Leaf Lanterns - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

Leaf Lanterns

| October 23, 2013 | 51 Comments

We first made these Leaf Lanterns about three years ago at German Toddler Group – one of the other carers with tons of group crafting experience showed us how to make them. And I totally fell in love! Especially as they were SO easy to make and even the little ones could enjoy joining in. Finally, 3 years later, we had another go. Of course, mine are a little neater, crafting with two kids is much easier than crafting with 10, but the principle applies and lends itself to a group environment!  We make these for St Martin’s Day and I first shared our St Martin’s Day lanterns a few years ago. We try and make a new one each year as I try and instill the love for this tradition in my kids whilst living in the UK! Clearly, you can still make these lovely Leaf Lanterns WITHOUT celebrating St Martin’s Day! Just leave them on the mantle piece of take them out for your own special lantern walk!

PS The BEST thing about this craft, is you do NOT HAVE to press your leaves to do this. You can make them on the day you collect your leaves, so long as they are not wet!

Simple Leaf Lanterns

Leaf Crafts for Fall

Leaf Lantern Materials

Autumn Leaves in different colours and sizes (smaller is better), grease proof paper – any will do, but if you can find white, even better, cheese boxes (to give the lantern structure, but of course, you can make your own base etc from card), glue or stapler, if turning into a St Martin’s lantern – wire and a stick, electric tea lights

Top tip: smaller leaves are better – as you can fit more on!


We bought some lovely camembert for the boxes! But cheese like Dairy Lea, also come in good boxes.

How we made our Leaf Lanterns

1) We happened to collect our leaves on a wet day. So I pressed them between sheets of newspaper for a couple of days. This has two effects – the newspaper absorbs the damness and also flattens the leaf a bit, which gives you a nice finish. Note: if you leave the leaves damp and went in the paper longer than 2-3 days they MAY start going mouldy. All we aimed for, was for the paper to absorb the dampness and also to flatten the leaves a little. Not to fully dry and preserve them!

 Leaf Crafts

Leaf Lanterns

2) Cut two sheets of grease proof paper to fit around your cheese base and at a height that you want. Lay one sheet flat on the floor and add glue.

3) Add your leaves – let the kids do as they wish, more is more I am sure! But I also find you will get a better glow if they don’t overlap too much.

Leaf Lanterns for kids

4) Add more glue and then press the second sheet of grease proof paper ontop. At home we placed some books on this for an hour or so to give a nice smooth flat finish. At playgroup we went straight to the next step.

5) Take your cheese boxes. I removed the “top part” of the lid, so you have access for the candle. At playgroup we now stapled in the the lantern. At home glued it in for a neat finish. Then repeat for the bottom (admittedly the bottom is a bit fiddlier as harder to get there.. but it worked ok).

6) Add wires or string so you can hang you lantern off a stick.

Simple Leaf Lanterns for Kids

Add lights to your Leaf Lantern and ENJOY the magic!

And if you have a Germanic Background, sing some St Martin’s Day songs:

Featured blogger of the week is Wild Flower Ramblings, who has some great FREE Leaf Identification Printables. Something I definitely need! (Though I also loved the Leaf Men & Creatures over on Inspiration Laboratories)

leaf activities

If you are after some more GORGEOUS Luminaries. do check out these wonderful Winter Luminaries – stunning!

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Category: Autumn, Kids Craft, Nature

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  1. Olivia says:

    We did a pressed fall leaf craft too! Love how your lanterns look with the light shining through them.

  2. Oh I love these! We do leaf lanterns with jam jars every year but we’ll definitely have a go at these instead now! Your daughter”s face is an absolute picture!

  3. Johanna GGG says:

    these look so lovely – makes me wish for autumn – we don’t have great autumn traditions in Australia but last year we went to a winter solstice celebration with a lantern parade that was great

  4. They’re just gorgeous. I love the leaves, they’re so pretty and as I adore this time of year it makes me feel all warm and snug :)

  5. These are just beautiful Maggy. Magical in fact. Makes me wish it was Autumn here in Australia.

  6. I love your lanterns!! We will have to try it! Thanks so much for featuring my Leaf Card printables :)

  7. Aly says:

    Oh they’re gorgeous Maggy! As ever as source of crafty inspiration.

  8. Judy says:

    Those lanterns are so beautiful!

  9. These are adorable – and children’s names could be painted or patina-ed on too for a personalized edge.

  10. Judy says:

    I loved this idea so much we had to make our own…though I just used what we had on hand. Thanks for the wonderful idea! http://www.whatilivefor.net/2013/11/fall-leaf-lanterns.html

  11. Wendy Lewis says:

    Is grease proof paper the same as wax paper or parchment paper?

  12. Carrie says:

    This are beautiful!! I would love it if you would share at Sharing Saturday this week!!

  13. Alana says:

    I can’t wait to try this!!!! Just curious, where was the German program and what was it called. I would be interested in it for my little family.

  14. I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:


    Thanks for another great project idea!

  15. Katie says:

    I stumbled across your page today as one is wont to do on the internet when looking for cool craft ideas, and I wanted to say that this is a beautiful craft idea! Fall leaves are just so lovely and they pretty much all go to waste. Go you for saving them in such a beautiful way! Mine usually end up pressed in the dictionary.

    As a fellow German-speaker and a children’s librarian (in the USA), I am curious how you began offering a German language children’s program? I student-taught German to Kindergardeners and did an eight-week German language storytime program for an internship, but have yet to offer German language programs for young children as part of my professional career. If you’d prefer to answer my question by e-mail, that is fine, too :)

  16. jasmine says:

    What else can be used … Instead of cheese boxs

  17. Danielle says:

    grease proof paf grease proof paper? Do u mean Wax paper?

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