Family Studio Project: Japanese Lantern

Another Family Studio has come and gone, and the Dixon saw so many families eager to craft. Some were familiar faces, but many enjoyed it for the first time. If you missed Family Studio this past Saturday, you can still enjoy our paper lantern craft at home!

We tried to gather inspiration from the ceramic sculptures by artist Jun Kaneko, on view in the Dixon gardens now through November 22. His work features bold colors with geometric patterns, which went beautifully with our Japanese lantern craft. 

The first step in any craft is to gather all of your supplies, and there’s a good chance that you have all of these supplies at home already. You will need: 

-Paper (Copy paper, or even notebook paper will work just fine.) 

-paper strip (You can cut a strip from your paper.) 


-glue (Bottle or stick, it’s up to you.) 

-markers, oil pastels, crayons, or colors pencils 

Step 1:  Decorate your page however you want. You can use markers, oil pastels, crayons, or colored pencils for this.  For my example, I used oil pastels. This is where we really drew inspiration from Jun Kaneko’s geometric patterns. For little ones, this is a great chance to learn about making patterns. A pattern is anything that repeats. 

Step 2:  Fold your paper in half "hot-dog" style. You want to make the long edges of your paper meet, so that your paper is tall and skinny, and your pattern is on the outside. 

Step 3:  Get your scissors and cut your paper, starting from the folded edge. Don’t cut all the way to the other side of you paper, that will just make strips. Make about 7 or 8 cuts across. The more you make, the more sections your lanterns will have later. The closer you cut to the edge of your paper, the wider the sides of your lantern will fall. It’s best to leave at least half an inch. 

Step 4:  Unfold your paper and put a line of glue along one of the short edges of your paper. You can use a bottle of glue or a glue stick, it’s up to you. Remember a little glue goes a long way, or as I’ve heard it said, “One dot, not a lot!” 

Step 5:  This is the most difficult step, especially for younger crafters. You’ll need to roll your paper to make your short sides meet, so you can glue them together. It’s important that you don’t fold your paper this step. If you fold your paper, your lantern will be flat, instead of round. 

Step 6:  If you wanted to, you could stop here. If you want to hang your lantern though, you need to put a dab of glue on each end of your paper strip, and stick it onto your lantern. I glued mine onto the inside, so it didn’t disrupt my pattern. You could glue it onto the outside just as well. You could even decorate it before gluing it on.  

Once you get the hang of it, these can be made pretty quickly. You could use some scrap yarn to string them together for hanging or put them in tree branches for some decoration. Other people had some ideas on how to experiment with this craft as well: use really big paper, use really small paper, string them up with rope lights, you could even use patterned scrapbook paper. Whatever you decide to do with them, get creative and have fun with this craft and your family.

Family Studio is a free drop-in art program for all ages. It happens the first Saturday of every month* from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Come create with us! *There will be no Family Studio for the month of July, in observance of holidays. 

-Florence Brem, Children’s Program Coordinator

Posted by Chantal Drake at 11:48 AM
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