Lantern Christmas Cards image

What I treasure the most about the run up to Christmas is the lighting of candles, and the quiet moments shared with my children as I do so. It's the most beautiful antidote to Christmas hype - lighting more and more as we get closer to the big day, but always connecting to what Christmas is really about as the flame starts to glow.

We can think of no better gift to pass onto people than that glowing feeling, so this year we have made Christmas cards that fold out into paper lanterns. We've also used it as a chance to experiment with some transparencies, and these are the results.

You will need: Thick paper or card, Pencil, Ruler, Scissors, Kite paper, Glue, Hole punch, Ribbon/String, Tea lights. Optional: Crayons, Biscuit cutters or Clay moulds

The Basics

You can, of course, make the lanterns any size, but most of the ones you'll see featured in this blog are made from dividing A3 and A4 sheets into thirds. The strips were then folded by thirds, with card cut away from the middle section for kite paper.

The next step is to take a piece of kite paper and stick it onto the back of the middle section of your card, where you have cut some away.

The simplest card lanterns we made, and the ones most suitable for younger children, were the ones we dotted with little stars.

After the basic steps there is nothing left to do but stick little cut out kite paper stars all over the big piece of kite paper, in whatever colours, not worrying about how many there are or if they overlap - it will all look lovely! Even if your little one is too young for the cutting out stages they can still enjoy these finishing touches.

Metal moulds or a craft punch will come in handy for little shapes

A simple but effective design, though a little trickier for the cutting out, is the one where the light comes through the star shapes.

This is where a biscuit cutter comes in handy!

Getting a bit more complicated - aka keeping things challenging for older children/providing inspiration for younger ones as they see you craft - we started to explore some ideas around the nativity. A warm glow against a backdrop of dark blue feels just right for Advent, thinking of the Star of Bethlehem above the stable.

To prevent a layer of green appearing where the yellow and blue kite paper overlapped we used a layer of white kite paper to separate them, which also added some extra glow around the yellow.

We also decided to create some scenes with the kite paper, or what is often referred to as 'transparencies'. I have to confess, a craft knife did come in handy at a few moments, though you'd be surprised at what you can achieve with a small pair of scissors.

Finally, something to use the brown kite paper for!

Conscious Craft have recently started stocking a book on Transparent Window Scenes and I'm keen to get my hands on it to get some tips on how to do things better next time, as well as ideas for other pictures. It will also give me an excuse to try out the lovely new Japanese Silk Paper.

So now for turning our lanterns into cards!

1. On the side pieces of your lanterns, half way down the outer edges, punch a hole on either side.

2. Write your message on the inside of the side pieces. We included well-wishes on one side and instructions on how to turn your card into a lantern on the other.

3. Attach your ribbon or string to the hole in the top flap of your card.

4. Package up your card with a tealight, and send to someone that you would like to give a warm glowing feeling to!

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