Saturday, October 5, 2019

Leafy Lanterns

Isn't this pretty? 

For me, it captures nostalgia: fistfuls of autumn brightness, collected and brought home to mother for pressing between sheets of waxed paper. I studied those carefully then, sometimes taping them to the window of my room so the back lighting of sunshine could enhance their collective beauty. But how much nicer to capture that translucency in a lantern! - a portable showcase of the season's finest - free to those who need only to stoop to pick them up.

Pinterest is awash with variations of this gentle craft. But few give exact measurements or simplify the cumbersome attachment of paper wall to base. And, to my knowledge, no one else involves assistance from a two year old grandson in the collecting and arranging process! But here it is! Teacher-ly bossiness at its best! I've outlined everything for you here, step-by-stepping your way to a successful seasonal project, utilizing items you probably have at hand - although the pint sized side kick is a strictly optional ingredient!

Here's what you'll need to make a 6" x 6" lantern exclusive of handle:

1. Assortment of leaves 3" - 4" preferably a colorful variety - 10 fit nicely here - best results if                pressed between paper towels in a heavy book overnight
2. Wax paper - 16" length from a 12" wide roll
3. Thin flexible cardboard - 4.75" diameter circle and 3 strips 3/4" x 16.5"
4. Narrow ribbon 18" (optional)
5. Tea light
6. Iron, glue, scissors, transparent tape

And here's what you'll do:

1. Fold wax paper in half horizontally to 6" x 16". Open. Arrange leaves on bottom half, fold top            down and press quickly with hot iron to seal.

2. Cut and attach 2" strips of tape (sticky side up!) all around cardboard circle as shown at left. This will serve as lantern base.

3. Carefully attach bottom edge of wax paper to base by folding tape up as you go around. This part is clumsy, but doable! See photo at left.

4. Overlap vertical ends and run tape from top to bottom along seam to close.

5. Run glue along bottom edge of wax paper. Wrap one 16.5" strip around lantern bottom, overlapping ends. Glue ends together so strip fits snugly against wax paper.
6. Repeat for top edge.
7. Glue handle ends to inside top edge of lantern. Adjust size as desired.
8. Tie ribbon into bow on one side at base of handle as shown in top photo.
9. Insert tea light.

And here's what will happen if this project includes a two year grandson!:

1. You certainly will get your leaves! But prepare to sort them! Wrinkled, torn, bug holes, mold....scooped right up like a manic vacuum cleaner!

2. "Pie-ders," not leaves, will take hunting priority. Those may not be evident, but a cute little tree frog might make an appearance!

3. Your little nature hunter will want to catch and hold it gently before you insist it be set free to go home to mom and dad!

4. Back inside, he'll carefully position his leaves, but won't be interested in a lecture on "dicot vs. monocot!" Just trust me on that one!

5. While you complete the lantern, he'll happily park himself, snack in hand, in front of Paw Patrol.

6. When mommy picks him up, he'll gleefully hand her the lantern and exclaim, "Look what I made for you!"- because, of course he did! 


  1. This is a perfect project when you have a handsome two-year old 'manic vacuum cleaner.' Those were the best days, when I had a young 'helper' to do fun projects. Now, I ask him computer questions. Of course, I never did anything near as clever as this nor was I able to provide clear instructions on how to repeat the project. You may be a 'retired' art teacher, but, lady, you haven't lost any of yours skills.

  2. What a delightful craft to do with a delightful side kick! Thanks for sharing this at our Party in Your PJs link party. I will be featuring it at our party that starts tonight!