How to make star-shaped paper lanterns

Making a star shaped paper lantern

A star-shaped lantern will add a creative touch of illumination to your home decor such as preteen bedrooms, or you’re outside like your garden, patio, or barbecue. This project will take anywhere from fifteen minutes to put together a small star lantern or thirty-five minutes to make a larger size. Your star lantern can be modern, funky to soft, and elegant by the choice of paper, colors, and decorations you add. These star-shaped lanterns are made in several basic steps.

The frame you will use will be decided on the shape of your star. Listed below are two star shapes and directions on how to fold the paper to form your star template. If you have other star shapes you would like to use, simply trace them to create your template. You can use card stock or another strong paper that can be cut without to much difficulty. The template should be three inches larger then the actual star. The template will be used as a base to form your frame. The frame can be made out of strong wire or wooden dowels.

There is the four-pointed star; also known as the star of Bethlehem. This is probably the easiest star shape to make. Take a piece of card stock to create a template that will be used to form a base on. Fold the piece of card stock in half from top to bottom. Fold-down both top points forming a triangle, then fold the triangle in half. Now using scissors cut off the top point down in an angle. Unfold the paper; you should have a four-pointed star.
The five-pointed star, this is the basic star shape. Start by folding the paper top to the bottom forming a rectangle. Now fold down the upper right corner down a few inches above the left bottom point. Take the left corner folding the whole area down; the point should be in the middle. Fold the paper in half horizontally and cut the top point in an angle to the left. Unfold paper this will give you a five-pointed star.

Once you have decided on the star shape and have created a template, you can start to build the frame for the star lantern. The frames can be made out of strong wire or wooden dowels. Place your star template on a flat surface and build your frame within the template. For a four-pointed star you will need eight wooden dowels cut to the same length, be sure to cut them three inches smaller than your star template. You will need to make two frames and connect them together with smaller supports in between booths to create a hollow frame.

You can use string or florist craft tape to secure wooden dowels together. If using wire, measure, and cut wire to the same length and just twist edges together to secure. Place both frames on top of each other tying each point together except the top. Take smaller pieces of wood or wire and connect booth frames together by connecting the smaller pieces to both frames, within the middle of the frame this will create a hollow inner pocket for the light. It is important to create a good size hollow pocket to keep the light’s heat away from the paper.


Now it is time to add the paper to your star frame. Use a glue gun or craft glue to secure the paper to the frame. You can use a variety of paper depending on your choice of decor. By using your star template the paper should be large enough to cover the star, be sure to cut out two. You can use white rice paper and cut snowflake patterns to create a lace look or decorate with stencils. Asian or Tibetan stencils look lovely in bold colors such as red and gold. You can also glue different size and shaped rhinestones. If you don’t want to use stencils or paint you can buy pre-designed paper such as wrapping paper or tissue paper. Once you have covered the front and back you need to cover the sides with paper as well. Remember to leave the top corner of the star open for the light fixture.


Adding the light is the finishing touch to this easy project. If you’re making a string of small star lanterns you can use the clear string of lights used at Christmas time or for a more colorful touch use the multi-color string of lights. Insert several tiny lights into each of the star lanterns leaving a few loose lights in between each one. Using pieces of string, attach each of the star lanterns to the string one at a time, remembering to leave a few loose lights in between each lantern.

For the bigger individual star lanterns, you can purchase several light options. For temporary lights, use a battery-operated bulb. If you’re going to be keeping the star lanterns in a particular area for a permanent decor. Then you may wish to purchase swag lamp cords, that comes with an on and off switch. I would also recommend using a forty-watt bulb or lower inside of your lanterns. Insert the light bulb fixture in through the hole on the top of the star.

To keep the bulb from slipping too far inside of the lantern, secure the fixture to the frame by tying a piece of string around the frame and the light fixture. Some swag lamp cords are made especially for lanterns and may have a special fixture that can be tied to the frame. To hang lanterns use an eye screw, in the ceiling. Use fishing wire or cording to suspend lantern.

To keep the bulb

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