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How To Make Homemade Paper Lanterns

I started making these a few weeks ago for my daughters upcoming birthday party and I’m at a loss for what to call them. Paper Orbs? Lanterns? Balls??? Whatever name they end up taking, they are really easy to make and turned out pretty darn cute.

I hope to have some great pictures of them to share after my daughters party, I made 15 to hang from the patio awning. Here is my step by step DIY:

To start, the materials you will need are

2 pieces of 12×12 scrapbook paper, 2 brads (long ones), a hole punch and a paper cutter


Cut each piece of paper into about 10 strips each, for a total of 20 strips (these can also be made with using only 10 strips, like on my Baby Shower post). I just pushed the page flush with the edge of the paper cutter to begin with, making each strip about 3 cm wide and I ended up with about 10 evenly sized strips


Then, punch a hole in both ends of each strip

Stack up the 20 strips and put a brad through the holes on each end

To open the thing (orb? lantern? ball?) place it in a "C" shape and gently pull each strip out, in order, until they are all evenly spaced


Then attach at string to the brand, making a loop and tying it again above the brad so that it hangs level to the ground


You can add a flame-less candle (please, no actual fire, just LED’s) if you are going to use them for evening outdoor parties. It is pretty cold and rainy right now so the idea of evening parties on my patio makes me happy enough to add them just for the hope that it will happen soon!


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Patricia U April 9, 2011 um 6:35 pm

How cute! How long did it take you to make these?
I saw the "candles" and thought "she’s crazy!" Where did you get those LEDs? They look so real.


Jaxie April 11, 2011 um 9:26 am

Thanks! These were really quick, maybe 5 minutes per lantern. I got the LED tealights online, I love them. So much easier than candles for outdoor use, they never blow out or catch fire. Here’s a link:


narnz January 10, 2012 um 11:27 pm

thanx wow what a great idea and it really does look good! ive got my daughters 6th birthday coming up and she is wanting a tropical beach theme so these will def come in handy under the patio give it that little bit of tropical balinese feel………


Jackie January 11, 2012 um 8:40 am

Oh good! So glad you liked them πŸ™‚


joanna February 23, 2012 um 7:22 pm

Love this! I am thinking if you used vellum it would have more of a glow! I am making notes for my baby girls second birthday! Love your site


Jackie February 24, 2012 um 9:27 am

This was one of my very first posts! I still make these for parties, so easy and cheap πŸ™‚ I’ll try it with vellum next time, sounds perfect.


Kelly April 1, 2012 um 9:42 am

I saw these and thought they would be really cool for inside my room… But, I’m going to try to make little mini ones with half the length of the paper to start….. Where did you find the Brads? πŸ™‚


Jackie April 2, 2012 um 9:35 am

You found my very first post! Glad you like them πŸ™‚ I got the brads at but you can usually find them at craft stores or


Jamie May 28, 2012 um 7:01 am

How well do the candles shine through the paper in a dark setting? The paper looks awfully opaque. Thinking about doing these for my wedding!


Jackie May 28, 2012 um 10:36 am

Someone told me that she used vellum paper and it turned out great. It all depends on what paper you use and how strong your flameless tea lights are. They only take about 2 minutes to make, so do a trial run with one sheet of paper and take it into a dark room and see what you think before you invest more time and money. Congrats on the wedding πŸ˜‰


Amy August 14, 2012 um 2:26 pm

Does the ball stay curved on its own?


Jackie August 14, 2012 um 3:28 pm

Yes. If you use heavy weight scrapbook paper it will stay curved on it’s own.


Amber September 22, 2012 um 4:54 pm

I am so glad I came across your site! It saved part of my party decorations. They were simple and easy to make and I can’t weight to display them.


Jackie September 24, 2012 um 1:08 pm

Oh good! So glad you like them πŸ™‚


hussain February 4, 2013 um 12:29 pm

wow these look awesome, my daughters bday is coming up n thout of surprising my wife too by taking care of the decorations but had no idea what to do… thanx to u now i know


Sambhu Sen November 7, 2013 um 9:00 pm

Now that is what we call creative….

Amazing and wonderful creation,,,,


angelica agote January 9, 2014 um 2:17 am

hi ms.Jackie! instead of scrapbook paper, will it work at bond papers or oslo or colored paper? πŸ˜€


Jackie January 9, 2014 um 4:32 pm

You need sturdy paper or it won’t hold it’s shape. So as long as the paper is strong, it should work.


Marama March 15, 2014 um 1:43 pm

These are gorgeous. My little ones at preschool will love this.


Srujana September 1, 2015 um 8:27 pm


To open the thing (orb? lantern? ball?) place it in a β€œC” shape and gently pull each strip out, in order, until they are all evenly spaced —– for this, i’ll put it in C shape and pull the strips out. But don’t the strips come to straight position once we leave the strips ?? means, how can they be in C shape if we don’t attach any wires. ?


Louise November 30, 2016 um 12:45 am

I was searching for round lantern ideas for my sister’s parol and this showed. It really helped me big time. I love it.


Geranium September 10, 2017 um 1:42 pm

I tried making one. The first one ended up kinda flat but I still looked kinda cool. Thanks


Debbie January 11, 2020 um 12:18 pm

When you place the brads on each end of the paper strips and then start to pull apart to make the ball, has me wondering how it gets it’s desperately. Is there a strong inside connecting the two brads?


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