Children’s Art Lanterns

I love lanterns of all kinds, and paper bag lanterns are one of the simplest to create. In fact you don’t really have to do anything to them at all to create a beautiful lantern, other than put a lamp or candle inside (making sure of course that the flame is protected in a jar). You can use any colour bag, but white bags create the most ethereal lanterns, and will give out the most light. As I stock packs of plain white paper gift bags (available in packs of 5 or 10) for children to decorate at Artful Kids, I thought I would use one of the smaller packs for this project.

To create children’s art lanterns, you can of course just paint straight onto the bag. The best effect will be obtained if you use a paint that allows light to pass through, such as watercolour, felt-pens or ink, but not tempera paint which will block the light. However for these bags I decided I wanted to create a frame effect, and also to use some existing artwork, so I cut a frame out of one side of the bag. I then trimmed the artwork to size and oiled it with some clear paraffin lamp oil to make it more translucent. I suspect this would make the bag rather more flammable, which makes it doubly important to protect the candle flame with a jar, and also to make sure that the lantern is not left unattended – something which is good practice in any case whenever an open flame is being used. The artwork was then taped to the inside of the bag, to cover the window. Even when not being used as lanterns, these make attractive gift bags in their own right.




I also created a lantern which is a variation of the Valentine card I wrote about a few weeks ago, by cutting a design out of one side of the bag, using a sharp scalpel and cutting board (placed inside the bag). I then taped a piece of the kids bubble painting artwork inside the bag, so that it could be seen through the cut-out design. When you place a candle inside it lights up the artwork behind, which can be seen glowing through the cut-out design on the front. Of course you could dispense with the children’s artwork altogether here if you like, and just put a piece of coloured paper, or even foil behind to reflect the light. In fact, this version actually looks quite good in the daytime, even without a candle, just stood in front of a window.




I was really pleased with the lanterns which look gorgeous grouped together, and would provide a wonderful form of outdoor lighting for summer evening entertaining.




This post was created for Tinkerlabs Paper Bag Challenge

Pin It
17 Responses to “Children’s Art Lanterns”
  1. Oooh I LOVE your lanterns!! They look gorgeous! We will most definitely be making some of these one day… am off to pin it now, so I don’t forget!


  2. Victoria says:

    These are so pretty. I’m off to find some more bags to start cutting up.

  3. PlayDrMom says:

    These are beautiful! We will definitely doing these in the future. With a 2 and a 5 year old here, we will try them with the flameless candles I have around … that way we get the pretty glow, but without the danger!

  4. So beautiful!! What a unique way to display children’s artwork! We also did luminaries for the challenge. =)

  5. jude says:

    Thanks Maggy!

  6. jude says:

    Good idea – same effect but much safer!

  7. jude says:

    Ha – great minds think alike once again – I’m sure there will be more!

  8. These are so lovely – I have some battery powered tea lights at home I think I just found a use for. Thanks for the great idea.

  9. Gorgeous!!! I’ve seen children’s art displayed in so many ways, and this is absolutely unique. Can’t wait to try it ourselves. And thanks for joining the challenge!

  10. these are so beautiful! what a lovely idea!

  11. amber says:

    I think these are lovely. The bags would make just adorable gift bags also love the artwork idea.

  12. Eryn says:

    These bags are beautiful. You could take the light out of a solar sidewalk lamp instead of using a candle so there would be no fire hazards. I will put some sand in the bottom of my bags to keep them from blowing away in the Oklahoma wind.

  13. jude says:

    Great idea, and much safer!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] what to do with your kids’ art pieces? Check out these steps for making art lanterns using children’s art pieces, by Artful […]

  2. […] Nog meer lampion ideetjes voor Sint Maarten, hieronder een lampion gemaakt van bruine papieren zakken. Ik weet zo snel niet waar je deze vandaan kunt halen, maar ik vind dit wel een prachtige basisvorm voor een lampion. Makkelijk aan te passen aan een thema. Bron: Artful Kids […]

  3. […] adorable¬†Children’s Art Lanterns¬†by Artful Kids does double duty by upcycling paper bags as […]