Make a willow lantern

We stock a Lantern Kit which contains everything you need to make 4 large or 8 small lanterns in 4 different designs (plus an instruction leaflet!).

To make a willow lantern without using one of our kits, you will need:


How to make a lantern 1 to 2ft high


Depending on size and complexity, between 5 and 10 rods per lantern will be required. The size of the lantern will obviously determine the length of the willow needed. As a guide, 5ft lantern willow will make an average size lantern. Bigger structures will require 6ft or 7ft rods.




Lantern making methods do vary. One method is to top and tail the willow rods to make a very sturdy lantern. However, if you are working with children this can be time consuming, so single rods of the stouter 6ft willow may be better to use cut down to more manageable lengths (especially for triangles).

If you are making Triangular or Star lanterns there is no need to soak the willow. It can be used dry. For anything else, the willow will need to be soaked for 2 hours the night before. You may need a soaking bag for this. Wrap the willow in plastic/tarpaulin to mellow and use the next day.

Masking tape should be used to make all the joins and ensure there are no sharp bits that will tear the tissue. The amount of masking tape needs a bit of guess work. When working with soaked willow let the outside of the rod dry a little so that the tape sticks easier.

You will need 2 to 3 sheets of White Wet Strength Tissue per average sized lantern and less of the Coloured Strong Tissue for decoration. Read our guide on how to use wet strength tissue.

The PVA glue should be a 50/50 mix of glue and water with a consistency of single cream. The Red PVA is entirely washable and is widely used in schools. If you have a lantern parade that is outdoors and are worried about the weather, then the Black PVA is more waterproof and will help the lantern last longer in the elements! We have estimated that the 5l PVA bottles make approximately 100 average sized lanterns. If you make the lantern using red PVA you can paste over the finished lantern with neat Black PVA or Copydex to give it a more waterproof exterior.

4ft bamboo poles to carry the lantern and some wire for fixing to the pole might also be required. Most people use LED lighting in their lanterns these days.


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