Make some leaf lanterns

making martinmas leaf lanterns

Making lanterns is a lovely activity to do at this time of year. As the evenings are drawing in, many children are experiencing being up when it's dark again for the first time in months, which my three year old is especially excited by!

Making and lighting a lantern is a lot of fun and can be enjoyed by children of all ages. If using tea lights in your lantern, your children will obviously need supervision.

What you will need: autumn leaves, grease proof paper, glue (UHU works best, but PVA glue will also work, it will just take a little longer to stick), thin wire and a stick for carrying the lantern (this is optional), tea lights or electric tea lights, round cheese boxes to support the lantern, we used Camembert boxes, you could also use Dairy Lea boxes. If you don't have any cheese boxes you could make your own support out of cardboard, this You Tube clip explains how you can do that: 


  1. Collect some autumn leaves, this activity works best if the leaves have been pressed first, as they will be easier to glue and are less likely to slip down, however this is not absolutely necessary, as long as the leaves aren't wet!
Making Martinmas lantens

2. Cut two sheets of grease proof paper to fit around your cheese boxes or cardboard and at a height that you want for your lantern (i.e. if making a lantern with a very small child, you might want to make a shorter lantern).

If you're making more than one lantern and therefore have more than one round cheese box, you will find it easier if you use two cheese box tops together and two bottoms together, as the tops and bottoms of the cheese boxes are slightly different in size. 

3. The children can then draw some colours (or whatever they wish!) on both sheets of the paper, we used wax crayons to do this, however any sort of painting materials should work.

making leaf lanterns with children

4. Then spread some glue over one of the sheets of grease proof paper and the children can stick leaves over the paper. 

5. Once the leaves have been spread over one sheet of paper, spread some more glue over the leaves and the edges of the paper and stick the other piece of paper over the top, pressing down firmly. It might be good to put some heavy books on top for a short while to let it flatten out and stick. 

6. Then take your cheese boxes, removing the “top part” of the lid, so you have access for the candle, and then glue in your grease proof paper into the cheese box lids

7. Finally add some string or wire (which is best if using a tea light as it won't burn), so you can hang your lantern off a stick and when it's dark go for a little walk outdoors with it!


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making leaf lanterns