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Free Colourful Chinese Printable Paper Lantern Templates

This delightful and versatile craft embodies the spirit of the Lunar New Year celebration and beyond. I’ll guide you through creating charming Chinese paper lanterns and an enchanting decorative garland using free printable templates. This great project is a fun activity and an excellent way to add a touch of celebration to your home.

We celebrate Chinese New Year in our house with enthusiasm. Though not Chinese by heritage, my upbringing in Hong Kong has deeply ingrained some of the culture and traditions in me. Crafting for Chinese New Year and other celebrations like Burn’s Night and Valentine’s Day brings immense joy to my home.

I made rainbow thistle decorations for  Burn’s Night on the 25th of January (my mother is Scottish). My birthday falls on Valentine’s Day. I love to craft and fill my house with heart decorations to celebrate.  

Making Upcycled Tea Light Jars for Chinese New Year

Last year, I embarked on a project to create cute upcycled tea light jars from small yoghurt jars, perfect for holding LED candles. This year, I’ve decided to elevate this idea by using a free printable template to craft my own Chinese lantern that will adorn my mantle, a nod to the end of Chinese New Year festivities.

Inspired by the traditional Chinese paper lantern, these lanterns are as vibrant as my previous postage stamp creations. I’ve selected colourful patterns from a 19th-century book, “Examples of Chinese Ornament,” making them decorations and pieces of history.

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Materials Needed for Your Own Mini Lantern Creation

What you need for lantern tea light jars

Free Paper Lantern Template: Your Gateway to Chinese Lantern Craft

I’ve designed six unique Chinese lantern templates, easily accessible through my blog. With just a few clicks, you can download these free printables, ready to transform into your own Chinese lanterns.

 If you right-click your mouse on the larger picture, you will have the menu option to save it to your device.

These mini paper lanterns were designed to go around small yoghurt jars. However, you can print them on construction paper; they will stand up independently and be used for garlands.

Chinese Paper Lantern Designs 1

Chinese paper lantern templates 1

Chinese Paper Lantern Designs 2

Crafting Your Lanterns: A Simple Paper Lantern Guide

Step 1: Start by cleaning your jars thoroughly.

Step 2: Print out the lantern templates in high quality to ensure bright, beautiful lanterns.

There are three lantern templates per page. Cut each one out using scissors.

Printing out the paper lantern templates

Step 3: Meticulously Cut and fold the templates, following the solid and vertical lines.

Folding template in half

Step 4: Black lines are marked at equal distances along the lantern template. Using a pair of scissors, cut along these lines. Do not go beyond the end of the black lines. Once all the slits have been cut, unfold the Chinese paper.

cutting slits in Chinese template
Chinese paper lantern pattern

Step 5: Wrap the cut template around the jar, securing it with double-sided tape.

Adding double sided tape to the jars
Wrapping the Chinese paper pattern around the jar.

Step 6: Add a touch of flair with washi tape along the top and bottom of the jars. I wrapped the washi tape around the jars twice. That was so the pattern below wasn’t visible through the tape.

rainbow washi tape
adding washi tape to Chinese tea light jars

Step 7: Insert an LED candle to complete your charming tea light jar. You can use mini real candles safely inside a jar and away from the paper.

Putting the tea light in the jar
Chinese Lantern tea light jar
Mini Chinese Paper Lantern Tea light Jars

A New Twist: DIY Paper Lanterns as a Decorative Garland

In addition to these tea light jars, these printable paper lantern templates can be wonderfully repurposed into a decorative hanging garland. Add a small strip of paper at the top of each lantern to form a loop, and string them together.

This style of paper lantern garland can be a beautiful addition to any room, bringing good luck and a festive atmosphere. It’s a great project for the entire family and can be a highlight during dragon dances or any Chinese New Year activities.

DIY upcycled Chinese paper lanterns

Conclusion: Celebrating with Beautiful Lanterns

Whether you want to enhance your Chinese New Year celebration or add a cute decoration to your space, these easy-to-make lanterns are a perfect choice. By the end of this simple project, you’ll have your own Chinese lanterns and perhaps a garland that reflects the joyous spirit of the Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Remember, these aren’t just for the Lunar New Year; they can brighten your home throughout the year!

