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Art Project: Paper Box Lanterns

02.19.11 Art Project: Paper Box Lanterns

lantern post

Wondering how you could re-use your seasonal holiday lights? I've noticed that even towards the end of February, many people in my neighborhood still have their decorative lights displayed. It certainly helps with the dark winter months so they don't really bother me. A spring-like solution: turn them into a magical string of lanterns, and you'll be sure to spruce up any porch, office or even a basement! This project is easiest to do with origami paper but use any paper you'd like, just make sure to pre-cut into perfect squares or the process will feel very frustrating. Here's a step-by-step instructon for making paper boxes:                                                                                              

Ok, now for some extra help:

  • image#3: Now start to collapse the pre-folded piece of paper.
  • image#5: You will end up with the folded triangle shown.
  • images#5-8: Now fold each of the four corners upwards as shown.
  • images#9-10: Now fold the four horizontal corners into the center as shown.
  • images#11-12: Use your finger to expand the little pocket as shown below.  You are going to tuck the flap into the pocket. Important: the flap must first be folded in two to make it small enough for the pocket.
  • images#13-14: This images show the flap folded, then tucked in.
  • image#15: Now fold and tuck in the other three flaps.
  • images#16-17: Finally expand the balloon.  First unfold the balloon partially, then blow gently into the hole at one end.

Now, slip your light boxes (where you blew into the hole) over the bulb and your light strands will transform a plain room into a colorful one!

On a safety note, if you are concerned about whether your lights contain lead, make sure you handle carefully and wash hands after touching. Use RoHS compliant lights (they sell them at IKEA) which contain far less lead and PVC in the plastic cord. And always remember to unplug the lights when not in use.

What space would you decorate with lanterns?

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