Reuse Paper, Save Energy: Chinese Recycled Paper Lanterns

The museum is proud to announce a new partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric that will help you conserve electricity during this summer when demand is at its peak. Each week, we will highlight a different sustainable craft or an energy-saving invention from our collection. For more energy-saving tips see This week, we will show you how to make Chinese lanterns out of scrap paper. 

This is a creative way to reuse old paper products without using any electricity. We will be using leftover tickets from our annual banquet, but any rectangular scraps of card stock or thick paper will work fine.

-13 rectangular pieces of stiff paper (the exact size isn’t important, postcard size or smaller works well)
-Scotch tape
-Two lengths of string approximately 12 inches long

1. Take one rectangle and fold all four corners inward. Keep in mind the side facing up will be more visible than the other side. We chose to face the more colorful side out.

2. Repeat step one until you have folded 12 out of the 13 rectangles. 

 3. Staple or tape the folded corners of four rectangles together. So the space between them forms a square

4. Repeat step 3 with four more rectangles
5. Connect the two pieces with four rectangles placed vertically  

6. Making a tassel:    
                a. Take the last rectangle and fold it in half long ways.
                b. Unfold it and fold each side inward to meet the center fold. 
                     It should now be folded into four sections.
                c.  Tape the rectangle into one long, rectangular tube.
                d. Make one-inch long cuts along all four corners of one end.
                e. Fold two opposite sides down so they are hidden inside the
                   tube, and tape the other two together to form a handle.
                f. Cut 1- 2 inch slits into the bottom of the tassel to form fringe.  

 7. Tie one piece of string into a loop and insert the knotted end into one of the junctions of three rectangles. Tape the string to the inside of one of the rectangles. This will be your hanging string.

 8. Pass the second piece of string through the handle on your tassel and tie it into a loop. 

 9. Insert the loop of the second piece of string into the junction opposite the hanging string. Tape the string to the inside of one of the rectangles. 

 10. Hang up your new lantern!

 11. Take a picture and post it to the museum’s Facebook page to show off your masterpiece.


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