Chinese New Year Crafts: Lantern Fairy Lights

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A 2 for 1 easy Paper Lantern Activity for Chinese New Year! These classic paper lanterns are super fun to make and perfect for ringing in the Lunar New Year!

Chinese New Year 2020 falls on Saturday 25th January 2020! And it is the Year of the Rat!

Here is another one of the classic Chinese New Year crafts for kids – lanterns made from a sheet of paper (and in this case a glass and a candle or set of fairy lights! Your choice).  

Have distinct memories of making these for Fasching in primary school, but of course they are also a very popular Chinese New Year Craft!

Now you can make them with kids or on your own. Really it depends on your children. And I will give some pointers on how to make it easier for kids.

Paper Lanterns Materials:

  • 1 Sheet of red paper – for one large lantern, or 8 small fairy light lanterns
  • Scissors
  • A little tape or glue
  • Optional: Glass and tealight to put inside
  • Fairy Lights

For the Fairy Lights, I cut one sheet of paper in 8 piece (by folding it in half 3 times and cutting apart). I then folded the 8 pieces of paper as per the below and cut “into them” all in one go. So it is quicker to make than you think. The children each had a go at cutting on by themselves. Great scissor practice!

Classic Paper Lanterns in Red

How to make a paper lantern for Chinese New Year or Fasching

Follow this step by step instructions for making paper lanterns! All you need is one sheet of paper.

One sheet of paper is all you need for your Chinese Paper Lanterns

You can choose to decorate your paper first! In this instance we left them plain!

Note: If you want your paper lantern to have a handle, cut a strip of paper off first and set it aside to add later (we skipped this).

Simple steps to making a paper lantern

Fold the paper in half LENGTH wise, so end up with a long rectangle.

I tend to cut “free hand”, but for the kids you can do one of two things to help:

  • For older kids draw a line across the top (the open end of the paper), they can then cut free hand strips UP TO that line.
  • For young kids draw a series of lines across (from closed end to about 2cm of the open end) and get them to cut along the lines. I hoping to do these with Red Ted’s class near Chinese New Years and will do this for his class mates.

You should now have a sheet of paper that looks like the above.

Open it up the paper and fold round to shape the paper lantern and then use sticky tape or glue to close it up.

Chinese Paper Lanterns
My kids LOVED making these!

And done. Pop a jar or glass in the centre and light a candle! Making Paper Lanterns really is this easy!

Chinese Paper Lanterns
Super pretty Chinese Paper Lanterns 2 for 1 craft

We then then made the small ones (as mentioned above – by cutting an A4 sheet of paper in 8 pieces – we stuck them to the fairy lights with double sided tape, alternating leaving one light clear and one with a lantern) which the kids LOVE!!!

Enjoy your Chinese New Year Crafts!

I think you will also love our simple Dragon Paper Puppet:

More fabulous Chinese New Year Craft ideas:

For 2020 the Chinese Zodiac animal is the Rat – you may like these Mouse DIYs – replace them with greys, blacks and reds and you have the perfect Year of the Rat Activities!