What do I need to make a Lantern?

Lantern kits are often in stock. The kit makes 4 different lanterns – Moon, Star, Triangular and Globe lanterns and includes willow, bamboo poles, tissue, glue, masking tape, wire, 4 tea lights, a soaking bag and an instruction leaflet.

To make a lanterns you will need;

  • Lantern Willow
  • Masking Tape
  • PVA Glue – red or black
  • Wet Strength Tissue / Coloured Tissue
  • Soaking Bag
  • 4ft Bamboo for carrying the lantern
  • Wire to fix the lantern to the carrying pole
  • Tea Lights
  • Optional instruction Leaflet detailing Moon, Star, Triangle and Globe Lanterns

To make an average sized lantern 1 to 2ft high: You will need between 5 and 10 rods per lantern, depending on size and complexity. The length of the willow rods again will depend on the size of your lanterns. 5ft Buff Lantern Willow will make most average size lanterns. Anything bigger and you will have to use 6ft or 7ft rods. Also methods of making lanterns 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 then there will be no need to soak your willow as it can be used dry. For anything else you will need to soak your willow for 2 hours the night before. You may need a Soaking Bag for this if you do not have any other facilities to soak. Wrap the willow in plastic/tarpaulin to mellow and use the next day.

Masking Tape is used to make all the joins and ensure there are no sharp bits that will tear the tissue. How much you need will have to be guessed. When working with soaked willow let the outside of the rod dry a little so that the tape sticks easier.

You will need 2/3 sheets of White Wet Strength Tissue per average sized lantern and less of the Coloured Strong Tissue for decoration. See help & advice 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 your lantern last longer against 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 on and some wire for fixing to the pole is needed. Most people use led lighting now for lanterns as this is more Health and Safety conscious than a candle. Push button Tea Lights are available to buy.

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