See how to make gorgeous paper star lanterns with lovely star and snowflake cut-outs that cast a magical glow!
I love making paper lanterns! So much so, in fact, that a couple of years ago, I made a paper lantern or luminary for every month of the year. And this is the perfect season for paper lanterns — they cheerfully light up our homes on those long, dark winter nights. So for Day 3 of The Great Maker 25-Day Gift-Away Challenge, I am showing you how to make paper star lanterns!
See exactly how to make this beautiful paper star lantern in this tutorial video below (or keep scrolling if you prefer a step-by-step photo tutorial):
I’m eager to show you how to make paper 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 to Make a Paper Star Lantern
- 8.5″ x 11″ 100-110 lb. cardstock (I used ruby red, seafoam blue, and ice silver white) or poster board (I used Cricut foil holographic posterboard)
- (Optional) 8.5″ x 11″ vellum
- (Optional) Hanging lantern cord for pendant lighting
- (Optional) 40-Watt LED Light Bulbs
- A way to glue your paper star lantern, such as hot glue, tacky glue, or spray adhesive (useful if you use the vellum layer)
- A way to cut your cardstock (I used the amazing Cricut)
- My free SVG/DXF/PDF cut file/pattern for the shadow box template (available in my free resource library—get the password at the bottom of this post)
How to Make Paper Star Lanterns
Step 1: Get my free paper star lantern file and pattern.
Download the free paper star lantern pattern from my free resource library (get the password to the library in the form at the bottom of this post).
Step 2: Cut your paper star lantern pieces.
You can cut this paper star lantern with a good craft knife, and I’ve included a PDF if you’d like to do that. I cut these on my Cricut cutting machine because it is so much faster, so let me show you how to do that!
First, upload the paper star lantern SVG file to Cricut Design Space and place it on your canvas.
If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, here’s how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.
Here’s what my paper star lantern SVG cut file looks like uploaded to Cricut Design Space: Please note the size is 23.532 inches x 17.85 inches.
And here’s the paper star lantern with the snowflakes SVG looks like in Cricut Design Space:
Decide if you want to cut the vellum layer out. The vellum will diffuse the light which gives your paper star lantern a nice glow and disguises the light fixture inside, but the lighting effect of stars and snowflakes cast on walls won’t be as pronounced with the vellum included. You decide which one you like best — the vellum layer is optional for both paper star lanterns. If you decide not to use vellum, hide or delete that layer (the white triangles).
When you’re ready, click Make It — there is no scoring, grouping, or attaching required for this project.
I recommend you cut this project from 100 lb. or 100 lb. cardstock or poster board as noted in the material list above. This hanging paper star lantern needs to be sturdy enough to support itself, and this material works the best. For material settings, use the “glitter cardstock” setting as that will give you two passes and cuts cleanly.
Step 3: Assemble your paper star lantern.
A. Prefold each dashed angle of each of the five paper star lantern pieces, including the long side tab.
B. Prefold the bottom of the two tabs in the opposite direction from how you folded it in step A. Be sure to fold all five pieces in the same manner.
C. If you are including the vellum layer, spray the inside of each of the five paper star lantern pieces with permanent spray adhesive. Then place the vellum on the top of the sections of each star lantern piece. Let dry completely before continuing.
D. Identify the star point piece with a crescent missing at its point and set it aside for now.
E. With the other four pieces, place glue along the long side tab, glue the tab to the inside of the other side to form a point. Be sure that the pieces align flush. Repeat for all four pieces. This will give you four star points.
F. Place glue on one side of the bottom tab of one star point and glue another star point to other side of the light fixture tab, working your way around until the four assembled star points are glued together.
G. Pick up the piece you set aside earlier and glue the shorter tabs to the main star assembly — you’ll need to reach inside to press the layers together as the glue sets.
H. If you want to light up your paper star lantern, place the light fixture inside now with the cord sticking out the end of the unglued point. Carefully glue the long tab in place to close up your paper star lantern. The last piece is a bit fiddly, so time and care should be taken when assembling. Go slowly and be patient with yourself.
When you’re done, hang your paper star lantern from the pendant cord!
Get my free paper star lantern SVG cut files and patterns
If you make paper star lanterns, we’d love to hear about it! Please share your photo in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker . You can even earn two bonus entries for my 25-Day Gift-Away giveaway if you upload a photo of your version of this project by December 25th.
See all of the projects, tutorials and free designs in The Great Maker 25-Day Gift-Away Challenge!
Want to remember this? Save the DIY Paper Star Lantern Tutorial to Your Favorite DIY Pinterest Board!