The Chinese New Year is a celebration rich in traditions perfect for exploring with kids of all ages. These Chinese paper lanterns made from simple templates are a fun way to learn more about the Spring Lantern Festival.
Chinese paper lanterns and the Lantern Festival…..
The Spring Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. It is the culmination of the two week long Chinese New Year celebration.
The Lantern Festival is a night of celebration with friends and family, eating traditional foods, lion and dragon dances, and releasing colorful lanterns into the night sky. Chinese paper lanterns often bear traditional Chinese imagery such as fruits, flowers, birds, animals, people, and buildings. The colorful paper lanterns can be seen everywhere from shopping malls to parks to personal homes.
Lantern riddles are often written on paper and pasted onto paper lanterns. guessing lantern riddles is an important part of the celebration!
Adding color to your Chinese paper lantern templates…
I’ve made a four page pack of free templates to make it super easy to make your own Chinese lanterns. Two traditional designs (dragon and a cherry blossom design) are included, as well as a blank lantern ready for your own design, and the interior of the lantern.
Print on white paper and add color with markers or paint. The samples below are printed on colored paper with just a few details added with paint markers. I love this method because it provides tons of color just through the use of the colored paper!
The red and gold paper below is from an Astrobrights pack of colored card stock. I love having all those beautiful colors to choose from!
Color or draw first, before cutting!
Cutting your lantern…
Chinese paper lanterns are three dimensional. Transform your flat drawing by cutting on the vertical lines. TO do this fold the paper in half the “hot dog way.” Start cutting on the fold and cut the length of the line, stopping before it gets to the end of the paper.
Cut out the shape for the interior of the lantern. I’ve provided this in the template pack. Imagine that a traditional Chinese paper lantern would have a tiny candle inside. These paper lanterns won’t have a flame but think of the interior paper as a bright “light” that will shine through!
The interior paper is smaller than the outside of the lantern- on purpose. This is what makes the lantern “pop out.” Apply glue to both long edges of the interior. Glue each long edge of the interior to the back of the cut lantern template. Leave the “tabs” on the exterior of the lantern free.
Finishing your Chinese paper lantern…
Fold your lantern gently into a circular shape. Add glue to the small tabs on the outside and use these to secure the lantern. We used paper clips to hold the tabs while glue dried.
Next, you’ll want to add some kind of handle. This could be as simple as adding an additional piece of cut paper. We used a paper punch to create two holes and strung the lantern with a pipe cleaner. Use what you have!
Work alongside me and let’s assemble our lanterns together….
If you’re a visual learner this video is for you! These paper lantern templates take only a few steps to assemble but it’s so much easier to show you than it is to tell you! Lets work together!
Do you love learning through video?
Or get back to basics with my free mini course “Turn a Shape into a Form.” Your kiddo will learn some basic pencil skills to help create the illusion of three dimensions in their drawing!
Want to grab the printable Chinese paper lantern template…
Disclaimer…if you don’t have access to a printer you can absolutely follow these directions and use your own paper/drawing/dimensions. But, in case you don’t want to do all the figuring I’ve provided three free templates for making Chinese paper lanterns. This download contains a dragon, cheery blossoms, and a blank lantern for your own designs as well as the inside shape needed to create the three dimensional lanterns.
If you’d like a copy of these printable Chinese lanterns for your kids to make? These resources are free for Kitchen Table Classroom subscribers.
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After you become a KTC subscriber you’ll also receive a password to my Free Resource Library where you can grab these free Chinese lantern printables browse all the free printables in one easy place! (I’m talking hundreds of free pages!)
More ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year….
Check out this list of books perfect for helping your kiddos learn more about the Chinese New Year celebration. It also comes with a free printable resource to help your kids record what they learn and a Chinese inspired dragon coloring page!