Hundreds of people construct bamboo and tissue paper lanterns each year. Boxes are our basic learning lanterns. More advanced learning lanterns are the ever-popular stars, which build three-dimensional skills that benefit from the tensile strength of the bamboo and the papering prowess of the creator.
Hooked on these foundational lanterns, volunteers and workshop participants begin to develop a creative eye for new structures, specialized adaptations and better effects each year. New lantern builders absorb the know-how of past lantern-builders and design innovations become design traditions.
A simple bamboo lantern (box or star) usually takes at least 3 evenings to make. More elaborate bamboo lanterns take more time, so plan your designs based on the time you can commit. Try to be as creative as possible within a realistic time commitment.
Building a bamboo lantern requires the use of a hot glue gun and bending wires that can poke. The hot glue is very hot, so parental supervision is required for children.
Repair a Bamboo Lantern
A good way to learn the does and don’ts of solid bamboo lantern making is to take on a repair project. We have many abandoned lanterns that we re-make, patch up, re-paper, re-glue and sometimes sell in our merchandise tent to raise money for the festival. We also have large installation lanterns that always need a good clean-up and a few patches. Repairing a lantern lets you see how a lantern is put together and helps build your skills so you can embark on your own creation. Doing lantern repairs is a great help to the festival, too!