Stay tuned for more Chinese New Year crafts, DIY paper lanterns, and other creative paper decoration ideas on my blog. Embrace the art of traditional Chinese paper lantern making and enjoy crafting your own lanterns with these free templates!

The finished lantern looks lovely with my handmade Chinese hexagon patchwork cushions.  I’ve also made some fabulous candles in Chinese teacups to add to my Chinese Lunar New Year decorations.

The beauty of these paper lanterns lies in their versatility and the endless possibilities for customization. Creating your design is a straightforward process: choose your preferred paper, cut it to the desired size, and carefully draw the necessary slit lines. I’ve also found a treasure trove of vintage Japanese art prints that could be transformed into stunning lantern designs, offering another avenue for creative expression.

The remote-controlled LED lights are good fun with these upcycled map luminary bags.

If you liked these Chinese paper lanterns, you might like these illuminated decoration ideas.

Yield: Mini Paper Lantern Tea Light Jars

How To Make Chinese Lantern Tea Lights

Mini Chinese Paper Lantern Tea light Jars

A very cute upcycle of mini yogurt jars with free printable paper lantern templates to make these tea light jars. A great decoration craft for Chinese New Year, but other designs would look great all year round on the mantle. Use remote-controlled LED tea lights to make them easy to switch off and on.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 10


  • Mini glass jars -I used Aldi homemade yogurt jars
  • Double sided sticky tape
  • Washi tape in various colors
  • Free printable paper lantern template (see blog)
  • Remote controlled LED lights
  • 2 sheets of standard computer paper


  • Scissors
  • Home printer


  1. Clean all labels off the yogurt jars with hot soapy water.
  2. Print off the paper lantern template and cut it out. There are six different designs to choose from. Make sure to choose the best quality print option from the printer's advance menu settings.
  3. Fold the printed paper template in half lengthways and crease the fold.cutting slits in Chinese template
  4. Cut slits into the template using scissors and following the printed black lines.
  5. Unfold the cut paper with slits.
  6. Place double-sided sticky tape around the top and the bottom of the glass jars.
  7. Wrap the paper template to the jar using the sticky tape.
  8. Wrap a stripe of washi tape around the top and around the bottom of the jar. Use washi tape in a complementary color.
  9. Finally, put an LED tea light into each of the mini jar paper lanterns.
Free printable Chinese lantern templates


Thursday 11th of March 2021

These cute mini paper lanterns sit on my mantle and they look really bright and colorful. I love that the LED lights are remote controlled. This makes them so easy to switch on and off. I love the way of presenting it.

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 11th of March 2021

Thank you, those LED lights are a game changer.

Naush Samama

Monday 15th of February 2021

Claire, these lanterns look so cute. Thank you for sharing with us at Meraki Link Party. Naush

Claire Armstrong

Monday 15th of February 2021

Thank you so much.


Tuesday 9th of February 2021

I love, love, LOVE these paper lanterns! You always make the most wonderful crafts. (I want to be like you when I grow up . . . )

Here in Utah, (in the United States) where I live, our yogurt comes in plastic containers. Rats! So I'm just going to print up your templates on heavy card stock paper.

I'm going to feature this at my link party tonight on my Grandma Ideas website. Thanks so much for always participating and sharing your awesome crafts.

Happy birthday -- a little bit early. Today is our daughter's birthday. Daughters who are born around Valentine's Day are extra special to their mothers!

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Aww, that's so kind of you. I'm sure the heavy paper will work well too. Happy Birthday to your daughter, I know so many people with a birthday today. Thanks for the feature.

Lisa | Handmade in Israel

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

I love that you are continuing with the traditions you grew up with. These lanterns are delightful and look fun to make.

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Thank you, they were fun and look great on my mantle. I'm looking forward to Chinese New Year on Friday we will be celebrating with a special meal.

Donna L Savage

Sunday 7th of February 2021

Hi. Love these as they remind me of my birthday parties as a young girl. I’m 62 and remember so well my mother cutting colored construction paper to make the folded and cut shape and then insert an oblong balloon in the center to hang The whole bunch from the ceiling over the party table. I’m not Chinese. I guess my mom must’ve seen this idea in a woman’s magazine and they were so cute and cheap to make!

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 7th of February 2021

Thank you. Yes the hanging paper lanterns look great too. You can make these as hanging lanterns as well. They do make a lovely paper decoration.

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