painting sunny

Pretty Painted Paper Lanterns

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Trying saying that three times fast, am I right?

Here is the story of how we took six paper lanterns, some pretty paint, two small children and tossed it all together for one Pinterest Challenge inspired project. What’s that? You didn’t know there was a Pinterest Challenge going on?

Once again, Bower Power and Young House Love teamed up to challenge the world to create Pinteresting items, this time with friends The Remodeled Life and Decor & the Dog. This is the first time I have actually had a blog up and running during one of their Pinterest Challenges, and as it nicely coincided with a project I wanted to complete… well, the stars aligned.

These six plain white paper lanterns were actually leftover from our wedding, which was lovely. I was feeling all gushy and sentimental and just couldn’t toss the lanterns out, so they hung out in storage for a couple years before they met their destiny this past weekend. I was inspired to drag them out of storage after stumbling on this tutorial by Four Flights of Fancy. She took similar lanterns and beautified them with watercolor and her kid’s help, which really rang a bell with me of course! Check out her version – I like how she really soaked them with color – maybe ours will get another coat in the future, but the kids were being a little delicate with their brush strokes.

Latern Photo 1

We did put our own spin on it. I used acrylics – it’s what I had to make the colors I wanted. We did a little more brush-stroking rather than spraying (although I did bust out a spray bottle in the end). The kids seem to enjoy handling a paintbrush so I thought I’d give it a try first. I think they turned out just lovely!

Latern Photo 11

My supplies included:

  • Six paper lanterns (I don’t recall what they cost, but they were either from the Dollar Tree in which case they were probably… yep… a dollar each. Or, they were from a three pack at Party City here in Bloomington in which case they were probably just a few bucks)
  • Some yarn or thread
  • A cup or jar of water
  • Brushes or sponges for applying paint
  • Watercolor or acrylic paint in colors you like. I used gesso to make the white tones – I have a lot of it, and I have a little crush on gesso. It’s my version of duct tape – good for everything.
  • A drop cloth or someplace you don’t care about making a mess at.

For us, this was a no-cost project since we had all the materials on-hand. Even if you had to buy things, I imagine it could be made for pretty cheap! If you don’t have paints, I bet koolaid colors or even one of those little watercolor trays for kids for a dollar or two could do the job!

Latern Photo 10

Originally, I tied the metal top of each with some pretty wool yarn I happened to have, and which I thought would fit nicely into the colors of Haven’s room – where I intended to hang them up. All that will change eventually when I realize I hate the heavy yarn on it, and switch it out. We’ll get it that.

Latern Photo 8

While this may have been a project for his sister’s room, Diallo is pretty much ready to join into anything – and he was actually pretty focused on his work. He is much more unrestrained with his brush strokes than his sister and wanted lots of drips and cool effects, which turned out pretty cool. Just like the original creator of this project, I learned that letting the kids follow their instincts works out.

Latern Photo 9

Haven was meticulous in where she wanted the colors – but they each took turns painting each lantern so they all turned out pretty balanced. We choose a light blue, a light green, and a nice mid-tone pink so it would tie in with the rest of our plans for Haven’s room.

Latern Photo 7

Afterward, just to get the colors mixed a little better, I used my spray bottle with plain water in it and sprayed each lantern down a bit.

Latern Photo 6

These lanterns are so paper-thin, they dried in just a few minutes! We balanced them on paper plates while they were painted and dried, but it was such a quick process. Seriously – it took maybe 15 minutes, max.

Latern Photo 5

That very afternoon I proudly stomped up to Haven’s room (I’m a loud walker. Seriously.) and  hung the lanterns up – three in one corner, and three in front of the window. I tied each set of three together first, to make a little grouping of them and hung them from tiny cup hooks in the ceiling. I stood back to assess my work… and hated it.

I loved the lanterns, they actually turned out really cute and I love seeing the kid’s brushstrokes. But the yarn was all wrong! It changed them from feeling like they were floating ethereally in the air and made them heavy and clumsy. Bluck.

So, I admitted I was wrong and fixed it. What other way is there to respond, really? I went down to my workroom, grabbed some plain white thread and re-hung them.

Latern Photo 4Latern Photo 3

Muuuuuuch better. Okay, let’s admit that the pictures above aren’t great. We rent our current townhouse, and while we can repaint we didn’t bother repainting the kids rooms. Her room is a sort of a… scuffed up cream color. The trim has seen better days, too. It just isn’t real photogenic… so just blur your eyes a little bit and move on down to the rest of the post. Thanks!

This time, I re-hung them using tiny little white tacks… sort of like thumb tacks but much smaller. The lanterns weigh almost nothing, so it holds it up.

Latern Photo 2

Didn’t they turn out so sweet? They add a nice depth to the room, too, having something so light and whimsical hanging all around. They are also hung up nice and high so the kids can’t pull on them – but honestly, if they did, it wouldn’t exactly come “crashing down” on them. These things are like… an ounce each.

I can’t wait to see all the other Pinterest inspired projects posted to the blogs this week! Anyone else participating? Anyone else have plastic storage totes they want to crack open and put to use?

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Author: Dani @ Painting Sunny

Hi there! I'm Dani, and it's lovely to meet you. My little family just moved to the quaint little college-town of Ithaca, NY and are loving it. Come hang out with me and talk about food, books, art, and other odd little things.

One thought on “Pretty Painted Paper Lanterns

  1. Pingback: Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY | painting sunny

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