern with enough to hang the lantern up with. Tie a second bead onto the loop, approximately 2cm above the loose bead at the top of the tassel. This tied bead will create a ‘seat’ for the paper lantern, and also prevent the tassel from being pulled up.

Buy it now: Nuoshen gold tassels (100 pack) £6.99, Amazon

Dark brown beads (100 pack) £2.69, Amazon

Step 7

How to make a paper lantern - step 7

Thread the long loop at the top of the tassel through the hole at the bottom of your lantern. Then, thread it through the holes in each of the ‘petals’ one at a time. Use a needle to help if needed.

Step 8

How to make a paper lantern - step 8

Once you’re happy with the shape of your paper lantern, tie a third bead above the lantern. The tension of the thread running from the tied bead at the bottom, through the lantern to the tied bead at the top, will allow it to hold the ‘ball’ shape.

Step 9

How to make a paper lantern - step 9

How to make a paper lantern - step 9a

How to make a paper lantern - step 9b

Cut a strip of gold paper 2 x 8cm. Using your preferred adhesive (we used a Pritt Stick), glue this into a loop.

Cut a ‘fringe’ around one side of the loop, approximately 0.5cm deep. Fold the fringe inwards, and with the fringe side facing the bottom of the lantern, thread onto the tassel and up to the lantern. Carefully tease the fringe around to the back of the tied bead so that it sits flat on the lantern. Add a spot of glue to hold it in place (we’re using a glue dot). Here’s a top tip: the closer you trim the bits on your fringe, the ’rounder’ the gold loop will sit on the lantern.

And that’s it! Find somewhere to hang up your lantern, or make several and string them together.

Buy it now: Silver & Gold origami paper £3.58, Little Crafty Bugs

How to make a paper lantern - step 9c

How to make a paper lantern

How to make a paper lantern - portrait

Shop this project!

1. ScanNCut SDX1200

Buy now: Amazon (£629), (£699 £569), Create and Craft (£699)

ScanNCut SDX1200

2. SDX Low Tack Cutting Mat, 12×12″

Buy now: Amazon (£29.78), Create and Craft (£19.99)

SDX1200 low tack mat for the ScanNCut

3. Dovecraft Premium Textured Cardstock

Buy now: Amazon (£19.99)

Trimcraft 12 x 12 premium textured card

4. Staedtler metallic markers, gold and silver (2pk)

Buy now: Amazon (£2.69)

Staedtler metallic markers, gold and silver, Amazon

5. Nuoshen gold tassels (100 pack)

Buy now: Amazon (£6.99)

Nuoshen gold tassels, Amazon

6. Wooden beads (100 pack)

Buy now: Amazon (£2.69)

Wooden beads, Amazon

7. Gold origami paper (50 sheets in a pack)

Buy now: Little Crafty Things (£3.58)

Gold and silver origami paper, 15cm, Little Crafty Things

Photography by Holly Spanner