How to Make Floating Paper Lanterns
I think the most popular item I made for this dinner party was the floating lanterns and today I am excited to share with you how I made them. They came out great and are very easy to make.
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 love hosting parties in our backyard and this was one of my favorites. But I wanted to add something fun in our pool.
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?
I should probably also mention I needed them for the next night so I didn’t really have time to ship them.
And can I just say how much I love how these floating lanterns came out? That is because they actually float!
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
If you are enjoying my blog, you can sign up to receive my blog updates here. .
How to Make Paper Floating Lanterns
What You Need to Make Paper Floating Lanterns
Everything I used to make these lanterns I found at home! Here is what you need:
Plastic plates (I had square but you could also use round plates.)
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
Steps to Make a Paper Lantern
- 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.
- 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.
3. Cut your paper to size, just don’t forget to add the seam allowance.
4. Fold 1/2″ along the bottom edge of the parchment paper.
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 painter’s 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 a few years ago 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.
6. Glue along the side edge to close the lantern.
Crease the edges to create a square. That is all you need to do!
The last step is placing the tea lights onto the plate and floating the candles in the pool. You should weigh 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.
Matt and Michael placed the floating lanterns in the pool. They also figured out that tea lights float in the pool. that was a nice surprise.
These were so easy to make and made such a dramatic impact on the overall look and feel of the party.
Links to Items Similar to What is Seen in This Post
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!
For more real-time updates, follow me on Instagram @My100YearOldHome
I cant Believe you made these with just simple things around the house! So awesome!!!!
I will definitely give this a try! Thank you for the tutorial!
Thank you Leslie! I am inspired to try this! It looks so beautiful!
Thank you I’ve been looking everyday for this. Can hardly wait to make these for my next party.
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!
So So fun! I don’t have a pool, but I bet I could find a way to float these for my next outdoor dinner party! You are so amazingly creative!!
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!
I need more detailed instructions, please.
So pretty and I would love to try to make these. Thank you.
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?
Aaaaaaa! I love these. Thank you so much for posting this DIY! Love it! Pinned.
Yay! Can’t wait for you to try it out!
These are beautiful! I’d also like to see how you attached the fishing line and floated them. Thanks.
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. ❤️
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?
I love this! We are hosting an at home Homecoming this September for our daughter’s senior year and I will definitely be making these! Thank you so much for sharing! I love following you on Instagram!!
Such a great idea and so easy to make. Hugs to you.
Thank you Renae. Right back at you!
You sure know how to party!!!!! Everything always looked so pretty. .
Haha! Yes, I do. Thanks!
Now if I only had some water in my backyard! It is a beautiful setting for a dinner party or maybe just for family too
Agreed! Good for either.
Really beautiful, lovely idea. I love lights in my garden at night. And, I have a pond!
I bet that is beautiful!
I would like to know how you marked the plates on the table with the guests names.
Also I have done similar but just floated tea lights in my bird baths which are placed around the yard. Looks lovely, just remember to gather them afterwards so birds can get to their water!