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Make some paper lanterns

Make a decorative paper lantern to celebrate Lunar New Year or Vesak.

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You’ll need

  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Glue sticks
  • Rulers
  • Pens or pencils
  • Craft materials (for example, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, stickers)
  • A4 coloured paper/card

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Make your paper lanterns

  1. Take a piece of A4 paper or card.
  2. From one of the short sides, cut off a 1-inch-wide (2.5 cm) strip of paper. Put this to one side and keep this to make the handle later.
  3. Fold the remaining large piece of paper or card in half along the long edge.
  4. Using a pencil and a ruler, draw a horizontal line 1-inch (2.5 cm) down from the long edge. It should be on the side opposite where the fold is.
  5. Using the scissors, cut from the fold up to your horizontal line, about an inch (2.5 cm) in from one of the short edges.
  6. Repeat this again, about an inch (2.5 cm) down from your first cut. Keep making these cuts, until you reach about 1-inch (2.5 cm) away from the other short side on your folded paper.
  7. Unfold the piece of paper. It should all be in one piece with several vertical cuts across the paper.
  8. Now it’s time to decorate your lantern. You can decorate it however you want. Red, yellow and gold are the traditional colours used to celebrate Lunar New Year any bright eye-catching colours for Vesak.
  9. Form your decorated paper into a lantern. To do this, make the two short edges meet and overlap slightly.
  10. Glue or tape the short edges together. This should create a tube shape, with your cut sections bending outwards from the middle.
  11. Use glue or sticky tape to attach the handle, which should be the 1-inch-wide section you cut off at the start.
  12. Your lantern’s ready to be hung up as a great festive Lunar New Year or Vesak decoration!

About Vesak 

Vesak, also known as Wesak, Buddha Day or Buddha Burmina, is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar.  Vesak is celebrated on the full moon in May. It teaches us about the birth of Buddha and the enlightenment of his life. It is celebrated mainly in Asia and by Buddhists around the world. In many places is an official public holiday. 

Often the festivities begin with a good "spring clean" and homes are freshened up and decorated with bright colours and patterns to celebrate the occasion. In the morning, Buddhists visit their temples and give offerings to the monks of food, candles and flowers. There is chanting and praying, incense, music and colour. There may be exciting parades through the streets. 

Learn more about Vesak with Art and Enda with this BBC Bitesize video. 


Whether it’s a decoration in a window or a wreath on a front door, decorations are used at times of celebrations all around the world. This’s something that almost every festival or celebration has in common. Why do we think decorations are so popular? It could help us to spread some happiness, provide a sense of community or let us all share in the celebrations together.


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Glue and solvents

Always supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions that could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

  • Make sure you’ve a selection of paper or card in different colours and sizes, so there’s something for everyone. You could draw the lines for people to cut along or cut up to make it easier for anyone who may struggle to measure or draw the lines accurately.
  • If anyone needs help or struggles with fine motor skills, give them the opportunity to work in pairs, with a young leader or an adult volunteer. For example, an adult or young leader could provide support with cutting the slits into the lanterns if needed.
  • Having a range of different things to decorate the lanterns with, including stickers and self-adhesive crafts, to help make sure everyone can decorate their own lanterns.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Look into more ways that Lunar New Year is marked and celebrated. You could decorate your meeting space and have your very own Lunar New Year celebration.