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Upcycling for St. Martin’s Day: make a lantern from milk carton for the St. Martin’s procession

The Saint Martin lantern parades are allowed again this year! If your child does not yet have a lantern for November 11, 2021, get to work this weekend and make one together. With us you will find a variety of ideas and instructions , for which different materials are used. In this post we will show you how to make the lantern from milk carton and decorate it as you like. Let’s go!

Make a lantern for St. Martin’s Day from a tetrapak

Upcycling ideas for lanterns for St. Martin's parade from milk cartons

Kids love upcycling and will surely love this craft project! It involves using empty milk cartons to turn them into pretty lanterns for the upcoming St. Martin’s Day. This is also a great last minute idea that takes very little time.

Idea for lantern from milk carton with stars and moon

It’s actually not hard at all to make a lantern out of milk carton . You just need to follow a few simple steps. In the first place, it is important to wash out the milk carton well and let it dry. The easiest way to do this is to cut off a part (for example, the bottom or the top).

Next, paint the milk carton. Here it is worthwhile to first apply one or two layers of white paint as a primer, and only then use other colors.

After that, pre-draw motifs of your choice on the package and cut them out. If you wish, at this point you can glue tracing paper of any color to the inside.

Make lantern from milk carton without removing upper part

To make the lantern glow, you also need to put a little light inside. To do this, you’d better cut off the spout and pass the light through the resulting hole. If you cut off the top completely, this step will be omitted.

Now we have collected some interesting upcycling ideas and instructions for St. Martin’s Day, with which you can recycle the unusable milk cartons.

Make autumn leaves lantern from milk carton

clean milk carton and cut out


For this project, in addition to milk cartons, you will need box cutters, white tape or white paint, hole punch, string, contact paper, autumn leaves and LED tea lights.

Here’s how:

First, use the box cutter to cut four rectangular sections from each side of the milk carton. Then use white paint or white tape to make the outside of your lantern a solid color.

Decorate milk cartons with autumn leaves

Then cut eight pieces of contact paper that are a few millimeters larger than the rectangles you cut out. Tape the contact paper to the inside of the box with the sticky side facing out. Reinforce the sections on the inside edges with tape.

Then it’s time to decorate! Let each child decorate their own lantern as they please by carefully pressing the colorful leaves onto each side of the milk carton. Then cover the sides with the remaining four sections of contact paper to secure the leaves to the lantern.

Punch holes for the lantern stick


Punch holes in the top of the milk carton and tie the string to act as a handle for the lantern. You can make a piece of tape to hold the top of the lantern closed.

St Martin's lantern craft with autumn leaves

If you don’t have an electric lantern stick with a light available, insert an LED tea light into the milk carton. All that’s left to do on St. Martin’s Day is hang the lantern from the pole and your child is ready for the parade.

Make your own lantern houses with tetra packs

Make lanterns as mini houses from milk cartons for St. Martin's Day

These pretty little house lanterns with small windows and doors look like they are inhabited by fairies and gnomes. To make similar lanterns yourself, you can take a look at the following step-by-step instructions. But first, gather the following materials:

  • empty tetrapaks
  • white spray paint
  • double-sided adhesive tape
  • ruler
  • colored transparent paper
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • cutter knife
  • battery operated tea light or lantern stick with light bulb

How to make lanterns from milk cartons spray white

1. Rinse out the milk cartons and let them dry. Then spray the cartons with white paint to cover the imprint and let the paint dry overnight. Apply several coats if needed.

Lantern from milk carton house itself make openings cut out

2. Draw windows and doors on the house and cut them out using a ruler and a sharp cutter knife. If you will be using an electric tea light later to illuminate the lantern, make an opening now on one side of the house large enough for the tea light to fit through.

Glue lantern from milk carton instructions colorful tissue paper inside

3. Cut the tracing paper to the size and shape of the windows. Then put some double-sided tape around the edges of the paper and attach it to the right place on the inside of the box. An easier way to do this is to cut the bottom side open on three sides and feed the paper through over the bottom into the milk carton. When done, tape the bottom in place with a piece of tape.

House lantern craft from milk cartons

The house is ready! To attach the lantern to the pole, punch a hole in each side of the milk carton and make a wire handle. Place a tea light in the lantern, or use a hanging lantern stick and insert it into the milk carton through the spout.

Great ideas for DIY lanterns for the St. Martin’s Day parade.

Ideas for lanterns from milk cartons for St. Martin's Day

When crafting milk carton lanterns for St. Martin, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity! You can colorfully paint the rectangular tetrapaks, decorate them with beautiful motifs or even turn them into cute animals. Here are some more ideas for inspiration.

Simple DIY lantern from milk carton

Simple lantern craft from milk carton paint black

For a quick and easy last minute idea, you can cut out the sides and top of your milk carton and simply glue some thin colored paper to the inside.

Making lantern from milk carton – Cute owl.

Lantern from Tetrapak tinker owl instruction

If your child wants to have an animal lantern, you can transform the milk carton into the chosen creature. For example, this owl would be a super cute and at the same time simple idea.

Make Minion lanterns with empty milk cartons

Minion lantern craft for Saint Martin parade instructions milk cartons upcycling

Is your child a fan of the Minions? Then you can upcycle the empty milk cartons and make fun lanterns out of them.

Making lanterns for the St. Martin’s Day parade is part of our list of ideas for kids’ activities in November . The kids will have a lot of fun participating in the crafts. If you’re just looking for ideas on what exciting things to do with the kids this time of year, be sure to take a look at our suggestions.