How to Make a Chinese Lantern from Hong Bao
Red lanterns are popular decorative items in China. You can find red lanterns, small or large, globular or square hung along the streets, in parks, in shops, and in Chinese houses. Almost every major Chinese festival features lanterns, especially during Chinese New Year, and, of course, during Lantern Festival. Here’s a guide for how to make your own recycled red lantern with your left over hong bao (red packets), which we are sure you have ;) In the West, you can find hong bao in Chinese food stores and some restaurants. During Chinese New Year, hong bao are widely sold in almost all the shops in big cities and small towns. What you need here are just the most common and cheapest ones.
What You Need?
Red packets: 44 pieces (the same size),
or 44 pieces of rectangle red paper (a bit thick, and 8 pieces should be a bit longer than others)
- Manila cards: 8 pieces ( a bit thicker card is OK, of a size that can be put into a red packet)
- Adhesive or a roll of double-sided adhesive tape
- Red crewel yarn (red string): 1 medium tassel and 8 small tassels (if you have no tassel, you can cut and bundle the red crewel yarn into medium and small tassels)
- Flowers and beads: 24 flowers (replace them with other decorative items)
- Time: about two and a half hours
1. Fold 16 red packets into 18 isosceles triangles, and remember to crease the edge well. The left photo below shows the back, and the right one shows the front.
2. Put the 8 pieces of Manila cards into 8 red packets.
1. Arrange 24 packets into 3 rows, with each row having 8 red packets (the 8 with the Manila cards should be in the middle row), and tape them orderly on the joint of the two rows.
2. Turn over the packets and seal the opening, especially for the middle row.
3. Staple on the folding line of the end of the red packets, making this end the upper end.
4. On the upper end, insert red crewel (with a medium tassel at the end) and staple the opening.
5. On another end (bottom end) insert small tassels on the lower part, and staple on the folding line of the packets.
6. The main part of the lantern is done. Set it aside.
7. Take another 16 red packets, and fold each one into 4 parts.
8. Apply adhesive on one end part (as in the following photo).
9. Fold it into a triangle, for a total number of 16 triangles.
10. Apply adhesive to one side and joint 4 triangles at the middle of the lantern.
11. Joint another 4 triangles on the packet after the next one. Finish the rest of the triangles.
12. Unseal the bottom edges of the 4 un-done packets (so that these packet are a bit longer than a normal red packet), and join them at the middle of the lantern. Remember only the two ends, so that they can form an arc shape.
13. Here comes the decoration step: paste flowers on the 16 points of the middle row.
14. Lastly, staple the corners together, both upper and the bottom, and your red lantern is done! You can affix it high on a wall or eave, which will make your house more festival.
The finished Chinese lantern
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