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Paper can do more for a party than serve as your guests' napkins. Whether the sun sets before or during your party, these paper lantern ideas set a festive and fun atmosphere.
Geometric "topiaries" inspired by the paper sculptures of Isamu Noguchi stand on both sides of this swimming pool.
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Cocktails at sundown are more memorable when you supplement the waning daylight with Asian-inspired lanterns. These tabletop ones consist of colorful sheets of vellum paper sandwiching tall votive candles in glass holders; chopsticks hold the paper in place.
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This modern nod to luminarias -- paper bags with votives inside -- updates the look with chic stripes printed onto vellum and wrapped around straight-sided square glass vases.
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Holiday strands trace every slat of a porch trellis; the bulbs are covered in shades made from chartreuse and turquoise vellum.
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The soft light of paper luminarias sets a romantic mood. Two bags, one fitted over the other, form a box. The lanterns, strung on electric Christmas-tree lights and hung along branches, are tied with ribbon and sway gently in the evening breeze.
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If you're throwing a party for someone's anniversary or birthday, the guest of honor will shine with a set of photo frame lanterns. They consist of three hinged photo frames set around votive candles. The black-and-white photos are printed onto ecru-colored vellum paper, which is translucent enough for the images to be visible by candlelight.
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The intricate patterns shining through these luminarias (paper-bag lanterns illuminated by votive candles) are courtesy of doilies glued inside. Place a grouping of the lanterns in different sizes on a dinner table for a beautiful, glowing display.
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These lanterns hanging from bamboo poles are origami "balloons" fashioned around battery-operated lights and finished with ribbons.
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Paper lanterns don't need to have lights in them to signal an instant party feel. String them above the deck as a festive decoration instead.
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Let a flock of colorful paper butterflies loose, and you'll instantly give party decorations a lift.
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These accordion-fold designs slip right over inexpensive votives. You can print any design you like onto white or colored paper to customize them for your party.