Chinese Paper Lanterns

Chinese Paper lanterns are one of the most recognisable symbols of New Year celebrations. This step-by-step guide is really easy to follow and offers a great way to explore younger children’s understanding of the world’s many cultures, at the same time as developing a number of important motor skills. Based on a classic design, these lanterns are perfect for Early Years settings and lower Key Stage 1, while also being easy to adapt for older children if required.


You will need

Coloured Craft Card
Sticky Tape
Glue Stick
Glitter Glue
Ribbon or other colourful decorations


1. First, form the handle of your lantern by cutting a 3-4cm wide strip from one of the short edges of your paper and put aside

2. Next, fold the remaining card in half lengthways. Starting from the folded side cut a straight line around 2-3cm from the side, stopping when you reach a few centimetres away from the far edge of the card

3. Continue to cut parallel lines a few centimetres apart until you reach a similar distance from the opposite edge of the paper

4. Now open out the card and reveal several slits through the centre of the card

ChineseLanterns-5 a

5. To shape your card into a lantern, fold into a cylinder (long and thin), ensuring that the fold in the card is pointing outwards.

6. Decorate the lantern using a variety of ribbons, glitter glue, and any other colourful decorations you like.

7. Attach the strip of card for the handle to the top of the lantern using sticky tape and decorate in a similar way to the rest of the lantern. If you struggle to make the lantern keep its shape, try stapling it in place as well.

chinese paper lantern

8. Once the lanterns are complete, hang them in a row, held together with string or ribbon to create a fantastic Chinese New Year decoration – perfect for home or the classroom.

EYFS learning goals supported by this project

ELGO1 Communication and language development: listening and attention

ELG02 Communications and language development: understanding

ELG04 Physical development: moving and handling co-ordination

ELG06 Personal, social and emotional development: Self confidence and self awareness

ELG12 Mathmatics development: shape, space and measures

ELG13 Understanding the world: people and communities

ELG16 Expressive art and design: exploring and using media and materials

ELG17 Expressive arts and design: being imaginative

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Chinese New Year page here or follow us on Pinterest.

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