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Make willow lanterns

These lanterns are really impressive and effective but aren't as tricky to make as you might think. The instructions are for a basic pyramid lantern. Once you've mastered a pyramid, get creative and try different shapes and sizes, lanterns with curves, and lanterns with finer details.

You will need

  • tray
  • tissue paper
  • PVA glue
  • sponge / paint brush
  • garden scissors
  • LED tea light
  • masking tape
  • garden cane / bamboo or willow
  • a space you can get messy!
How to make willow lanterns



1) Create the base

Using two or three sticks, cut 4 pieces that are the same length and similar thickness. Tape the corners together to make a square.


2) Create the frame

Decide what height you would like your lantern and cut 4 sticks the right length.  Tape the ends onto the base corners, and fix them all together at the top with tape


3) Make a loop

To make a carrying loop, bend a piece of wilow and attach with tape to the top. You can also attach a bamboo cane to this if you want a longer handle.


4) The messy bit

Use a brush or sponge to cover a sheet of tissue paper with diluted PVA glue (50:50 works best).  Holding the four corners apart, place it on the lantern structure. Cover the whole lantern, but remember to leave a gap at the bottom to insert the light. Overlap edges of the paper as you go, smoothing any bits that are sticking up.


5) Shine a light

Once your lantern is dry, insert your LED and light it up!  You can also paint your lantern or use different coloured tissue paper to decorate.

bunting two
Illustrative bunting string in teal and navy blue.

Start your own lantern parade

Make lanterns together with your community and start your own lantern parade through your neighbourhood, just like Alex!

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