Illuminate your winter nights with the magic of DIY luminary bags and captivating paper bag lanterns that infuse your home with warmth and beauty.
As the days grow shorter and the winter evenings envelop us in darkness, there’s a magical charm in adorning our homes with radiant indoor light decorations. If you, like me, cherish the cosy glow of lights during this season, you’ll fall in love with the enchanting world of DIY luminary bags, also known as paper bag lanterns.
These captivating creations add a warm and inviting ambience to your living space and serve as delightful pieces of art that bring joy to your heart.
While I’ve always been a fan of using those lovely copper string lights to embellish my home, featuring them alongside my brilliant LED deer decoration and heart string lights, I stumbled upon a game-changer that elevated my lighting game to a new level – remote-controlled LED tea lights.
These tiny wonders provide the ultimate convenience, allowing you to light up an array of tea lights with a simple push of a button.
Gone are the days of fumbling inside the luminary bag to ignite each tea light. As I step into my lounge, I grab the remote, press the switch, and “voila” – my home is instantly adorned with a mesmerizing display of illuminated lanterns. Join me on this fascinating journey into the world of DIY luminary bags and discover how you can effortlessly transform your space with these delightful creations.
I’ve used the same tea lights with the rainbow postage stamp decoupage jars I made.
Brighten Up Your Home With Paper Bag Lanterns
I decided to use old maps for my DIY paper bag lanterns. Old maps conjure up memories of past travels or places I have lived. I think the light shines through them, and they are thrifty.
Even if you don’t have a vast collection of old maps like me, you can pick them up cheaply from charity/thrift stores. I often find purchasing old maps cheaper than craft paper or gift wrap! There are some fantastic vintage maps for crafting that you can print too.
A star punch was used on the bag to create a pretty light effect. You can experiment with different-shaped paper punches on your bags to see what effect you like or even use a simple round hole punch.
Even though I have made these map luminary bags as a winter decoration to brighten my home, I think they would be great for a summer outdoor party and could illuminate a garden path.
They were made similarly to these DIY wrapping paper bags.
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Supplies For Paper Luminaries
- Old maps – You can pick these up from charity/thrift stores. The bags I made were A4 size so that you can print off maps onto A4 paper. This might be handy if you are looking for maps of a particular country or state. Pictureboxblue has lots of free maps to choose from and print.
- Rotary cutter and mat if using old maps.
- Glue stick
- Paper punch – Magnetic pattern punches are good as they allow you to punch anywhere on the paper, not just the edge.
How to Make Paper Bag Lanterns
First, if using printed maps, cut the maps up into A4-sized sheets. I can generally get 6-8 A4 sheets from one standard roadmap.
Step 1: First, fold one sheet of A4 paper lengthways to overlap 5-10mm on one edge.
Make sure the map print is on the outside of the fold. Fold this flap over and glue it to the map to create a tube.
Step 2: I punch patterns into the map paper before moving to the next stage. I do it at this point as I have more of an idea of where the punched designs will appear in relation to the finished luminary bag.
Step 3: Place the map paper lengthways and fold it 5-6cm from the bottom. Use a ruler to make a nice sharp crease as you fold.
Step 4: Push in the sides of the map where you have folded so that the base of the bag opens out and lies flat, like in the picture below.
Step 5: To secure the base of the map luminary bags, fold down the top half of the base flap to just over halfway and glue it down.
Next, repeat with the bottom half of the base flat.
Step 6: Then, fold 3cm from the edge on both sides of the bag.
Step 7: The final bit is the slightly fiddly bit. You need to open up the bag by putting your hand inside and then fold in the creases on the side to make the paper bag shape.
Step 8: Finish by popping a remote-controlled light into the bag and folding it over the top.
As the remote-controlled tea lights came in a box of 12, I made 12 paper lantern bags.
I also used these LED tea lights with my Chinese paper lantern tea light jars.
I think that they look much more effective together in a big group. You could always use maps of your favourite places to make these bags to give them that personal touch. I’ve made waterproof versions of these map paper bags to use as cool plant pot covers.
FAQs Paper Bag Lantern/Luminaries
You can use any paper as long as it’s sturdy enough to hold its shape but thin enough to let the light shine through. Standard A4 printer paper, construction paper, or even brown paper bags can work well.
Due to the fire risk, using real candles in paper bag lanterns is strongly discouraged. Always opt for LED tea lights or battery-operated candles instead.
Yes, you can make paper bag lanterns in any size. Just adjust the size of your starting paper. Remember, the larger the lantern, the sturdier your paper should be.
You can make the bottom of your lantern more stable by folding in and glueing an extra inch of paper on the bottom inside of the lantern. Or by adding a cardboard base
Yes, paper bag lanterns can be used outside, but remember that rain can damage them and shouldn’t be left unattended. They should be kept away from anything flammable.
You can attach a piece of wire or string to the top of the lantern to hang it. Make sure to secure it well so it doesn’t fall.
Other Paper and Map Craft Ideas
For more papercraft ideas, visit allfreepapercraft.com