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How To Make Colourful DIY Lanterns for Chinese New Year

How To Make Colourful DIY Lanterns for Chinese New Year

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Celebrate the Year of the Ox with This Fun DIY Project

Fill your flat with light and joy with this festive craft, inspired by one of the most important holidays in the Chinese culture. Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new year, according to the lunar calendar. Every year is symbolized by one of the twelve zodiac animals, and this year it’s the Year of the Ox. During this holiday, many Chinese families exchange red envelopes filled with money, refresh their wardrobes, eat large meals with friends and family, and decorate their homes.

Every year during Chinese New Year, skies are lit with the bright colours of explosive fireworks and vibrant lanterns. As Chinese dragons dance through the streets, people set off firecrackers, burn incense, and leave out oranges as offerings to help bring in good fortune for the new year. To help you get your home into the Chinese New Year spirit, we’ve come up with a DIY project that artists of all ages can enjoy. Now it’s time to create these colourful lanterns to welcome in an auspicious new year.

List of Supplies

How to Make Chinese New Year-Inspired Lanterns

Step 1: Print and cut out the downloadable templates for the lanterns. Next, trace the shapes onto felt (traditionally during Chinese New Year, they’ll use mostly reds and golds, but don’t be afraid to get creative.)

Step 2: Cut the main lantern pieces and the little rims for the top and bottom of the lantern. Use hot glue or school glue to attach the rims to the lantern base.

Note: Hot glue will speed up the process of the craft because it dries quickly, but school glue is a perfect substitute if you want to do this craft with kids and want to avoid any hot objects.

Step 3: Now we’re going to add the strings we’ll use to hang the lantern and attach the tassel. Thread a piece of yarn or string through a large needle. Poke the needle through the top of the lantern to pull the yarn through. Leave some yarn to tie a loop later. Re-thread your needle and do the same for the bottom of the lantern.

Note: make sure to leave a little extra string at the bottom for the tassel.

Step 4: Let’s make the tassels. Gently wrap the yarn around your fingers a few times. We did about 12-13 times. Slowly pull the bundle of yarn off of your fingers. Make sure to keep the bundle in its wrapped state. Cut a small piece of yarn and tie it around one end of the bundle of yarn. Take your scissors and slip them through one side of the yarn bundle (not the side that you tied) and cut the loops. Finish the tassel by trimming the ends to the desired length.

An alternate way to make a tassel: Cut out a bunch of 15.24cm yarn pieces and fold those pieces in half. Take a small piece of yarn and tie it around one end of the bundle. Finish by trimming the tassel to the desired length.

Step 5: Thread the yarn that you attached to the bottom of the lantern through the tied-off loop in your tassel. If you’re having difficulty with this, you can use the needle to help. Make sure to tie the ends of the yarn on the bottom of the lantern together to hold the tassel securely.

If using the needle to attach the tassel: 
Thread one end of the yarn that you attached to the bottom of the lantern into your needle. Gently push this needle into the top of your tassel (the tied-off part) and pull the yarn through. Remove the needle and tie the yarn on the bottom of the lantern.

Step 6: Take your 3D fabric paint and add some lines to represent the pieces inside a lantern that give it its shape. Make sure to let the lines completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 7: Now let’s move on to adding decorations, you can add anything you want. Here are some ideas:

Dragon: Often represents power, strength, and luck.

Plum Blossoms: They look very similar to cherry blossoms and are arguably the national flower of China (another widely loved national flower is the peony).

Ox: In the Chinese zodiac, there are 12 animals to represent a 12-year cycle. The year of 2021 is the Year of the Ox! The Ox symbolizes diligence, patience, and honesty. Fun fact: In the legend of the race to determine the order of the zodiac, the rat rode on the Ox’s back for a portion of the race.

Bamboo: The Chinese have been using bamboo for thousands of years as a building material, food, and more. This sturdy, yet hollow plant represents resilience, flexibility, and gracefulness.

Step 8: Draw your designs onto the adhesive felt (you can either do this free-hand, get images from online, or sketch them onto a piece of paper first, then trace it onto the felt.) You can draw on the paper backing or you can draw directly onto the felt.

Step 9: Cut out your designs and remove the paper backing to attach this piece to your lantern. If you want extra security, you can also glue down the pieces with a bit of hot glue.

Step 10: Get a long piece of string that spans the area that you’d like to display your lanterns. Tie up each lantern in the order you’d like them displayed and enjoy!

May You Have Good Fortune This Lunar New Year

Now that you’ve finished your lanterns, hang them up in your home so you can feel like you’re a part of the Chinese New Year’s festivities. As always, one of the most important parts of crafting is to make the project fun. Don’t be afraid to adapt this craft into something you can hang in your home all-year-long. The bright colours can help you bring a sense of celebration to any space. We hope you get lots of yummy food and red envelopes this Chinese New Year and wish you a prosperous 2021! Don’t forget to share your finished creations with us in the comments below and on social media by using the hashtag #Arteza.

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