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Learn how to make Halloween paper lanterns!

Sometimes a simple craft is just what you need. And what a bonus if it’s functional, like a set of Halloween paper lanterns! This design is based on my winter luminary with animal friends. But it has a cat, witch, haunted house, jack o’lanterns, bats, spider webs — all sorts of Halloween fun! And with such simple materials and assembly, you can make a bunch magically appear for Halloween party decor or trick-or-treating. Plus, they’re customizable!

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One of my favorite parts of papercrafting is how easy it is to adjust designs! Taking my basic lantern from wintery to spooky was super easy and I love the result. I hope you do, too!

Halloween paper lanterns showing the four panels with a cat, pumpkins, "spooky" a haunted house, witch, and bats with orange vellum diffusing the light inside.

While the cardstock creates the frame, the diffuser layer really makes this lantern glow. Some tutorials recommend tissue paper and Mod Podge, but that isn’t sturdy. I cut colored vellum to perfectly fit each side of the lantern and held it in place with strong paper-friendly glue by Bearly Art. You can find everything I used, plus links to where to find them, in my materials section below.

Black Halloween paper lantern showing the two panels with a cat, pumpkins, "spooky,"  and bats with orange vellum diffusing the light inside.

Inside the download folder, there are SVG and DXF files that you can use with a cutting machine. If you’d like to try cutting them out by hand, use the PDF template. I would highly recommend using a cutting machine, though, because the small cuts and details will be very difficult to cut with scissors or a craft knife. 

I used a Cricut Maker 3 to cut the pieces for my Halloween decorations, but you can also use the original Maker, any of the Explore series machines, or the Venture for this project. 

But what if you want to create your own design? Check out the customization steps from my 3D Paper Pumpkin Lantern and learn how to add your ideas to the panels!

Four paper pumpkin lanterns lit up with LED lights

I always recommend working with the latest version of Cricut Design Space, so be sure to make any necessary updates before making a different design.

For the best results, I recommend using the score lines version to make your custom design. My pumpkin lantern tutorial show you how to locate the score layer and set up the panels for easier folding. You can create your own Halloween paper lanterns with any spooky theme you like!

Removing the lantern pieces from the mat can be tricky because of the intricate details. Use your spatula to lift finely-cut areas, and use a weeding tool to poke out any “holes” that didn’t stay behind on your mat.

Then just glue the diffuser sheets to the back of the lantern pieces with high quality craft glue. Fold them up, glue the seams closed and you’re done! Pop some battery tea lights in the bottom and you’re ready to party!

Black Halloween paper lantern showing the other two panels with a haunted house, witch, and bats with orange vellum diffusing the light inside.

To customize these further, you can use different colored cardstock of course, but also patterned, glitter, black metallic paper, or even holographic cardstock!

Ready to learn how to make Halloween paper lanterns? This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.

Materials And Tools to Make a Halloween Paper Lantern

Halloween Paper Lanterns in Design number 539 in the free JenniferMaker design library.

How to Make a Halloween Paper Lantern

Follow the written tutorial for my Winter Paper Luminary! 

Attaching the vellum to the back of the tree and animal layers of the winter paper lantern and luminary

Answers to Your Questions About How to Make Halloween Paper Lanterns

Q: What other Halloween paper lanterns can I make?

A: My pumpkin lantern is perfect for Halloween, and so is my Autumn Luminary!

Learn how to make a 3D pumpkin lantern with JenniferMaker's tutorial! An orange paper pumpkin lantern with a green stem, vine, and leaf feature panels with intricate "BOO!" with spiderwebs designs cut out.

Two pretty paper fall luminaries with falling leaves

Q: How do you make a Halloween lantern out of paper?

A: Making Halloween paper lanterns to add to your Halloween decor is easy with SVG cut file, tutorial, a Cricut cutting machine, and a few supplies and tools. Just get my free downloads and follow the steps linked this post! What a fun way to prepare for a holiday!

Q. How do you make a pumpkin luminary?

A. After you make your pumpkin lantern following this tutorial, turn it into a luminary by adding an LED tea light or puck light! Or even fairy lights! If you’ve already completed the pumpkin, carefully remove one of the panels from its top slot, then insert the LED light inside. Replace the panel, and now you can reach up through the bottom of the pumpkin to turn the light on and off.

Q: How do you make a simple paper lantern?

A: My Halloween paper lantern is pretty simple and easy, but if you’re looking for other Halloween lantern ideas, I have several DIY paper lanterns and luminary tutorials here on my blog. I’ve got super simple cylinder paper lanterns and a fall leaves luminary that only requires one sheet of cardstock! And if you don’t have a cutting machine, my designs include PDF files that you can print and cut by hand to use as templates.

Q: How do you make Halloween lanterns out of Mason jars?

A: I have a free tutorial with SVGS you can cut from vinyl and add to a decorated glass jar! I’d recommend them for outdoor use over the paper lanterns in case of bad weather at your Halloween celebration.

Q. What other Halloween crafts do you have? 

A. I have a whole host of other pumpkin and Halloween crafts for you to check out! Smashing pumpkins, pumpkin SVGS, and even (felt) pumpkin pie!

Q. Where can I find help with this and other crafts? 

A. Join my Facebook group just for Cricut crafters and makers! Our unofficial “help center,” my group is a vibrant community of real people who love to support, inspire, and share ideas! You can meet and learn from hobby crafters who are learning and fine-tuning new skills, as well as creative entrepreneurs making amazing and special goods for their small businesses. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to get expert support from our team here at JenniferMaker!

Get my free SVG files to make Halloween Paper Lanterns!

I’d love to see YOUR amazing paper lanterns! Please share a photo in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.


Want to remember this? Save this tutorial on How to Make Halloween Paper Lanterns to your favorite Pinterest Board!


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