Chinese New Year or lunar new year is an important holiday usually celebrated in early February. During the two weeks of festivities, people wear red, give children "lucky money" and have parades with long, elaborate dragon floats. The lantern festival is also an important symbol of the new year. Many people design their own glowing lanterns to hang in temples or carry during parades.
Easy Paper Lantern
Even young children can make simple paper lanterns. Fold a piece of colored construction paper in half, lengthwise. Hold the paper, so the fold is facing you. Make vertical cuts along the fold, extending about 1 inch from the end of the paper. Space the cuts uniformly. Unfold the paper, form it into a cylinder and tape the edges together to make a lantern. To make the handle, cut a strip of paper and tape or glue at the top of the lantern. Make several lanterns and string them together.
Round Paper Lantern
Personalize a round paper lantern into a festive work of art. Purchase a lantern from a craft or home goods store. To draw cherry blossoms, mix one part pink paint to one part water. Use a paintbrush or your thumb to make smudges on the paper. When the paint has dried, use a black permanent marker to make branches for the flowers. You can also draw on Chinese calligraphy or characters.
Oatmeal Container Lanterns
Reuse a cylinder-shaped oatmeal box to make this funky Chinese lantern. Peel off the label or sticker from the oatmeal box. Draw different shapes, such as rectangles, triangles and stars on the cylinder. Use a craft knife to cut out the shapes from the box. Decorate the box, using paint, glitter, markers or felt pieces. Roll up a sheet of colored tissue paper, the same circumference as the oatmeal box and use it to line the container. Keep it in place with tape. Make a lantern holder, by punching two holes on opposite sides of the top and stringing a piece of yarn or string through them.
Contact Paper Lantern
Design a two-dimensional paper lantern to hang in the window. Cut a square sheet of contact paper. Draw a lantern shape on the paper and remove the adhesive backing, so the sticky side is up. Fill in the sticky part with red and yellow tissue paper squares. Cut long strips of red tissue paper to make streamers and stick to the bottom of the lantern. Make a hole at the top of the lantern, using a hole punch. String yarn through the hole and make a knot. Hang the lantern in a window.
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