Arts·CBC Arts Makes

Learn how to make these sparkly paper lanterns for Lunar New Year (and beyond!)

PUFF Paddy shows you how to create decorative mini lanterns, step by step.

PUFF Paddy shows you how to create decorative mini lanterns, step by step

Learn how to make these sparkly paper lanterns for Lunar New Year (and beyond!)

3 years ago
Duration 5:45
PUFF Paddy shows you how to create decorative mini lanterns, step by step.

In CBC Arts Makes, artists guide you step by step through creating your own masterpieces at home.

Hi! I'm PUFF Paddy and I'm an artist from Toronto. For the past two years, I've designed and hosted a paper lantern workshop called Yue Moon with Chinatown BIA and STEPS Initiative. We've gotten to make art and create a beautiful public art installation to celebrate Lunar New Year in a big way.

On February 12th, we will be showcasing our latest lantern installation in Toronto's Chinatown. We hope this will bring people together for a luminous Lunar New Year experience.

If you missed our programs, I've got you covered! I am going to teach you how to make a mini paper lantern inspired by last year's paper lantern design. These mini lanterns look so cute and they are a perfect little gift to give away. This is a great way to decorate your home to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Let's get started!

What you'll need

Age range: All ages (as long as an adult is around to supervise the hot glue gun)

Time commitment: 45-60 minutes

The tools you'll need to make your lantern (CBC Arts)


  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Glue stick
  • Hot glue gun
  • Stapler
  • Scotch tape
  • Single hole punch
  • Scissors
  • 2'' paper punch or 2'' bottle cap
The materials you'll need to make your lantern (CBC Arts)


  • Colourful construction paper (approximately 3-6 full sheets, depending on how many colours you want to use!)

  • 4 x 5'' black bristol board

  • 2x 1cm wide paper strips (around 6" long)

  • 1 pipe cleaner

  • A pack of gold tinsels

Step-by-step instructions

1. The first step is to mark where your colourful paper will go on the black bristol board. Using your ruler and pencil, mark a vertical line on your black bristol board, about 1'' from the edge of the board. Repeat on the other side of the board.

The first step is to mark your bristol board (CBC Arts)

2. Make ⅛ inch marks all the way along the pencil lines from the last step.

3. Time to create your circles! Before you begin to cut out your circles, choose your favourite colours for your lantern. Traditionally Chinese lanterns are red and gold to bring good luck for the New Year. But for this lantern I like to use more colours to bring brightness and joy into my life!

For faster and more precise results, I would recommend using the 2'' circle paper puncher. If you don't have a paper puncher, you can use a 2'' bottle cap to trace your circles. Cut out 30 to 35 colourful circles.

(Tip: When you are cutting out your circles, remember to take your time and breathe. This requires focus and concentration; it can be repetitive and relaxing.)

Cut out circles using your favourite colours (CBC Arts)

4. Fold each circle in half.

5. Using your glue stick, glue the folded circles along the marked guidelines. The circles should overlap each other.

Glue your circles along the marked lines (CBC Arts)

6. Take your two paper strips and trace a line on the black bristol board above and below where the folded circles are glued down. With your scissors, cut along the lines you just traced.

7. Now watch your lantern take shape! Roll the bristol board into a circular shape and staple the top and bottom together. With your glue stick, glue the first and the last folded circles together so the lantern looks seamless.

Roll your bristol board to give your lantern a circular shape (CBC Arts)

8. On the top rim of the lantern, use your single hole punch to make two holes opposite one another for your handle. 

9. With your hot glue gun, place glue around the top and bottom rim of the lantern and place the paper strips over the glue. 

Punch holes and place glue over the top and bottom rims of your lantern (CBC Arts)

10. Use your hole punch and make the holes again for your handle.

11. Loop your pipe cleaner through the holes to make your handle.

12. Unpack the gold tinsels and cut out about 8 to 10 pieces of tinsel. They should be 15" long. Carefully stack the loose tinsels and fold the stack in half around the bottom loop handle. Use the Scotch tape and staple it together to make it more secure.

After all of these steps, here's the final product! (CBC Arts)

Enjoy the sparkle and magic of your mini lantern!

The mini lanterns bring so much colour and brightness into a space. You can hang a lantern by the window and watch the sun reflect on the gold tinsel. Sparkly and magical!

If you try this project at home, we'd love to see it! Share your work with us by tagging @CBCArts, @paddy_leung and #CBCArtsMakes.


PUFF Paddy is a queer Asian-Canadian multidisciplinary artist and arts educator based in Toronto. Paddy is known for creating whimsical, large-scale installations using paper, colourful materials and often from repurposed and recycled materials. PUFF Paddy has exhibited and created installations for the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum, The Drake Hotel, Whippersnapper Gallery, The Theatre Centre, and Toronto Public Library. In recent years, their practice has focused largely on community arts and providing inclusive programming, primarily for youth.

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