Prepare your child for the lantern run on St. Martin’s Day by making a pretty lantern out of balloons! This tutorial is uncomplicated and also a lot of fun. Try it out for yourself, but hurry, because there are only a few days left until St. Martin’s Day!
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Just before St. Martin, you can find ready-made lanterns almost everywhere. That’s no fun at all! It would be much better to make the lantern yourself and involve the child in the process. Promise, it’s not complicated at all! In fact, you can use very simple materials for it, such as paper plates or even a balloon. Have I piqued your interest? Well, roll up your sleeves and get to work!
How do you make a lantern out of balloons?
Okay, work is a bit of an exaggeration, because this project is super easy and very fun. Some mess is inevitable in the process, but that’s exactly what the kids will love about it. The technique used is called papier-mâché and it makes for some great crafts . Here are the necessary materials as well as the craft instructions for a lantern made of balloons.
- Balloon (one balloon per lantern)
- tissue paper, cut or torn into pieces
- white craft glue
- String or wire for the handle
- A battery-operated tea light (for fire safety)
- A bowl or cardboard ring or jar with a wide rim to stand the balloon on while you work (optional, but helpful!)
- Prepare the tissue paper pieces and mix the glue with water in a 1:1 ratio.
- Inflate the balloon to the desired size and place it in the bowl or stand.
- Cover about 3/4 of the balloon with the glue mixture and then add the first layer of tissue paper. Continue until the balloon is covered with 3-4 layers of tissue paper.
- (Bonus step: wrap a string around the width of the balloon, about 2/3 of the way up from the bottom between the first and second layers of tissue paper. This will create a tighter edge when you attach the handle. Cover the string with the remaining layers of tissue paper.
- You can also dip yarn/leaves into the glue mixture and place them on top of the tissue paper for an interesting effect).
- Once you are happy with the design of your lantern, let the glue dry. This can take up to a day.
- When the tissue paper is completely dry, pop the balloon. It should peel off easily from the tissue paper, but a little scraping is also okay to remove it.
- Cut a clean edge around the outside edge of the tissue paper (about 5 mm above the string edge, if made).
- Poke two holes on each side of the lantern for the handle, about 1 cm below the edge (or just below the cord border, if made).
- Run string or wire through the holes for the handle.
- Insert your battery-operated tea light and wait for darkness to illuminate the magic of your tissue paper balloon lantern!
Decorate balloon lantern like animals: Ideas to try
A colorful lantern is great, but an animal lantern is even better ! If you have time and desire, you can further decorate your balloon lanterns and make pretty lantern animals! The choice of ideas is really big. Here are a few inspirations that you can consider.
- Monster lantern: This idea is mega cool and will please any little boy or girl. Monsters are easy to make – it only requires a little imagination. The main features of a monster are a big mouth and teeth, crazy eyes, ears and hair if you wish. You can make a monster lantern green or blue, for example, but colorful versions are also good.
- Sheep lantern: a fluffy little sheep is a very cute idea for the lantern made of balloons. For crafting, you should first make a white lantern from the balloon and then glue cotton balls to it. For the head, it’s best to print out a suitable template and for the legs you can simply use folded paper strips. What a great idea!
- Piggy Lantern: Piggies are cute and also easy to craft. All you need is the right facial features (a snout, pointy ears, little eyes) and a curly tail, for example, from a pipe cleaner. The appropriate colors for this lantern are pink and pink, of course.
- Penguin lantern: if you are looking for a simple alternative that doesn’t require crafting and gluing, you can make a penguin lantern using only colors. First make the lantern with white tissue paper and after the glue dries out and the balloon is popped, paint the lantern in the colors of the penguin – white and black. Then, using orange paint, paint on the beak and feet.
Are the balloon lanterns suitable for the garden?
Without any treatment, you can not leave these lanterns outdoors. But a simple trick makes them waterproof, so you can decorate your garden, balcony or house entrance with them. All you should do is spray the finished lanterns inside and out with a coat of clear varnish. Also do not forget: in this case, make a small drainage hole in the bottom of the lantern, so that water that got inside can drain away.