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Create traditional paper lanterns in miniature size with our printable template. These are fun to make at any time of year but we’ve made them as a Christmas tree ornament

The finished lanterns can be hung on the Christmas tree with an LED candle inside or used as a mantlepiece decoration.

This easy kids craft is perfect for kids aged preschool and up, and makes great fine motor skill practice with simple cutting, folding and sticking together.

This craft was originally created in 2013 and has been updated and reshared for today’s audience.

Paper lanterns hanging on tree

You can’t beat the classics when it comes to crafting! Paper lanterns are a nostalgic craft I remember making – and loving – many time as a child.

This time we’ve made them in a miniature size – perfect for sitting a small LED candle inside (I would not recommend using real candles for obvious reasons).

They give a happy Christmas glow on the shelf where they sit, and the pretend candles inside look so real.

I was happy to be able to share this much loved, simple and popular craft with my preschool-aged girls, who are proud of the lanterns they made almost all by themselves. Here is how we made them…

template to make paper lanterns

You will need

Paper Lantern Template printed out on paper or card stock (card stock is best but paper will do)
• Scissors
• double sided tape
• Decorative (washi) tape
• milk bottle lids (one per lantern)
• butter knife, cutting mat and metal ruler for scoring
• LED tealight candles (optional)

How to

  1. I recommend scoring the fold lines before making the lanterns. To do this use a blunt butter knife to make a dent in it along the fold lines with a metal ruler. This will make it much easier to fold and give the lantern clean lines when finished. Then fold both forwards and backwards on the lines you’ve just scored. Big kids could obviously do this part themselves but for younger kids like mine you will need to do the scoring for them.
  2. Cut the rectangle shape of the lantern out and then fold in half and cut along the black lines. Unfold and you have the makings of your lantern.
  3. Put double sided tape around the outside of a standard milk bottle cap.
  4. Wrap the paper lantern around the milk bottle cap and stick in place. You can use a small pice of double sided tape to stick at the top also. Then stick a strip of the washi tape around the base and top for decoration and to give it extra strength. To make the handle stick a piece of washi tape over the strip marked “handle” on the template, cut it out and attach to the lantern with double sided tape.

kid making paper lanterns

making paper lanterns with kids

milk bottle lid with double sided tape – base for paper lantern

Placing an LED candle inside a paper lantern

So easy! How adorable are these this kid-made ones?

cute kid made paper lanterns

mini paper lanterns with printable template

Here they are lit up at night… so pretty!

paper lanterns glowing with candles

Doesn’t it take you back?

How to make paper lanterns

kid-made paper lantern craft with LED candles inside