Making Chinese Lanterns: Simple DIY Recycled Lantern

With the Mid-Autumn Festival round the corner, this week, we will be making Chinese Lanterns in celebration of this festive event. Chinese lanterns were first invented to protect the naked flame from windy weather. They were later used as lamps as well as for worship purposes. We will be using recycled materials for making Chinese Lanterns.

Materials Needed:

  • Water Bottle (1 Litre) x 1
  • Scissors/Penknife
  • Double-sided Tape
  • Permanent Marker
  • Wire (about 50 cm)
  • Super Glue
  • Satay Stick x 1
  • A3 Drawing Block (1 piece)
  • Tea light Candle x 1
  • Pencil
  • Oil Pastels

Steps to Making Chinese Lanterns:

Firstly fold the drawing block into half. Each half will be used for one side of the lantern.

Next, draw your character on both sides of the drawing block. Try to fill up as much of the drawing block as possible.

Some ideas you can consider in commemoration of this festival include mooncake, full moon, rabbit, Chang’e, or your own favourite characters. 

In this case, we will be drawing Chang’e, the moon goddess on one side, and for the other, we will write the Chinese characters for Happy Mid Autumn Festival or “中秋节快乐”. 

Making Chinese Lanterns - Front View of the lantern
Chinese Lantern (Front View)

Sketch out the Moon Goddess using light coloured oil pastel. Do check out our oil pastel still life drawing tutorial for more tips and tricks on controlling the oil pastels.

Next, we colour the character. The colours used are entirely subjective so feel free to let your imagination take flight.

Following that, we proceed with cutting out the moon goddess. 

Repeat this process for the opposite side.

Chinese Lantern (Back View) with the words 中秋节快乐
Chinese Lantern (Back View)

Thereafter, we proceed with the cutting of the plastic bottle.

Remove the plastic wrapper around the bottle. After that, we use the permanent marker to mark out a rectangle in the middle of the bottle.

Do make sure that the hole is big enough for your hand to enter. You may refer to the image below for further clarification.

Chinese Lantern (Top View), ensure that hole is big enough for candle.
Chinese Lantern (Top View)

Align the double sided tape along the edges of the rectangle.
Secure your drawings to the bottle with super glue.

Next, we connect one end of the wire to the bottle cap and secure it with a knot.
Connect the other end to the other end of the bottle.

Loop the interim of the wire around the exterior of the bottle.
Make use of the indents of the water bottle if there’s any. Otherwise, secure the other end with super glue.

Chinese Lantern Top View, ensure that satay stick is secured properly to the wire in the middle.
Ensure that the Satay Stick is Secured Properly

In order to level both sides of the lantern, ensure that the satay stick is secured tightly to the middle of the wire.
Next, we apply super glue to hold the two parts firmly together. 

Last but not least, we place the tea light candle in the middle of the rectangle and secure it to the bottle with double-sided tape.

Light the candle and have fun with your DIY recycled lantern! 

Here’s the time lapse of the Chinese lantern making process:

Making Chinese Lanterns Using Recycled Materials

The Chinese lantern is mostly made using recycled materials, giving us a chance to turn junk into creative art. We give these trash a second chance to be utilised further. 

Tea light candle is used as it is considerably safer as compared to wax candles. This is because the usual wax candles are more flammable especially when they are not handled properly. In addition, the tea light candle can last for a longer period of time, about 4 hours on average. 

Plastic bottles are used as they are readily available in our daily lives. Being an insulator of heat, it does not melt easily unlike paper lanterns.

The plastic bottle also helps to protect our tea light candle from gusts of wind and is safer to handle as compared to the alternative.

The satay stick is used as it is recyclable, a poor conductor and sturdy enough to handle the lantern’s weight. These factors together make it the optimal choice for the handle of the lantern.

Check out some of these works of these Chinese lanterns made by Artist Celine Chia‘s students:

Pokemon DIY Recycled Lantern, Joshua 6 Years Old
Pokemon DIY Recycled Lantern, Joshua 6 Years Old

Here, we have a nurturing talent who takes a unique twist on Pokemon XY and creates his own rendition of a Chinese lantern. The decor showcases the witty and fun nature of Pikachus having fun and chilling about.

Pokemon Plusle DIY Recycled Lantern Craft, Zachary 8 Years Old
Pokemon Plusle DIY Recycled Lantern, Zachary 8 Years Old

Over here, we have his brother with his own Plusle DIY lantern using recycled materials. He uses his limitless creativity to redesign and recolour a background specifically for his creative art work.

Chinese Lantern, made by Jihyo 6 years old
Chinese Lantern, Jihyo 6 years old

Following that, we have a Chinese lantern made by Jihyo, 6 years old who crafted her own pink variation of the moon goddess accompanied by a cute fairy amidst the ravishing landscape. This harmonious blend of pink gives rise to a beautiful masterpiece.

Chinese Lanterns handmade by Sophie 4 years old & Lauren 6 years old
Lanterns made by Sophie 4 years old & Lauren 6 years old

Next, we have handmade Chinese lanterns by Sophie(left) and Lauren. (right) Sophie created her own festival themed Mid-Autumn festival lantern filled with stupendous decor. On the other hand, Lauren drew and coloured her own unique variation of a cute and derpy animal chilling in the moonlight.

Rabbit themed Lantern (front view), Olive, 5 years old
Rabbit Lantern (front view), Olive 5 Years Old

This lantern DIY craft is perfect for beginners and kids to learn and pick up this skill so don’t hesitate to do so! Here we have Olive, 5 years old with her rabbit lantern (front view) and deer design for the back! She’s definitely a quick and inquisitive learner who’s never afraid to pick up new skills.

Deer themed Lantern (Back View), Olive 5 years Old
Deer Lantern (Back View), Olive 5 years Old

In general, this whole Chinese Lantern making process takes about 1.5 hours to complete but it varies from people to people. If you’re keen to make your own DIY lantern using recycled materials, be sure to sign up for our art classes and workshops. Stay tuned to our socials for more engaging content!

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