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Decorate your home with a DIY lantern made from recycled materials

It’s time to light up your home with a DIY Chinese lantern. Read this guide on how to transform recycled materials around your house into a beautiful paper or plastic bottle lantern.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

A selection of lanterns, read on to DIY

If you have bins full of perfectly good recycled materials, why not make a DIY lantern? There’s really no better way to decorate your home than with a DIY Chinese lantern. This step-by-step guide will give you plenty of lantern-making ideas to light up your home. Start digging through your recyclables because it’s time to craft your own DIY lantern!

When making a sitting paper lantern, make sure you have a glass on hand to put the candle in to avoid setting your lantern on fire.

Paper lanterns DIY

The first of our lantern making ideas is paper lanterns. DIY paper lanterns come in many different shapes and sizes. To make a paper lantern, this is what you’ll need:

  • Recycled paper

  • Scissors

  • Tape

  • Tea candle

  • Glass cup to put the tea candle in

Once you have these items, you’re ready to begin on your DIY Chinese lantern. Follow these simple steps below:

  1. Fold your recycled piece of paper in half lengthwise. It’s best if the paper is thicker so that the lantern can stand upright when finished.

  2. Cut the paper along the folded edge. Be sure not to cut all the way through, as these are only meant to be slit for the light to shine through. And remember, the longer the slits, the more light that will come through once it’s finished.

  3. Wrap the two ends of the paper around so that they touch each other to form a tube shape. Use tape or a stapler to connect the two ends.

  4. If you’re looking to make hanging paper lanterns, DIY handles are easy to make. Simply cut a strip of paper and tape or staple it to the end of the tube. You can also use a ribbon or piece of string if you wish.

  5. Your paper lantern is now finished and all you have to do is place the tea candle inside. Ensure that you put the candle in a glass first so that it doesn’t set your lantern on fire. This sitting lantern makes for a lovely centerpiece.

  6. Make sure that you only put a candle in your lantern when it is resting on a flat surface. In other words, if you want to hang your DIY lantern, you can use instead fairy lights.

For more information on DIY candle holder ideas with recycled materials, find out our tips here!

Plastic bottle lantern DIY

There are plenty of lantern-making ideas that involve plastic water bottles. When it comes to a plastic bottle lantern, DIY methods are both fun and simple to follow. Check that you have these items before you begin:

  • Recycled plastic bottles

  • Scissors

  • String

  • Paint and brushes

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Follow the steps below to bring your plastic bottle lantern making ideas to life:

  1. The first step is to get creative with your plastic bottles. Cut them into whatever shapes you want, whether it is in half or along the sides of the bottle to make a more intricate design.

  2. Next, paint your bottle. This is the part where you can really tap into your creativity. Decorate your bottle with polka dots, stripes, one solid color, or a rainbow of colors.

  3. Once the paint dries, it’s time to attach the yarn. Poke a hole in the bottom of the bottle and thread the yarn through it (this will be the top of the lantern). If you’re working with the top half of the bottle, you can tie the yarn around the bottle’s screw-top instead.    

That’s all it takes to create a plastic bottle lantern DIY-style. Just remember that you can’t put a candle in this lantern when it is hanging, due to the risk of your lantern catching on fire.

You can make clean-up a breeze after building your DIY Chinese lantern by staying organized during the creative process. Create different piles to recycle leftover paper and plastic bottle scraps. Lay down scrap paper or newspapers to avoid glue or paint spills on the table or floor. And if you do just so happen to have a spill – accidents happen! – be prepared with a top-quality cleaner, such as Cif.

This is a great activity to do with the entire family and make use of materials around the house that would otherwise go to waste. Make the holidays or any special occasion that much more special with these lantern making ideas.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published