Adele has been a youth services librarian for 25 years and a mother to a daughter from China for 20 years.
Lantern Festival in China
The Chinese New Year in 2022 is assigned as the Year of the Tiger. The holiday begins on Tuesday, February 1st. It will culminate 2 weeks later with the celebration of the Lantern Festival during the full moon.
On the last day, people come together for the Lantern Festival to admire a variety of lighted, colored lanterns, appreciate the full moon, set off fireworks and watch lion and dragon dances.
This article contains several templates you can use to make your own lanterns.
Artwork is used under license from iStock and Pixabay. You may copy these for individual or educational use. Commercial use is prohibited.
If You Would Like Patterns for More Crafts
I have articles with templates for even more kinds of lanterns, easy coloring pages, greeting cards, bookmarks, lucky red envelopes, and all kinds of other easy and inexpensive children’s crafts. To find them, enter an internet search for “Adele Jeunette” and “Year of the Tiger” and you will find them.
Square Box Lanterns
These tabletop lanterns are made with jumbo craft sticks which are glued together to make a cube. After assembling the cube, you can attach pictures to the sides using the printable templates below, or by drawing your own pictures.
Materials for Square Box Lanterns
16 large craft sticks (6” X ¾ “)
Glue gun and hot glue sticks
Printer paper or parchment paper
Battery-operated light (You can use tea lights, but I find that these tap lights are brighter.)
Markers or crayons
(Optional) Acrylic paint or washi tape (Metallic washi tape is pictured in the sample at the top of this article.)
Templates for the Square Box Lanterns
Here are the Square Box Tiger Lantern Templates. Be sure to tell your printer which page to print, and remember to print out 2 copies so that you will have enough for all 4 sides.
Photos of Each Template
Below, you will see a photo of what each template looks like. Click on a thumbnail to make the photo bigger.
1. Glue 4 craft sticks together to make a square
Lay two parallel sticks down to make the top and bottom and glue the sides on top of them. (When it is time to glue the squares together into a cube, you will match the flat sides of each square together.)
2. Following the directions in step 1, make 3 more squares.
These will form the 4 sides of your lantern. You can make one more square, if you like, to form the base on the bottom of the lantern. You only need this base if you intend to carry the lantern from place to place and want to have a place for the light inside to rest.
3. Glue the squares together to make a box.
Make sure the flat sides of each square line up so that you can make a seam along the whole length of the craft stick.
4. If desired, decorate the craft sticks by either painting them with acrylic paint or covering them with decorative tape.
You may need two coats of the paint. If you use tape, you may need to overlap the tape to cover the whole stick.
5. Print out template you wish to use.
Note that you will need two copies in order to cover four sides.
6. Color the pictures, if needed, and cut out each template.
Some of the templates are already in color, so all you will need to do is cut them out. Cut along the dark outer line for each picture.
7. Tape or glue the pictures to the inside of each square
Be sure that they are all facing out and that the tops are all aligned the same way.
Finished Square Box Tiger Lanterns
Rectangular Box Lanterns
The frame for this lantern is made from a large, empty tissue box. You can dis-assemble the box, cut holes for the lantern panels and then print out the templates below to use in the lantern. Then, you reassemble the box. These can sit on the tabletop, or you can attach a string to the top to hang them.
Materials for Rectangular Box Lanterns
1 empty facial tissue box measuring 4.5” X 4 .5” X 9”
Glue or tape
Self-healing cutting mat
Printer paper or parchment paper (See instructions for the square lantern, above, for a link to the paper I used.)
Battery-operated light (You can use tea lights, but I find that tap lights are brighter. See instructions for the square lantern, above, for a link to the tap light I used.)
Markers or crayons
Templates for the Rectangular Box Lanterns
Here are the Rectangular Box Tiger Lantern Templates. The last page, which is page 9, has the template you need to guide you in cutting the rectangular openings into each side of the tissue box. Be sure to tell your printer which page to print, and remember to print out 4 copies so that you will have enough for all 4 sides.
Photo of Each Template
1. Gently pull apart the ends of the tissue box where it is glued, and then lay the cardboard out flat.
Be sure to check that the box you are using has similar dimensions to the one listed in the "Materials" section.
2. Use the template as a guide to cut rectangular openings into each side.
Place the self-healing mat under the cardboard. Using the rectangular lantern template and a straight edge, cut a rectangle out of the center of each long side of the box with the craft knife. (You do need to use quite a bit of pressure to make the cut. You can also cut a hole in the center big enough to insert scissors, and then use the scissors to do the rest of the cutting.)
3. Paint the outside of the box with the acrylic paint
You will probably need two coats to cover it thoroughly. I used a combination of red, brown, and black paint to get this color that looks a little like red Chinese lacquer.
4. Print out the templates you would like for the sides of the lantern
Be sure to direct your printer to print out just the pages you want. Note that you will need to print 4 copies of the template so that you will have enough for all 4 sides.
5. Color the pictures if needed, then cut out along the dark outside lines.
Some of the templates are already in color, and you just need to cut them out.
6. Tape each picture to one side of the lantern.
You may find that one of the sides is smaller than the others. Simply center the picture and trim to size.
7. Glue the top of the box back together.
Leave the bottom open so that you can set the light inside and then fold the two bottom pieces underneath it. You can secure them with a piece of tape. (Or, an alternate plan would be to cut off flaps on the bottom if you plan to set the lantern on a surface.)
Finished Rectangular Box Tiger Lanterns
© 2021 Adele Jeunette