18 August 2011

Paper bag lanterns

It's raining outside, so there's not much hope for long summer evenings spent in the garden at the moment, but these lanterns looked so pretty, I wanted to try making them. Even if they only make it as far as my kitchen, I still love them!

Mixing naked flames and paper obviously has it's risks, so don't leave the lanterns unattended and keep small children somewhere else. If you want to be super safe, you could use LED lights instead of the tea lights. Just be sensible. 

Paper bag lanterns
White paper bags (I used 130mm x 215mm greaseproof bags which I found in Asda)
Hole punch
Hole punch reinforcer stickers
Craft knife
Wire cut into 30cm sections (I used 1.6mm diameter)
Piece of thick cardboard the diameter of the bags
Tea lights
Long matches

Fold out the top inch or so of the paper bag al the way round, smoothing down the edges, so you have a crisp fold. It's a bit fiddly, but turn out the first bit, then roll the rest down.

Slide the piece of cardboard into the flat bag, so you have a thick surface to cut on, without going right through both sides of the bag. Lightly trace your stencil onto the bag, and cut around it.

Open the bag up, making sure the folds are crisp and the base is flat.

At the top of  the bag, punch a hole on both sides and reinforce them with the stickers.

Use the wire to form a handle, looping it through each hole, and twisting it at the end to secure it on both sides.
Put a tea light in the base, and hang it up somewhere pretty.

ps - if your tea light is new, light it for the first time before you light it in the bag. It can take a while to light the first time, so it gets pretty hot on your fingers if you don't!


  1. These are lovely! I'd love to have a go at making them, how much were the greaseproof bags? did you get the tea lights from ASDA too?

  2. Hi Janet, I'm glad you like the lanterns. They'd be great for a garden party.

    The bags were really cheap - only a couple of pounds and I think my tea lights were from Ikea, but I'm sure they sell them in Asda too.

    I hope you enjoy making them.

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