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Create Your Own Lantern Festival: A Beautiful Art Project

How to make lanterns

Make beautiful lanterns like this at home!

How to Make a Lantern at Home!

Travel makes me think of lights: glittering, romantic displays of lights like the ones I saw at holiday festivals in Italy, or night markets in Thailand.

“Why,” I’ve been wondering since returning to Boston after traveling around the world, “do gorgeous public light displays like that not exist back home?” This month I finally figured out the answer: The pretty lights are here, but I’ve been too lazy to find them!

How to make a lantern

Strings of lanterns danced in the wind.

The Boston Lantern Parade and Festival

I learned this lesson just a few weeks ago, one cold night in Boston. My baby was playing with a hair clip (an educational toy, right?), and I was curled like a hedgehog the couch. Suddenly, my phone started vibrating repeatedly.

“Are you coming to the Lantern Festival in Jamaica Plain?” friends were texting.

“Argh.” I responded. “It’s too cold outside, and I’m lazy and cozy! (Colazy?)”

DIY crafts: Colorful lanterns

I like the fancy fringe.

Homemade Lanterns Around Jamaica Pond

As the festival drew to a close, my friends’ texts grew more urgent. “The Lantern Festival almost over!” they text-screamed. “You need to see it!” At last I grumbled, threw on a hat, and strapped the baby to my chest to brave the New England chill. I arrived at Jamaica Pond with half an hour to spare.

Boston lantern parade and festival

Halloween-themed lanterns.

Colorful Lanterns Displayed Outside

As you can see from these photos, it was worth it to get off my couch. Though the wind and elapsed hours had extinguished some of the candles, dozens of colorful hand-made lanterns still winked from their strings.

I admit to knowing nothing about the festival before I trotted over, so it was with curiosity that I peered closer — creative and frugal teacher that I am — trying to figure out how the colorful lights were made.

Lantern festival Jamaica Plain

Love the creativity.

How to Make a Lantern Festival in YOUR Town

It turns out that this beautiful lantern festival would be easy to re-create in your town with some simple crafting. The only materials needed to make the lanterns are: large plastic soda bottles cut in half, tissue paper, glue, and candles!

The Jamaica Plain Lantern Festival also features live music, dancing, and hot apple cider, but if you start your own light festival in your town, methinks you could just put up the lanterns, play some recorded music, and people would still feel the joy. Does this seem like something you’d enjoy creating?

Beautiful lantern craft project

The lanterns look like they’re floating through the air.

What Art Projects Can YOU Create at Home?

Walking home after the festival with my baby snoring softly on my chest, I chuckled at how I’d almost missed a great thing. We sally forth to all corners of the globe to see foreign festivals, but sometimes forget the ones we have right at home, or the art we can rally our community to create, ourselves!

Which is your favorite lantern?

Which is your favorite lantern?

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How to Make a Lantern

Lantern Crafting Materials:

Instructions to Create the Lanterns:

1. Wash the 2 liter bottles and cut off the tapered tops.

2. Cut the tissue paper into desired shapes and apply it to the dry bottles using glue on a paintbrush.

3. Optional: Decorate on top of the tissue paper using paint and/or permanent markers.

4. Glue the wax or plastic candle to the bottom of the bottle and let dry.

5. Punch holes into the upper lip of the cut bottles and string the wire through the holes.

6. Light (or turn on) the candle, hang or hold the lantern, and enjoy its beauty!

How to make a lantern from simple materials at home (ex: Soda bottles), inspired by the beautiful the Jamaica Plain Lantern Festival and Parade in Boston, MA. #Crafts #crafting #DIY #artprojects #lanterns #festivals

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So there you have it. If you try making these lanterns, do leave your advice in the comments section for how to make them maximally fabulous!

See 40 more art prompts and drawing inspiration here!

Enjoy quirky local festivals? Check out this hilarious dogs-in-costumes fashion competition.

Dog in nurse costume! Amazing!
Dogs in Costume?! The Cutest Fashion Show in Boston.
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