CRAFTS AND DIY

Make a translucent confetti lantern

Have you ever made a lantern? Well, that is exactly what we did this week:  a simple translucent luminary craft using what we had on our craft shelf. It can easily be done in three (3) simplified steps: decorate, cut, and assemble.

For us, November is a great month to work on making luminaries, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere. It is also a wonderful German tradition. The light has now changed drastically, and the evenings are long. The warmth of a new decorative craft can create a gentle and poetic mood in your home. What a magical time, as for many regions the equinox and harvest time holds many traditions.

Festivals of lights are found in many parts of the world. Light is captivating, soothing and serves as a guide. Now is a season for festivals and family customs!

Making luminaries is indeed a custom that many cultures share. Here in Germany, children each make a lantern during this time a year to celebrate St Martin in November. In Arizona and other states of the USA, lanterns decorate pathways in December. In India, little lamps float on the Ganges river every single night of the year, amongst other special times. It is said that the paper lantern making tradition originated in China, many centuries ago. To this day, the symbolism is powerful yet simple: lighting the way in the darkness. So, regardless of which festival your family celebrates, there is a lantern that can add warmth and beauty to your celebrations!

Today, I want to share with you a design that is special to me. I think this may have been the very first kind of lantern I learned to make while in elementary school, many years ago in France. So I showed my daughter how to make her own, and it truly is quite simple. Also, the result can be quite stunning in the dark thanks to a very soft and diffuse light. For this, we used a modern LED light for safety reason.

How to make your lantern:

  1. Using our fondness for autumn leaves as our inspiration, we made hundreds of little leaves using kite paper and a hole punch we bought at a local craft shop. If you are not familiar with kite paper, it is a translucent paper that resembles wax paper. And, it sturdier than tissue paper with many colours to choose from. If you cannot get some, do not despair, kitchen brown wax paper is a great alternative!
  2.  We selected a few colours that we liked to represent the autumnal season: red, orange, yellow, a couple of different greens, purple and brown. Using the cute hole punch I mentioned, I had my daughter work on her fine motor skills. This did double duty: working the fingers strength and the entire hand muscles while creating beautiful little confetti! That was super fun and we took turns! We then glued them in between two sheets of A4 white transparency tracing paper, and let it all dry flat under a heavy book.
  3. Once completed, we folded our A4 decorated paper in half, lengthwise. Then my daughter cut lines from the fold centre part. She made sure to leave about 2,5 cm (or about 1 inch) uncut at the top. To help, I lightly traced a line as a guide with where to stop. Finally, the paper was unfolded and secured (you may use glue or a stapler) to create the lantern shape. We placed a bottom (using a simple round cheese box will do just fine, simply cut to size and staple it), added a wire and stick at the top and finally a little LED light inside.

And this is what we came up with! What do you think of the results? Is that something you may want to do with your children this season? As always, I would love to see your lantern if you make one. Simply tag us on Instagram using #babyccinocrafts.

I find that such little projects help children develop focus and patience. They stay grounded while they work on it, and have such pride seeing the end results. We have made several different lanterns over the years. And we keep them around during part of the fall and winter to decorate our window sills. My daughter loves seeing her old work, and reminisce on the memories created. Those are the simple pleasures!

Whatever the meaning you bring to completing such an activity, children will enjoy it. The symbolic nature can also be explored though stories. Whether the light of your luminary has a deeper purpose than just a being a simple craft or not, it is entirely up to you.

x Mariam

PS: If your child/ren is/are working on scissor skills, why not draw simple shape for them to cut. Or choose to  use already-made non-toxic paper confetti. Another variation would be to use pressed flowers for the spring. How pretty would that be? And, for more inspiration, you should take a look at Zainab also made beautiful outdoors luminaries with her family, creating the most beautiful path in a garden to celebrate Eid. Lara and her family also created a similar lamp to celebrate the Chinese New Year using coloured paper.


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