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Decorative Paper Lanterns

These decorations really layer on the style. Any pale-colored paper lantern can be covered with tissue circles (buy them precut -- no scissors required) for a charming fluttery finish. 




The lanterns may look intricate, but it takes only half an hour to make one. They appear festive and ethereal by day and, if you place low-wattage lightbulbs inside, softly radiant by night. The lanterns are monochromatic, but you can play with the design by creating an ombre pattern (gradations of the same color) or stripes. You can even use green disks at the tops of the lanterns so that they resemble berries with leafy stems.

Resources: Tissue-paper circles, 5 inches, in Pastel and Primary, $6 for 480; Wire-frame spherical paper lanterns, from $3.25 each;


  • Tissue-paper disks in assorted colors
  • Double-sided tape
  • 14-, 16-, or 18-inch-diameter paper lanterns


  1. Step 1


    Starting at the bottom of the lantern, use small squares of tape to begin attaching tissue-paper disks around the hole, overlapping them.

  2. Step 2

    Working toward the top, continue sticking and overlapping disks to cover the lantern.

Martha Stewart Living, June 2011



Reviews (4)

  • Onebritesunshine 28 Jul, 2013

    I made these with 8", 10", and 12" lanterns. In my research trying to find pre-made circles in one color wasn't possible. Instead, I bought tissue paper and used an exactoknife to trace around a spool of ribbon that was 4" in diameter. I cut through as many as 12 sheets of tissue paper at once. For the larger lanterns, you will need at least 100 circles. As a note, use Scotch tape, not cheap brands. It just sticks better. I did not add lights to mine.

  • April Maruca 6 Apr, 2013

    Love this but how do you add light to it and how many circles do you need to complete it?

  • Mrs_Mist 5 Jul, 2012

    this is very pretty and light weight!

  • lwhiteman 23 May, 2012

    Roughly how many circles are used for each lantern?