Make simple paper lanterns with construction paper for party decorations or fun room decor inspired by Disney’s Aladdin.
My teenage daughter and I just saw the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic Aladdin. We loved it. My daughter has decided it’s now her favorite movie ever (although she still loves Beauty and the Beast). She especially liked the song Jasmine sings about standing up for herself and not staying silent like she’s expected to be. We loved all of the songs. They are similar to the songs in the animated movie, but they have new words and a different twist.
The sets in the movie were stunning. I loved all of the Mideastern design details that brought ancient Arabia to life. Take a look at this gorgeous set from a scene with Princess Jasmine.
The scenery inspired me to make paper lanterns in a Mideastern style, a little like the metal lanterns hanging in the scene above. These paper lanterns are so simple and quick, they would be perfect decorations for any party. They are also nice enough to be used for a fun home decor idea—my teenage daughter is planning to hang a few in her bedroom.
How to Make a Paper Lantern
- 2 sheets of construction paper, or colored paper
- X-acto knifeacto knife or another paper cutter
- Pencil or pen to make measurement marks
- Metallic Sharpie (for optional decoration)
Cut the Lantern Handle and Supports
Using the first piece of construction paper, cut three 1-inch strips from the shorter side of the paper. These strips will be used for the handle, and inside the lantern to make the curved effect. You won’t need the rest of this paper—although it is a perfect square, so save it for another project, like origami.
Cut and Decorate the Lantern
On the second piece of construction paper, draw a line 2 inches from the shorter side of the paper. Draw another line on the other shorter side. The shorter sides are the top and bottom of the lantern, and these lines are where the lantern will be split and bend. Don’t worry, these marks will end up on the inside of the lantern, so you won’t see them.
On both of those lines you drew, make marks at 1-inch intervals all the way across the paper. Then use a ruler and the craft knife to make a cut between the marks. The cut will be in the middle of the paper and shouldn’t reach either side. These straight cuts will make the curved part of the lantern.
Now, the fun part—decorate! Turn the paper over so there are no measurement marks. Use the gold sharpie (or whatever craft supply you’d like) to decorate the top and bottom of the lantern. I tried to make Arabic designs since my lantern is inspired by the Aladdin movie.
When you’re done decorating, bend both sides of the paper along the edges of the cuts to help make the rounded shape of the lantern.
Put the Paper Lantern Together
On the back of the top and bottom, make marks to show where the supports should go. The construction paper is 9 inches long, so the supports need to be 4.5 inches apart. I placed the ruler across the top of the paper and marked at 2 inches and 6.5 inches, then repeated this along the bottom so that the marks line up exactly with the top. I tried just putting in the supports without measuring the first time I made a lamp and that’s why the orange lamp in the photo below is a little lopsided.
Next, tape together to top and bottom of the lamp, placing the tape on the inside.
Then tape one end of each support strip you cut from the first construction paper at the two marks on the top inside of the lantern. Press firmly on the tape so it sticks well.
Next, tape the bottom of the supports at the marks on the bottom inside of the lantern. This is the tricky part because the supports are shorter than the lantern, so you’ll need to make the side of the lantern curve outward so the support will reach. Again, make sure the tape is firmly attached because the tape and supports are holding the shape of the lantern.
Finally, attach the handle to the inside of the top of the lantern with tape. The lantern can sit on a table.
Or hang by its handle.
Once you’ve got the hang of making a paper lantern, try variations. I made one shorter and another with a smaller top and bottom and larger rounded part. You can also decorate the strips on the rounded part. I think it would be fun to try making cut-out designs on the lantern too.
Make sure to pin this idea and then sign up to receive our email newsletter for more DIY and craft projects.