Jul 26, 2012

Craft Lab: Teen Lantern Workshop

Tricky paper folds, wine glasses and hot wax combine to make beautiful lanterns!
Craft Lab: Teen Lantern Workshop
beeswax or paraffin
large glass jar or tin can
electric teakettle
water balloons (fill them using a squeezable plastic water bottle like bicyclists use!)
wine glasses
battery-operated tea light "candles"

Lantern #1:  Dodecahedron Star Lantern
(tutorial at the link above)
This first lantern has a lot of steps and is a bit time-consuming to make.  Although the tutorial calls for you to oil the paper beforehand, we skipped that step and it worked fine (in fact, it was much easier to glue!) but it might glow better with oiled paper.  I think only 2 of the 4 participants in the class actually finished this one.  The others abandoned it half-way through.

Lantern #2:  Wine Glass Lantern
(pattern and tutorial at the link above)
This simple lantern is actually just a paper shade on a wineglass.  To make it fancier, the shade could be decorated or cut out of a decorative paper (an old book, perhaps?), but I'd recommend only using electric candles (not real fire).  Some of the teens seemed hesitant to bring a wineglass home (I know, edgy librarians giving out wineglasses to teens!).

Lantern #3:  Water Balloon Luminaries
(tutorial at the link above)

This lantern was the run-away favorite.  I pre-filled water balloons and heated some wax in a large glass jar (set inside a water-filled electric teakettle).  Participants dipped the water balloons in as many times as they wanted to (more dipping = thicker walls), then set them on a flat surface to achieve a flat bottom the lantern could rest on.  When the lanterns are completely cooled, simply snip the top off the balloon, the water gushes out (into a pitcher or bowl!), the balloon shrivels up, and you're left with a nice little tealight holder!  Interesting effects can be achieved by dipping the balloon at an angle or two (see the last photo above) or spinning the balloon as you pull it up out of the wax (still inside the jar--you get bumps!).

 Lantern #4 (we didn't get to this one, but you can see my sample!):  Paper Star Lantern 
(tutorial at the link above)

This one was a bit too complicated and we ran out of time.  But it still looks cool and I thought you might enjoy seeing a link to the instructions (above).

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