Gorgeous DIY Tissue Paper Lanterns

DIY tissue paper lanterns

File these under beautiful but time-consuming. I wanted a somewhat uncommon decoration for my daughter’s birthday party, and I had pinned these stunning lanterns from Martha Stewart’s website years ago. I have some ratty old paper lanterns that I wasn’t probably going to use again so I decided I would finally try these fluttery lanterns. These are really easy to make, they just take a bit of time. Luckily my girls fell in love with them too and wanted them to hang permanently in their room. Read on to learn how to make these gorgeous DIY tissue paper lanterns.



All you need to make these beautiful tissue paper lanterns is tissue paper, double-sided tape, and a lantern. You can choose any size of lantern that you like, as I mentioned I had a few old lanterns in storage so I used what I had. My lanterns were the larger 16 inch size, but you can use smaller or larger ones for this as well.


tissue paper lantern tutorial

Choose a lighter colored lantern, especially if the tissue paper you’re going to use is also a lighter color. I used yellow lanterns and you can see it on some parts of the pink lantern. The gold covered it completely though, so if you’re using dark colors, especially metallic just go with what you’ve got.


If you don’t have any lanterns that you can use, most craft and party supply stores carry them. Some dollar stores do as well. However, if you want to make a bigger lantern you may need to order online. Paper lanterns are easy to find at most online party stores and they tend to be better stocked.


You can buy tissue paper circles from craft stores or online which makes things a lot easier, but I kind of came up with this plan last minute so I just cut mine out of tissue paper I had for the party (the party as a pink gold color scheme). I used not quite one pack of tissue paper for each lantern. If you already have a lantern this is a fairly inexpensive project.


tissue paper lanterns

I used a 2 1/2 inch sized circle cookie cutter to trace my circles and then cut as many sheets of tissue as possible to cut down on time. You could easily use larger circles, it would make this project quite a bit faster and still look lovely. When cutting don’t stress if your circles aren’t perfect. Mine certainly weren’t, evident by the photo above. As long as one side is neatly cut that’s all you need. Just make sure any ragged edges are the part that you’re taping to the lantern since it will be covered by the next overlapping layer.


When you’re cutting your circles also be sure not to cut any on the creases if you’re using tissue paper from a package. The creases will push the layer above out and the circles won’t sit as evenly. If you’re buying pre cut tissue paper circles you won’t have this problem.


Another idea you could do is an ombre tissue paper lantern. To accomplish this you need at least three different shades of the same color of tissue paper. If you’re doing an ombre where the second color is very light you could even use white tissue paper. If you do use white make sure that your lantern is white as well since a colored lantern will definitely show through on parts of the white.


Before starting your ombre lantern you will want to try and figure out how many rows of circles you will have and then split them up evenly into the number of different shades you have. Start with the darkest color on the bottom and work your way up to the lightest color on top. If you are using a paper lantern with a spiraling wire it should be easy to count the rows of wire to figure out what you need.


You could also use more than one color on your lantern, but I would stick with just one other color to keep it from looking too busy. You could use two shades of the same color (dark pink and light pink for example) and alternate between each color, or even do alternating rows. These lanterns are very versatile and can be used for any party theme. I can totally picture aqua and purple lanterns for a mermaid party, or gold and silver for New Years Eve.


Work Work Work

Grab yourself a glass of wine, this is going to take a while. Each lantern took me over an hour to do, but seriously look at these beauties! Start from the base of the lantern and tape each circle on at the top. Make sure each one is slightly overlapping the next. I used the spiraling wire around the entire lantern as my guide for where to tape the next circle. I put the tape just below the wire and since it spirals just keep on going until you reach the top.


tissue paper lantern


tissue paper lantern


tissue paper lantern

And that’s it! You can use these lanterns for any occasion and even use them as decor in a child’s room. My girls loved these lanterns so I hung them up in their room. If I ever do a party where they would work for a decoration I’ll use them then as well. These probably won’t store very well since you don’t want the tissue paper circles to get crushed at all. If you do I suggest putting them in a large bin or box on their own.


DIY tissue paper lantern


I hope you enjoyed my tissue paper lantern tutorial, if you have any questions, comments, or have done your own tissue paper lantern project please feel free to leave them below! I’m always happy to help and love to see other ideas. Thanks for stopping by!

4 thoughts on “Gorgeous DIY Tissue Paper Lanterns

  1. Gorgeous lanterns! They almost look like little clouds.This would be perfect for a fancy dinner party, especially if you had a lot of help. I liked your suggestion of using larger circles since that seems like it would really cut down on time that it takes to make these.

    Believe it or not, I have never actually used paper lanterns. What is the best way to hang them from the ceiling? Do you need to nail a hole?

    1. Thanks! I usually use a push pin to hang them. It leaves a pretty small hole, but my ceiling is textured so you can’t really notice. If you don’t want to hang them with a push pin I would just use tape, you might need a couple of pieces but they should hold. Hope that helps!

  2. Oh wow I love these, and my daughter would love them even more! Pretty much all of our lamp shades are paper so we could easily get some of these done. I’ve always been teased about my paper lampshades but there’s something so simple and unpretentious about them, although they can look dull sometimes…have you tried doing these in different colours on the same shade or would that look too “busy”?

    1. Hi Alice! I think you could do it depending what colors you choose. For instance, if you did an ombre (starting with darker shades at the bottom) that would look really cool. Otherwise I would stick with maybe two colors at the most. Hope this helps!

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