Let’s create colorful mini paper lanterns using vellum and a variety of art supplies!
Years ago I completed an internship for a lighting design firm and fell in love with the power of light. Light has the ability to affect our perception of space, to generate emotions, and to inspire. In this light based project we are going to create our own evocative mini lanterns for use in celebration, relaxation, or to enjoy the simple pleasure of a colorful light source.
Today’s post is sponsored by The Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI). All opinions are my own.
Have you ever had the experience at looking at something for years without actually realizing what it means? That’s how I felt when I started working with ACMI. I have actually seen ACMI’s AP seals hundreds of times without really understanding their significance.
I’m glad to share what the labeling stands for and why it’s so important that educators and parents understand it.
The Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) is an international association of about 200 art, craft and creative material manufacturers which seeks to promote safety in art and creative products through its certification program.
For over 70 years, the ACMI program for children’s art materials has certified products that are non-toxic using the AP Seal. ACMI-certified product seals (AP Approved Product and CL Cautionary Labeling) have been evaluated by a qualified toxicologist and are labeled in accordance with federal and state laws.
Products with an AP seal are safe for use with kids of all ages and products with a CL label are safe for use with children 12+.
The best part about understanding what the seal means is that parents and educators can quickly and easily identify non-toxic art supplies when choosing project materials.
If you don’t have the product packaging handy to look for a seal, you can always check ACMI’s searchable product database here.
Make Mini Paper Lanterns with Vellum
SAFETY: Never use a real flame with your paper lanterns.
For this project, only use with a flameless, battery operated candle/tea light. You may substitute battery operated fairy lights, however since vellum is thin, they are a little bit more challenging to work with in this capacity.
There are two templates for this project: a cube and a pyramid. The cube mini paper lanterns can be stacked!
AP Certified Products:
- Crayola crayons
- Staedtler colored pencils
- Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Pens
- Artist’s Loft Alcohol-Based Markers
- Sakura Koi Brush pens
- Sakura Pigma Micron pens
- Elmers Glue stick
- Clear tape
- Small flameless candles– BATTERY OPERATED CANDLES ONLY
Mini Paper Lantern Instructions:
Time needed: 20 minutes.
Learn how to make mini paper lanterns out of vellum sheets.
- Print mini paper lantern template
Print the cube and/or pyramid templates on vellum. Make sure to let it dry for a few minutes so the ink doesn’t smear.
- Decorate the template
Using a variety of AP certified art materials, add color and designs to the template.
- Cut out template
When finished adding designs, cut template along solid lines.
- Fold template
Fold along dotted lines including the sides and tabs.
- Cut light tab
Carefully cut along dashed lines. Discard piece labeled DISCARD.
- Assemble lantern
Add glue to tabs. Press tabs into sides of shape. Add tape to hold in place.
- Add light
Tape a flameless candle to the light tab. Make sure the on/off switch is accessible. Fold tab to tuck flameless candle into lantern.
Make a Pyramid Mini Paper Lantern
To make the pyramid lantern follow the same instructions above.
For Teachers (and enthusiastic parents!)
We also have a downloadable lesson plan created by ACMI to accompany this project. This is a wonderful resource for teachers who want to take this project into a classroom setting.
One aspect this mini paper lanterns lesson plan touches on, is the rich tradition of using lights and paper lanterns/luminarias throughout the world for festivals and celebration.
A pre-teaching idea is to discuss different types of lanterns and styles, where they originate, what they signify, and how they are used. Pass around images of lanterns from festivals throughout the world, encouraging students to look at the design elements used in these culturally rich pieces of temporary decorative art.
You may also touch on the difference between a lantern versus luminary. I use these terms interchangeably, but technically luminaries refer to a more specific type of lantern used in celebrations or festivals.
Don’t forget to check if your art supplies are safe for use with kids by looking for the AP seal or by searching ACMI’s database here. This will save you time as you plan projects at home or in the classroom!
Susan Dittman says
This looks great! I’d like to do this with my grandchildren. One question–when I think of a lantern I think of it “hanging”. My daughter has a new outdoor space with string lights and I’d like to hang these off of them. I don’t see any pictures of these hanging. I’m guessing a sturdy string with a knot pulled through the lantern? Any suggestions?
Ana Dziengel says
Great idea to hang these! I would try to poke a hole in the top and use a paper clip to hang the lanterns. Make sure that the lights are securely fastened too so they don’t fall out of the bottom.
Lynn Schaul says
Where do I get vellom?
Ana Dziengel says
It’s on Amazon or is usually available at office supply stores like Staples.
Beautiful.Thanks for sharing 🙏
Dora Dawkins says
I work with Preschool children and I am really interested to learn more about non-toxic art products and matetias when working with the children and I would like to buy the book or to take any further learning material. Can you please inform em more about it! Thank you.
Ana Dziengel says
Hi Dora, Head over to ACMI’s website here to learn more about non-toxic art materials: https://acmiart.org.
Bonnie Gaus says
Hi. When I click on the “lesson plan link” it is giving me an error. The template page worked fine. Is there another way I could get your lesson plan for this vellum lantern? It’s fabulous. Thank you, Bonnie Gaus
Ana Dziengel says
Looks like ACMI updated their website. Here is the new link: https://www.acmiart.org/lanterns-luminaries Thanks so much for letting me know! Have fun!