How to Make Round Paper Lanterns

Sharon Sweeny

Paper lanterns make wonderful party decorations. You can make your own round paper lanterns using a paper mache technique. Instead of using old newspapers, you use rice paper in a single layer to form the lantern.

Unlike traditional paper mache that is opaque from the use of old newspapers, the rice paper makes the finished lantern transparent.


Make a series of lanterns and fasten each lantern over a single light on a string of clear Christmas lights.

  1. Inflate balloon. Tie a string around the lip of the balloon and suspend so you can access all sides of it.

  2. Tear the rice paper into ½ to 1 inch strips long enough to cover the balloon from the lip where the string is attached at the top of the balloon to the bottom of the balloon.

  3. Make a paper mache solution by mixing one part water and one part flour. Stir until it is smooth and the lumps are gone.

  4. Dip a strip of rice paper into the paper mache solution and run the strip between two fingers to remove excess solution.

  5. Lay one end of the paper strip near the lip of the balloon and smooth it down along the longitudinal length of the balloon, ending at the polar opposite side of the balloon. Repeat with additional strips, overlapping the edges of the strips only slightly, until the balloon is completely covered with paper strips.

  6. Pop balloon. Remove balloon residue from inside of lantern.

  7. Cut a small circular opening in the top of the lantern.

  8. Attach a string to either side of the top opening for hanging the lantern.

  9. Insert a battery-operated candle into the lantern. If desired, secure candle to the lantern: Use a piece of tape rolled into a cylinder with the sticky side out and stick it to the bottom of the candle.