Lanterns are so synonymous with Chinese New Year because of the Lantern Festival which marks the final day of the New Year celebrations. Though this isn’t until February 11th this year, there is no harm in having a little sticky fun making your own Chinese paper lanterns! Especially as it is traditionally the children who carry the paper lanterns during the nighttime hours of the festival. Of course the lanterns have to be red to bring good fortune, but they are also a symbol of people letting go of their past self and being renewed with the New Year.
This is the perfect rainy day kiddie activity. And we’re having almost non-stop rain in Singapore this week. For a stay at home mama it’s pretty tough going…so any kiddie activity that doesn’t involve excessive noise, outside space, indoor space, energy and, to an extent, mess is a winner in my book. My two love anything crafty, although this is a really simple activity that doesn’t require any creativity whatsoever. Infact, the less “put together” the appearance of the lanterns the better they turn out. The initial part can get a tad messy though – of course that depends entirely on what art materials you supply your kiddies with – so perhaps save it for after a cup of coffee…or ten.
You will need:
an assortment of pretty things to decorate- paints, glitter, sequins, ribbons, foil, etc
toilet roll insides for a “burner”
pipe cleaners for hanging
paper for tassels
- Firstly decorate one side of a sheet of the red paper. This is the messy stage and the more crazy and heavily adorned the sheet is, the better. If you’ve not had enough coffee yet and are lacking in creative thoughts, how about painty stripes or handprints, and then whack on a load of glitter and sequins? I mean seriously, just go for it.
- Once the paint/glue combo is completely dry (ours took a full 24 hours due to a fairly excessive application of paint…), it’s time to make some lanterns! Fold the paper over longways, and carefully cut from the folded middle edge towards the outside edges leaving a 3cm gap before you actually reach the outer edges. Continue this every 2cm from one side to the other, until the entire length of the folded sheet has been cut into strips.
- Unfold the sheet of paper, and carefully tape the two shorter sides together to form the lantern shape. The strips should fold outwards along the crease in the paper.
At this point you can now start to really jazz your lanterns up some more. Add a handle for hanging, and if you’re feeling up to it maybe make a tassel to hang on the bottom or add a “burner” to the centre of your lantern (see images below for instructions!). Top tip- pipe cleaners are great for attaching tassels and handles and require far less faffing and stickiness as glue.
Did you enjoy reading this post? Come back tomorrow for more ideas on how to enjoy the Chinese New Year celebration with year with luck and prosperity on your side…
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Have a very happy Chinese New Year!