Scalloped Tissue Paper Lanterns

scalloped tissue paper lantern with tassels and bannerLast week, I told you all about my love affair with tissue paper. This week, I’m giving you a step by step on one of my recent favorite tissue paper projects. We’ve seen paper lanterns used in all kinds of beautiful ways to fancy up an event, but why leave a good thing alone? Let’s throw a party dress on that paper lantern and send her to the prom!

supplies for making tissue paper lanterns

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Step 1

 Open Gallerytissue paper spread out for cuttingSpread your tissue paper out flat. The paper I had on hand has two folds, giving me two 7 ½ inch sections and one short section of 5 inches. To avoid having visible folds in the scallops, I just used the folds as my cut lines. Cut the paper into three sections.

Step 2

 Open Galleryfolded tissue paperSet aside the 5-inch section for another day and a different pretty project. Using the two remaining sections, fold them in half lengthwise so that you have one skinny 20 inch x 3 ¾ inch folded section, keeping your folded edge at the top. (You can easily double up the sections and cut two at once.)

Step 3

 Open Galleryfolding tissue paper again crosswiseTaking the left side to match the right, fold the section in half the opposite way, again keeping the folded edge at the top, so that you make the 20-inch length into a 10 inch section. Repeat that same fold, and then repeat again. You’ll now have a 3 ¾-inch by 2 ½-inch section with one single fold on the left edge and your original fold at the top.

Step 4

 Open Gallerygetting ready to cut scallop in tissue paperPick up your little packet so that the top folded edge is between your thumb and finger and the single folded edge is on your left. Starting about a half inch up from the folded edge between your thumb and finger, cut the right side of the packet, away from your thumb, up toward the unfolded edge, so that you cut off what’s now the top right hand corner by rounding it off to a semi circle.

Step 5

 Open Gallerycutting scallop from folded tissue paperStarting about a half inch up from the folded edge between your thumb and finger, cut the right side of the packet, away from your thumb, up toward the unfolded edge, so that you cut off what’s now the top right hand corner by rounding it off to a semi circle.

Step 6

 Open Gallerytissue paper cut into scallops

Unfold so that you have four half moon pieces. Separate them by cutting at the narrowest point. If you doubled up pieces of tissue paper, hooray! You’ve already got double the pieces. Now do that same process until you have a nice little stack of pretty paper half moons. (I’ve found that keeping the paper folded into a double layer for each half moon gives nice coverage, but if you’re stretching your tissue paper and don’t mind a more sheer look, you can use single layers of half moons.) Unfold so that you have four half moon pieces. Separate them by cutting at the narrowest point. If you doubled up pieces of tissue paper, hooray! You’ve already got double the pieces.

Step 7

 Open Gallerymultiple scallops cut from tissue paper

Now do that same process until you have a nice little stack of pretty paper half moons. (I’ve found that keeping the paper folded into a double layer for each half moon gives nice coverage, but if you’re stretching your tissue paper and don’t mind a more sheer look, you can use single layers of half moons.)

Step 8

 Open Gallerypaper lantern and tissue paper scallop pieces

Once you’ve popped up your naked paper lantern, pull out your glue dot runner and get ready to dress that sucker up.

Step 9

 Open Gallerycovering paper lantern with tissue paper scallops

Roll a line of glue dots along the straight edge of your first half moon. At the very bottom of the lantern, you’re going to glue four sections of your half moons so that the rounded edges overlap, covering the bottom of the lantern and creating a square with the straight edges.

Step 10

 Open Galleryadding second row of scallops to paper lantern

Once you have your square base at the bottom of the lantern, start your next row by centering the middle of the half moon over the one of the corners of the square. Overlap the next half moon over your first in this row by about an inch. Continue all the way round the lantern, keeping your row level with the top. (A word to the wise – the wires embedded in the paper lantern aren’t necessarily level, depending on which brand you use, so keep an eye out.)

Step 11

 Open Galleryadding more rows of scallops to paper lantern

Start your next row about 1 ½ -2 inches above the row below by centering one half moon over the overlap between two sections in the row below. Again overlap each half moon in this row by about an inch.

Step 12

 Open Galleryadding the last scallop to the paper lantern

Continue this process until you get to the top of the lantern.

Step 13

 Open Galleryfinished scalloped paper lantern

String the lantern up using fishing line or invisible thread for a clean, non-distracting finish. I’m a big fan of the removable adhesive hook (ahem, 3M Command Clear Mini Clips) because you can throw them up on walls or the ceiling for a party, suspend your pretty scalloped lanterns from them with no obvious nails or tacks, and remove them like it never happened. The only evidence you want to leave of your massively successful event is amazing pictures of your handiwork and the glow of the many compliments you’ll receive.

I should also note that depending on the tissue paper you use, the sun could bleach the color if you leave your dressed up lanterns hanging in a sunny spot, so keep them in the shade until it’s their time to shine. Not that I learned that lesson the hard way or anything…

About Ellen Foord 

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As the founder, designer, and one-woman workforce behind Minnow + Co, a tight budget has never stopped this DIY-girl-at-heart from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every ...

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4 Responses

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  4. Gale Weede says:

    This was so fun!! Thank You!!

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