How To Make Sky Lanterns

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 the CraftCue article to find a step-by-step description on how to make sky lanterns.
CraftCue Staff
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Few Asian cultures have sky lanterns,Kongming lanterns, fire balloons, or Chinese lanterns, which is 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, the air inside the rice paper is heated, 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. So that was a simple and sweet explanation about sky lanterns. And now, we will discuss how these gorgeous lanterns are made.
A Step-by-step Guide
For the purpose of this article, we are going to take a look at some easy steps on how to make the lanterns accurately. Gather tissue paper which is at least 2 yards long, glue, fire retardant spray, matchsticks, four dowels of balsa wood (measurement―3/32'' x 8''), candle, string, farbic, 2 fishing hooks, scissors, glue gun, and rubbing alcohol. You can get the wood from a hardware store. Once you have all the items, we can begin with the steps.
Sky Lantern Soaking Balsa Dowels
Sky Lantern Tissue Papers
Sky Lantern Fire Retardant Spray
Sky Lantern Handing Tissue Papers
Sky Lantern Folding Tissue Papers
Sky Lantern Fold Tissue Papers
Sky Lantern Glue Tissue Papers
Sky Lantern Balsa Wood Ring
Sky Lantern Balsa Wood with Wires
Sky Lantern Glue Ring with Tissue Papers
Sky Lantern Fabric and Melted Candle
Sky Lantern with Attached Light Source
Finished Sky Lantern in Air
  • First and foremost, take the balsa wood dowels and soak them in water. They should remain soaked in water for about 24 hours.
  • 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.
  • Now we will use the fire retardant spray on the tissue paper. Spray generously on all the sides of the tissue paper. Leave it aside to dry thoroughly.
  • Once the tissue paper is dry, use the scissors to cut the top left and right corners at an angle.
  • 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.
  • 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 the top edges of the sky lanterns, the rest of the lantern will be easier. You just leave the bottom edges as it is so that we can place the light source in.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fold the fabric into a square and place inside a pan. Melt candle over it so it fuses together to make the light source.
  • Wrap the hooks with the light source.
  • 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 that I have a suggestion you can use. 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?