Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fairy Lanterns for Spring Soirées

There's nothing that the fae folk like better than evening dances in the Spring, and May is the perfect month to invite your friends over for a little get-together.   I designed these lanterns for use with LED tea lights, and they can be either hung up or set on a tabletop.

To make your own fairy lanterns you'll need:

Creative Paperclay® modeling material
LED tea lights
acrylic paints in your choice of colors
light cardboard such as the kind that comes from cereal boxes
tissue paper in your choice of color - be aware though, that whatever color you choose will have a yellow light shining through it and will likely be "yellowish" in color.
Delta Ceramcoat gloss exterior/interior varnish
plastic wrap
sandpaper and/or Sandits sanding sticks
natural materials for embellishments

pattern page - click to enlarge

First make the form and the "bulb" section of the lantern.
Making the form is a bit tricky, but you'll be able to use it over and over again.

Cut 8 form ribs from cardboard, score along center line

Glue pairs together with spines out to form "book"
The stack should look like this
and open like this

Cut out hub, cut out and remove grey areas.  Open book sections all the way around and arrange in hub to create form.  Do not glue the last pieces together, you will need to fold this back up to remove it from the bulb. Put a few small pieces of tape on the bottom to keep hub from sliding off form while you work on it.

Cut out pieces A,B,C,D, & E from pattern paper and glue in order around form.  Start each strip at the division slot in the book, glue that edge, and continue around form, gluing paper to each rib as you go.  Trim any overlap from the paper slip so that you just have a small tab to tuck into the last segment after you've gone around the form. Note that the last circle of paper goes upside down. When all the strips are in place, remove the hub, open the book, and glue the last tab of each strip in place.  Carefully push the strip in and fold each section one at a time so that the paper creases inward, as shown.

Make sure that your form will still fold flat.

Open it back up and replace in hub.  tape in place again.  Cut a small notch in the hub to hold the thread in the next step.  Cut a piece of thread, approx. 20" long, make a loop in one end and thread the other end through.  Set this aside while you cover the form with two layers of plastic wrap (you will be able to use these many times as well)

 Slide loop of thread over form & plastic and wrap around base of form - put the end of the thread in the notch you just cut which will hold everything in place.

Trim plastic wrap and set this assembly aside.

Prepare tissue paper as follows - cut a 13" square of tissue paper, fold in half, then in half again, then fold ends together to form a triangle (you will have one fold on one side, and three folds on the other).  Cut out a shape roughly the same as your book shape when folded (only this will be larger).  Unfold and place, rough side up, on a board or piece of cardboard that has been covered in plastic wrap.   Starting at the center of the tissue, brush a layer of varnish over the entire piece of tissue paper.  Don't worry if it wrinkles.   It will look something like this.

Allow that layer to dry, then add a second layer.  When that is dry, CAREFULLY peel the entire piece from the plastic wrap.

Once you have your varnished tissue paper ready, place it, varnish side down, over the form and tie with thread in the same manner as you did for the plastic wrap.  The unvarnished side needs to be facing out.  Shape and fold the tissue down onto the form, then brush a layer of varnish over it, making sure you get varnish into the folds and over the entire piece.  When the first layer dries, add a second layer and allow that to dry as well.

When all is dry, unwrap the string from the tissue paper and from the plastic wrap.  Remove the hub and carefully begin folding the form ribs onto each other.  When the book is folded back up, remove it from the bulb.  The plastic wrap will probably come out with it, but if not, remove the plastic wrap.  You now have your tissue paper lantern bulb.  Snip the tip into sections and curl up the ends, if desired.

Cut out collar piece from cardboard.  Score collar tabs and assemble collar.  Punch holes where indicated.  Reassemble form, without the hub, and cover with plastic wrap.  Find a small jar or cup that can hold the form while you sculpt the collar.

Brush white glue over the outside of collar and allow it to get tacky while you roll some Creative Paperclay to about 1/16" thickness.  Apply a layer of clay around the collar, then sculpt as desired.  Leave tabs clear, so that they can be folded later if you want to use the lanterns over the tea lights instead of hanging the lanterns.

In my first layer I sculpted some petal shapes all around the collar

In the second layer I added leaf and vine shapes, leaving some areas open
and lifting some off the first layer so that I'll have areas to
tuck natural materials and embellishments in.

When you are done sculpting, set aside the piece to dry, leaving it on the form.  When the clay has dried, carefully remove the collar from the form, sand clay as necessary, coat inside and out with gesso, and after the gesso has dried, paint as desired.

Cut out interior ring from cardboard.  Test fit it into the collar and trim as necessary.  Remove ring and assemble as follows.

Place tissue bulb end through interior ring and pull down around ring.  Trim and glue into place - you can use paper clips to hold the tissue down while the glue is drying.

 When the bulb piece is completed, glue into place in collar.  If you've split and curled up the ends, you can use a pencil eraser to help you ease the bulb into place.  Otherwise, just place a finger in the collar and pull the ring up into the collar from the inside.  When you have the ring/bulb assembly where you want it, glue securely in place.

Add natural elements and embellishments as desired.  Hang by tabs, and put a tea light in the collar, or push the tabs flat against the inside of the collar and set the lantern over a tea light.  All that's left to do now is invite the fairies!

Thanks for joining me here again - I hope you have a beautiful month of May, with many a dance and an abundance of merriment and magic!

I'd love for you to join me for more projects & art adventures on my personal blog
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Annmakes said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Proxxon Tools said...

completely amazing...

Unknown said...

I view lots of lovely art on-line and I must say your fairy lanterns
are some of the most creative I've seen in a long time. TFS.

Tori West said...

Thank you for your nice comments!