How to make a Chinese rice paper lantern

How to make a Chinese rice paper lantern

Chinese rice paper lanterns add a warm ambiance to any room. Traditionally, they are white or cream in color, but today, you can find paper lanterns in many different colors, shapes, and sizes.

This article explains how you can make your own lantern. Its the frame is constructed of 6 bamboo circles, joined at the sides to form a box shape. Use a small light bulb, and a socket with a long cord to illuminate your lantern, or use a battery-operated socket.

You can either purchase sheets of rice paper, or you can make your own. Look for rice paper at arts and crafts supply stores, and check with places that sell decorative papers. If you want to make your own rice paper, these stores may also carry instructional books. The library is a great place to look, too. If they don’t have a certain book, they may be able to order it for you.

The process of making your own rice paper consists of pulping rice straw by boiling and pounding it out. Next, the pulp is placed inside a deckle and mold, dipped into a pail of water, and dried to form individual sheets of rice paper. That’s the whole process in a nutshell. Generally, homemade rice paper does not look like the refined sheets that you find in the stores, but with some practice, the process and materials used can be altered to obtain different results.

To make this lantern, you will need:

6 flat bamboo strips, 48 inches in length, and 1/4 inch in width
rice paper
masking tape
glue stick or rubber cement
1 UL listed indoor use swag electrical socket, or 1 battery powered socket

1) Start by bending a strip of bamboo to form a circle. You can soften the bamboo with the heat of a flame to make it more flexible, then place the loop into cold water, briefly, to reinforce its shape. Join both ends of the bamboo with very tacky masking tape. Repeat this step with the other 5 strips.

2) Take 4 bamboo circles, and form a box with them, using masking tape or string to attach them. Next, attach 1 bamboo circle to the top of the square, and one to the bottom, forming a box.

3) You can also add 1 short bamboo stick to the top and bottom of the lantern, spanning the openings. The top stick can facilitate the socket and bulb, and you can hang a tassel from the bottom. This completes the frame of your lantern.

4) Next, comes the application of the rice paper to the bamboo frame. Wrap the rice paper around the four sides of the bamboo frame, and join the paper with rubber cement or glue stick at the back of the lantern. Cut the rice paper along the top and bottom of the frame, leaving about an inch of excess. Fold this inch over the top and bottom of the frame, and secure with glue stick or rubber cement.

5) If there are any areas that sag, use a spray bottle to spray a light amount of water on the area, and allow it to dry. This should tighten the fibers.

6) Your chinese lantern is almost complete! Run your socket into the top of the lantern, or hang a battery powered socket there.

7) If you want to hang your finished work, attach a length of cording to the top of the lantern.

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