Learn how to make beautiful hanging star lanterns to decorate your tree this Christmas!
There are paper ornaments, and then there are these. Ready to take your Christmas cardstock crafting to the next level with a mini light-up shadowbox ornament? My hanging star lanterns are a whimsical way to bring some holiday magic to your tree, your wintertime decor, or to give as gifts at the holidays! But, how do you make them?
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These might be one of my favorite holiday projects ever. I am so excited to show you how to make these stunning star lanterns! I think they are really something special, and will bring some whimsy to your Christmas tree, glowing on your mantle for a little ambiance, or even attached to a gift at your next party this season!
I’m sharing three different designs for you to try, including a house in the woods scene, a cute snowman scene, and a truck and barn scene. You can cut these on a cutting machine or by hand, but I’ll show you how to make this project easily with a Cricut. The files are sized to fit any Maker or Explore series machine, the Cricut Venture, and the Joy Xtra. You can even resize the files to fit an original Joy!
When assembled, the hanging star lanterns reveal their beautiful scenes from within. Each five point star lamp holds a different layered image, brought to life by a glowing light!
To make folding the pieces of the five-pointed stars a bit easier, I’ve included a version of each design with score lines that you can cut with a scoring tool if you have one, as well as a version with dashed cut lines that only requires the standard Fine-Point Blade.
After cutting the elements, I’ll walk you through exactly how to layer and assemble each one. Then, it’s time for the best part – adding the fairy lights! I’ll show you how to do this so your beautiful paper star lanterns can glow from within, highlighting each gorgeous layer and illuminating the magic inside.
It always blows me away to see all the amazing things we can make with paper. It’s so cool how we can turn a stack of cardstock and some fairy lights into something so magical. These layered paper stars make a really fun and decorative Christmas lighting option, and the fact that they’re battery powered means you can hang them literally anywhere — no extension cord needed.
I can’t wait to see these lovely star lanterns hanging on my tree, from a window for a pretty display at Hanukkah, and in my bathroom as a winter-time nightlight! I think I’ll make a few more paper lanterns to line up on my fireplace mantle, too!
Here’s a supply list of what you need to make hanging star 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 Hanging Star Lanterns
- Three to Six (3-6) Sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ or 12″ x 12″ 65 lb White Cardstock (for inner layers)
- One or Two (1-2) Sheets of 12″ x 12″ Colored Cardstock (for hanging star lanterns outer star structure) -OR-
- One or Two (1-2) Sheets of 12″ x 12″ Glitter Cardstock (for hanging star lanterns outer star structure)
- One (1) Set of 3.3′ Fairy Lights
- Thin Ribbon (optional, for hanging)
- A method to cut your cardstock – I’m using the Cricut Maker 3, but you can also use the Cricut Maker, a Cricut Explore Series machine, the Cricut Venture, or even the Joy for smaller files
- Cricut Green StandardGrip Machine Mat 12″ x 12″ -OR- Cricut Blue LightGrip Machine Mat 12″ x 12″
- Scoring Stylus (optional for files with score lines) -OR- Single Scoring Wheel (optional for files with score lines)
- Craft Glue (I used Bearly Art Precision Glue)
- Medium 3/8″ Zots Glue Dots (for adhering fairy lights battery pack to back of lantern)
- Weeding Tool (for popping out small cardstock pieces)
- Scissors (optional, for cutting ribbon)
- Design #518 (My free SVG/PDF/DXF design files are available in my free resource library (get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
How to Make Your Own Hanging Star Lanterns
The detailed step-by-step assembly video on how to make hanging star lanterns debuted during Maker Academy Weekend 2023, held online November 1-5, 2023. Get an on-demand pass to watch all 30+ workshops, each with a printable handbook, transcript, audio file, design files, and support with a VIP pass below:
Answers to Your Questions About How to Make Hanging Star Lanterns and Make Your Own
Q: Where is your tutorial for this project?
These hanging star lanterns are a special project we made for our free Maker Academy Weekend 2023 event! A complete and detailed step-by-step video premiered during the event November 1-5, 2023 — this tutorial video was available to watch for free for 24 hours only during the event. If you missed it, you can get access to the full video, the 15-page printable handbook that details how to make this beautiful project with a VIP Pass to Maker Academy Weekend 2023, which comes with other perks and bonuses, too! Look at all the star ornaments made by our VIP passholders in the lead up to our big event!
Q: How do you make a star lantern?
A: To make these hanging star lanterns, you’ll need cardstock, ribbon, craft glue, as well as a cutting machine and the usual accessories. Some optional supplies and tools you might need are a scoring stylus or single scoring wheel if you’re making the file with score lines.
Q: What do you hang lanterns with?
A: I like to hang my layered star ornaments with pretty ribbon, but you can use twine, string, or fishing line, too. Each lantern has a tab with a hole from which to thread your ribbon or string.
Q: How do you display lanterns in your house?
A: Our Christmas tree is my favorite place to hang these, but you can attach them to wreaths or wrapped gifts, use them as party decorations, hang one in a window for a pretty display at Hanukkah, or make multiple stars to line up on your fireplace mantle! Have an ambient lighting need in your bathroom? Hang one there for a winter-time nightlight, You can even just use a Command hook to hang a star light on your living room wall where you gather with your family at the holidays — or really anywhere!
Q: What kind of ornaments can you make out of paper?
A: Aside from these magnificent lanterns, there are lots of Christmas ornaments you can make from paper and cardstock, like my 3D paper cut ornaments, glitter ball ornaments, layered snow globe ornaments, and photo snow globe ornaments!
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I SO hope you’ll make these hanging star lanterns and share them with me! Please post a photo of your lanterns in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.