Pretty Paper Lanterns?

Yes please!

Look at how beautiful these paper cuts are. Look at the play of light and shadow on the door. Feeling a little bit like I need a whole lot more of these in my life. And they were so very simple. Though, sadly, require an electronic cutter of some sort. Honestly, I’m having a bit of a struggle falling into an agreeable relationship with my Cameo. Sometimes it’s my best friend. Sometimes I’d really like to send it back. Hopefully I’m starting to get a grip on it. Quick story:

For this project I used a variety of colors from the same brand of cardstock [American Craft]. The first cut turned out beautifully! Buoyed by my success I forged ahead with the second sheet. A complete failure. As I do with most cases of failure such as this, I asked my super-duper husband what could have possibly gone wrong. “How do I fix this problem? You, great hero of all things arts + crafts.” To which, under most circumstances, he replies, “Well, you could try _______________.” And then I have to ask him, “Do you even know what I’m working on?” He usually doesn’t. But I tell him. And he usually doesn’t have much to offer by way of help. But this story has a different ending…

My husband is a CNC machinist. CNC = Computer Numerically Controlled. Tool paths and x/y/z axes are right up his alley. When I explained that, for no apparent reason, the cutter wouldn’t cut cleanly, he came over to have a look. First thing he looked at? My paper. Who knew that within the same type/brand of paper there would be varying thicknesses? Enough variation that one would cut perfectly and the next would be terrible? My husband, that’s who. He has this handy dandy tool called a micrometer. It measures tiny things. Like paper thickness. Nice. So long story shortened, the rest of the cuts? Beautiful. And we are working on making a list of paper type/thickness and the correct setting that go along with them. Good-bye hesitation.

But I guess you’re here for the DIY…

You will need: An electronic cutter, cut file:  Samantha Walker | Digital Dies 8 Egg Boxes, paper in a variety of colors [I used 5 different shades of pink],  a circle punch approximately 1/2″ [though scissors will work as well], adhesive, string of lights [I ended up with a string that had some clear lights and some frosted. I loved the effect].

  1. Choose your paper/colors. Rumor has it American Craft card stock is the best out there for use with cutters. I’ve only tried three or four different brands, but so far I’m inclined to agree.
  2. Cut it out. Samantha’s cut files include SVG, AIv8, PNG, and .studio files, so it’s compatible with quite a few of the electronic cutters out there. I didn’t resize the files, but I did situate them to fit 2 per sheet [12 x 12] and I chose to use only two of the eight patterns. That way I was able to get one of each pattern from each color of paper.
  3. Use the circle punch to cut out a small section of the top flap as shown here:
  4. Fold along perforated edges.
  5. Lay out your string of lights and decide on lantern positioning. Once the lanterns are attached to the lights they get pretty beat up [and start to come unglued ;)] if they get taken off and moved around.
  6. Apply adhesive to the outside of flaps for the top and inside of flaps for the bottom. You’re going to want to apply the adhesive all at once. It’s a bit too awkward and doesn’t stick as well otherwise. I used a Tombow dot runner. It was okay. The only downfall was at the close. That final opening gets handled a bit too much. I’m not sure if any adhesive would be able to avoid the loss of stickiness. Maybe a tape that had a peel away backing for just that final opening? The other parts were fine with the dot runner [and even at the close, some weren’t so bad as others. It all comes down to how much handling it gets]. If you try something else it let me know.
  7. Assemble. Hopefully this doesn’t come out as nonsense… You’re going to want to fix the top flaps together first [not including the final flaps where the closure is]. This is done by folding the flaps inward and pressing together. Next fix the bottom flaps together by folding the flaps outward and press together. Leave those last two top flaps and the closure open for now. Repeat with remaining lanterns.
  8. Attach the lanterns to the lights by closing the last flaps around the light. Again, hopefully this isn’t nonsense… You will need an extra set of hands or something to  hold the light steady and in an upright position while attaching the lantern. Slip the lantern over the light and position so that the cut out opening encircles the neck of wires that enter at the back end of the light. Fasten the closure and press together the two final flaps. This is awkward and it’s tempting to trim away the flaps, but when I tried that there wasn’t anything to captivate the light and hold the lantern on, so I’d advise against it unless you think of a different way to captivate the light. Repeat with remaining lanterns.  
  9. Plug in and enjoy.

14 thoughts on “Pretty Paper Lanterns?

  1. Pingback: Happy Blogiversary! Let's Celebrate! | purdueavenue

  2. Ha! I intended to hang them in my girlie’s bedroom [she won’t sleep without a light on], but the super duper husband said it’s too bright. Killjoy. 🙂

  3. These are stunning! I also lack in the silhouette department, but maybe I can convince a friend. I think they would be darling as a night light in a nursery. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. I am in love with these!!! I don’t have a sillohette (sp?) but I have friends that do!!! Thanks for the tutorial – and yay for a hubby that doesn’t stare at you like you’re speaking in foreign tongues!!

Comments Make Me Smile...Please Leave Yours...