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How to Make Floating Paper Lanterns

I think the most popular item I made for this dinner party were the floating candles. Today I am finally going to share with you how I made floating lanterns. They came out great and are very easy to make.

How to Make Paper Floating Lanterns

Whenever I throw a dinner party I usually have a vision. I created this outdoor dining room and also I knew I wanted to do something to highlight the pool. I just wasn’t sure what I should do! Until I figured out how to make floating lanterns. 

I have never owned or used floating lanterns before. Originally I went to Amazon to see what I could buy online. But then I realized, why buy them when I can make them? 

And can I just say how much I love how these came out? That is because they actually float!

paper lanterns near the pool

If you want to see more of how I created this magical party for my family, go to these blog posts:

How to Plan a Backyard Dinner Party

How to Host a Dinner Party

How to Make Paper Lanterns

Materials to Make a Paper Lantern

What You Need to Make Paper Lanterns

Everything I used to make these lanterns I found at home! Here is what you need:

Parchment paper

Plastic plates (I had square but you could also use round plates.)

Tea Lights

Glue –  Beacon Quick Grip or Beacon Multi-Grip (This is important because practically nothing sticks to parchment paper! Trust me, I know!)

Fishing line or Thin string

Something to use as a pool weight

Paper Lanterns

Steps to Make a Paper Lantern

  1. Measure all of the way around your plastic plate. Add 1″ for seams and that is the length you need to cut for your paper lantern.
  2. Determine the height of your lantern. I made my lanterns 7″ tall and added 1/2 inch to use as the seam to go around the bottom of the plate. This is where the glue is placed to attach the parchment paper to the plate.

Measure the Parchment Paper

3. Cut your paper to size, just don’t forget to add the seam allowance.

Measure and Cut the Paper  

4. Fold 1/2″ along the bottom edge of the parchment paper. 

How to Make a Paper Lantern

5. Place glue along one edge and adhere the parchment paper to the bottom of the plastic plate. 

OK, this is where I need to talk about the glue. I tried six different kinds of tape and my glue gun and just so you know, NOTHING sticks to parchment paper. I thought packing tape or painters tape or medical tape would work. I also thought a glue gun would work and that didn’t either.

I was lucky to have met an amazing gal at the ALT Conference from Beacon Adhesives. She sent me an assortment of glue and I tried two kinds, the Multi-Grip, and the Quick-Grip. Both of these glues worked perfectly! Which was amazing since I spent two hours trying to stick the parchment paper and the plates together.

Glue the Edges of the Paperr Lantern

6. Glue along the side edge to close the lantern.

Inside of the Paper Lantern

Crease the edges to create a square. That is all you need to do! 

 

The last step is placing the tea lights on to the plate and floating the candles in the pool. You should weight them down so the lights don’t all float to the same place. We attached fishing line to a metal lid and then taped it to the bottom of the plastic plate. Just make sure the “weights” are strong enough to hold the lanterns in place. Also, the fishing line should be long enough so that the lantern isn’t pulled underwater,

Watch the video to see how my two sons placed the lights in the pool.

The boys also figured out that tea flights float in a pool.

Floating Paper Lanterns  

These were so easy to make and made such a dramatic impact on the overall look and feel of the party.

paper lanterns

Tomorrow I will be sharing the menu from the party.

Pin the image below to your Entertaining or Partydecor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

How to Make Floating Paper Lanterns

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14 Responses

  1. Leslie, where is the video to see how your boys put the lanterns in the pool? Also, what is the string or fishing line for? Thanks!

  2. Hi Leslie,
    Your dinner party looks beautiful!

    In your video, you say “paper” plates but I think the blog photos show “plastic” plates. Do you recommend plastic?

    Also, do you have details on how to attach the fishing line & weight? Do you use a long lengh of line so the weight is way below the pool’s surface? Thanks for clarifying!

  3. The last part—about the metal rings and weighing the tea lights down, plus what the fishing line is for—Leslie, can you clarify? More info?

  4. I made one of these today and trialed it in the pool. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay on top of the water. I used a round plastic plate. I wanted to see how long it would last and walked away from it. But less than a half hour later it was at the bottom of the pool. The glue and parchment worked perfectly. It just didn’t stay afloat.
    Do you have any suggestions for what I did wrong? I love them so much and want to try to make them for our daughters wedding next weekend. ❤️

    1. I’m not Leslie but curious which way did you orient the plate, bottom side up or bottom side down? Most plates are curved/have a lip and whichever way it is glued in could affect whether it tips over or not when floating. I’m thinking maybe it tipped over and took on water?

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I'm Leslie,
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