How to Make Patio Lantern Lights

Use die-cut boxes and vellum paper to create unique hanging lantern lights.

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Materials and Tools:

strand of small white lights with white wiring
assorted flat, die-cut boxes*
rubber stamps
6" saucer or compass
pigment inks
Maruyama paper or vellum
craft knife
cutting mat
double-sided tape

*Count the number of lights on the garland and divide by two. This is how many finished boxes you will need.


1. Cut a 1/2" cross in the bottom of a box. This will be the top of the lantern where the light will pop through. Note: Don't make the initial cross too big or the box will fall off the set of lights. You can always make it larger if needed.

2. Cut all extra pieces that might show through the vellum or Maruyama paper.

3. Mask off the box tabs using sticky notes. Color the entire box by rubbing on the pigment-based inks. Strokes can vary: light or dark, straight or curved, etc.

4. Stamp the image, remembering to chose solid, thicker designs that can be cut out to let light pass through.

5. Cut some areas out, remembering not to approach edges too closely or the box will collapse.

6. Turn the box over right side down and add pieces of Maruyama or vellum to the inside with double-sided tape.

7. Cut strips of tissue paper using a paper cutter. Place a piece of cardboard against the paper cutter blade to hold the tissue in place. Fold the tissue paper strips in half and hold them together with tape.

8. Hot glue the end of the streamers to the inside of the box next to the "X" that was cut for the lights so that they hang down beneath the light .

9. Fold and close the box with double-sided tape and secure it over one of the small bulbs. The image to the right should give you an idea of how the lanterns look with the light shining through.

10. Make enough boxes to cover every second light. Embellish with beads, wire, ribbons, etc., if desired. Use different sizes and different shapes of boxes on the same garland.

Note: Do not leave the paper lantern garlands unattended. Though most small lights do not give out much heat, this is a handmade paper product and one should keep an eye on it.

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