How To Make Sky Lanterns

Even though the design of these lanterns may seem complex, with proper steps, you too can make it by yourself. Read on to find a step-by-step description on how to make sky lanterns.
CraftCue Staff
Last Updated: Sep 5, 2018
Few Asian cultures have sky lanterns, Kongming lanterns, fire balloons or Chinese lanterns, made by rice paper and a bamboo frame. The frame helps keep the shape of the lantern when it's in the air. The rice paper is brushed with oil so that when the candle is placed inside, the paper doesn't catch fire.
Once the candle is lit, air inside the rice paper heats up, raising the lantern upwards. Till the time that candle is burning, the lantern will stay in the sky. Once the candle goes out, the lantern will float down, towards the ground. Now, we will discuss how these gorgeous lanterns are made.
A Step-by-step Guide
We are going to take a look at some easy steps on how to make lanterns accurately. Gather at least 2 yard long tissue paper, glue, fire retardant spray, matchsticks, 4 dowels of balsa wood (measurement―3/32'' x 8''), candle, string, fabric, 2 fishing hooks, scissors, glue gun and rubbing alcohol. You can get wood from a hardware store.
Sky Lantern Soaking Balsa Dowels
First and foremost, take the balsa wood dowels and soak them in water. They should remain soaked in water for about 24 hours.
Sky Lantern Tissue Papers
Then we will cut the tissue paper to size. Keep the width 2 feet, and the length 3 feet. Make sure you are using the scissors gently over the tissue paper or else it might tear.
Sky Lantern Fire Retardant Spray
Now we will use the fire retardant spray on the tissue paper. Spray generously on all the sides of the tissue paper.
Sky Lantern Handing Tissue Papers
Leave it aside to dry thoroughly.
Sky Lantern Folding Tissue Papers
Once the tissue paper is dry, use the scissors to cut the top left and right corners at an angle
Sky Lantern Fold Tissue Papers
Then we will apply the glue on the upper left and right sides of the paper. Make sure all the side edges have been glued.
Sky Lantern Glue Tissue Papers
The next step is to stick the top edges with one another. This will make the top part of the lantern complete.
As you stick top edges of the sky lanterns, rest of the lantern will be easier. Just leave the bottom edges to place the light source in.
Sky Lantern Balsa Wood Ring
Next we need to bring in the balsa wood dowels. Take 2 dowels, and bend them to make a circle.
Since we left them soaked in water, this will be fairly easy. Once the pieces are bent, tie them up with the string.
Now we have a hoop made from the bend dowels. Take another 2 dowels and insert them inside. Place one dowel horizontally, and the other vertically.
Sky Lantern Balsa Wood with Wires
Take four 6'' long strings and spray them with the retardant. Tie these strings to the hoop, and glue the ends of the strings in the tissue paper.
Sky Lantern Glue Ring with Tissue Papers
Now we take the fishing hooks. Use the hot glue to fix them together in such a way that the hooks are facing one another, but are pointing outwards.
Sky Lantern Fabric and Melted Candle
Fold the fabric into a square and place inside a pan. Melt candle over it so it fuses together to make the light source.
Sky Lantern with Attached Light Source
Wrap the hooks with the light source.
Finished Sky Lantern in Air
The light source will go on top of the hoop frame we just made. Use a long matchstick to light it and let the lantern catch wind, before releasing the lantern.
Once the lanterns are in the air, they will travel in the direction of the wind. It can land on crops, over someone's home, on the freeway, or somewhere else. Which is why, you need to be careful as to where you're going to use the lanterns.
To solve the problem, just before you are ready to release the lantern, tie a long string to the bamboo frame. This way, the lantern won't travel really far. Neat, ain't it?