Chinese Paper Lantern

These paper lanterns are so easy and fun to make that they are quite popular to make for Chinese New Year or for learning about Chinese culture. We'll show you the basic steps plus some creative ideas to spice up this classic paper craft.
Chinese Paper Lantern craft


  • Paper or cardstock (preferably red or yellow)
  • Scissors
  • Stapler or tape
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Things to decorate your lantern with: gift wrap
    paper, ribbons, sequins, stickers, glitter glue,
    small buttons, etc.

Safety Tips

  • Keep the stapler out of young children's reach.
  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.


Step 1 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 1. Start out with an A4, Letter size, or any rectangular sheet of paper or cardstock. Red and yellow are preferred colors for a Chinese-themed lantern, but you can always choose any color you like.
Step 2 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 2. Cut a 1-inch wide strip off on one short side. Set this aside for the handle.
Step 3 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 3. Fold the paper in half, lengthwise.
Step 4 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 4. Draw a horizontal line one inch from the long edge opposite the fold.

*This line is just a guide for cutting and may not be necessary for older kids.
Step 5 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 5. Starting from the folded edge, cut a straight line about an inch from one short edge, all the way up to the horizontal line.
Step 6 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 6. Continue to cut more straight lines about 1 inch apart until you reach the opposite short edge of the paper. Remember that the horizontal line marks the point where you stop cutting each straight line.
Step 7 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 7. Unfold the paper. The paper will have several vertical slits along the middle. Erase any pencil marks or re-fold the crease the opposite way to hide the pencil marks at the back.
Step 8a Chinese Paper Lantern craft 8. Decorating the lantern is optional but if you wish to jazz up yours, here are some ideas you can try:

a.) Make a border by painting with any water-based paint or coloring with crayons or oil pastels.
Step 8b Chinese Paper Lantern craft b.) Create patterns and details with glitter glue, puffy paint, or markers.
Step 8c Chinese Paper Lantern craft c.) Glue on a strip of gift wrap paper, patterned paper, fabric, lace, washi tape, or a wide ribbon to make a border.
Step 8d Chinese Paper Lantern craft d.) Add texture by gluing on materials like craft foam or felt shapes, small buttons, beads, sequins, ribbon, lace, etc. Do not glue on materials that are too heavy for your paper though.

Take note to leave at least a half-inch of undecorated area on one top corner. This space will allow you to connect the two edges of the paper to form a lantern.
Step 9 Chinese Paper Lantern craft Ask for an adult's help.9. Form the paper into a tube shape to transform it into a lantern. Overlap the long edges at least a half-inch. Staple or tape the top and bottom corners.
Step 10 Chinese Paper Lantern craft 10. Glue on the paper handle from Step 2. Decorate the handle if you like.

Once the glue dries, hang the paper lantern as a festive Chinese New Year decoration.

More Ideas

Red Chinese paper lantern with sequins Instead of paper, you can use a length of ribbon, lace or fabric for the handle.
Chinese paper lantern with streamers Cut strips of crepe paper and glue these along the inside of the lantern's bottom edge. These streamers will make the lanterns move gracefully with the wind.
Pastel-colored paper lanterns Besides the typical red and yellow Chinese lanterns, you can make them in your favorite colors or in hues that go with a particular occasion (e.g. orange and black for Halloween).
Blue paper lantern You can also decorate the strips in betwen the slits of your lantern. Glue on small paper or fabric shapes, or draw designs with markers or crayons.