Let’s make these celestial lanterns, or giant snowflakes, in 3D! These are indeed very very large! When I first saw these giant paper snowflakes, I knew I had to make them. Snowflakes are one of my favorite subjects for macro photography. I look forward to those wintery days to catch the little ice crystals and look at them through my DSLR camera. There’s nothing more beautiful than those tiny works of art. And yes, each one is different from the other.
These celestial lanterns are SVG files from SVGcuts, so you’ll need an electronic cutting machine such as a Silhouette, Cricut, or similar to complete this project. You can either purchase the whole kit which contains three different lantern styles and sizes, or just purchase each one separately if you prefer to make only one.
Just an FYI, since these lanterns are very large: they require several 12×12 sheets of heavy weight card stock. Since I’ll be making the large lantern for this project, it will require 16 sheets of card stock. If you watch Mary’s assembly video for the lanterns, she shows you how many pieces of paper you’ll need. She also lists everything you need in the optional PDF print out that comes with these files.
So I went on a hunt for all the materials needed, since it’s rather difficult these days in the states to find even craft items. Several items I needed to order and wait a week or so to receive through the mail. So just a heads up, if you want to make the celestial lanterns, it may take a bit for you to find the needed materials.
- Electric cutting machine (Silhouette or Cricut, etc.)
- Celestial Lantern svg file
- Heavy weight card stock in white and or vanilla (I use American Crafts). I choose to do all three in one color, but you can choose any colors you like.
- Favorite paper craft glue (mine is Aleene’s Tacky)
- Bone Folder
- Three E12 single socket white 11 foot cord
- Pack of E12 Candelabra Led Bulbs
- Roll of white electrical tape
- Velcro dots (optional)
Everything here listed I purchased. There are no affiliated links.
- Purchase the entire Celestial Lantern Kit or a single lantern if you prefer. Print off the included PDF and read through it so you’ll know the amount of card stock you’ll need for each lantern. The PDF also has instructions on how to fold each panel. It also helps to watch Mary’s assembly video so you’ll know exactly how to put the lanterns together.
- Cut out your pieces and set each section in its own stack. There should be a stack for four top circle panels, the plain panels, and the door panel.
- Then, take each section and use a bone fold tool to get a nice smooth crease at each mountain or valley fold. The bone folder helps to get those crisp creases and points.
4. The first section of the celestial lanterns to begin gluing is at the two circle cut outs. There should be four total: two for the front, and two for the back.
5. Mary’s instructions are to assemble the front of the celestial lanterns first. I decided to start with the back first. This was kind of a practice assembly, so if I messed up, it would be hidden on the back side. These are very large pieces to glue together, so you really want to make sure you’re lining everything up correctly, especially at the points near the centers. Also, be very light handed with your glue to avoid any paper wrinkling, and let your glue grab hold and press out until smooth before moving on to the next section.
6. When working on the back, remember that the panel with the flap is glued next to the cut out circle sections at the top of the lantern. Then, just continue to go around bending the panels at the folds into the snowflake shape as you go. Once you’ve completed your panel, set it aside an let it completely dry. I let mine dry over night so I didn’t have to worry about any seams coming apart when gluing the front and back together.
7. Before you glue the finished top front and back sections together, you need to measure how long you want your electrical cord to be inside the lantern. Follow along with Mary’s assembly video to see how she wraps the white electrical tape around the cord. I ended up taking the metal side prongs off the light bulb socket. I found they would be in the way when I wanted to remove the cord for some reason. There is a small screw head with a bolt on the other side that unscrews easily. Just remove those parts and place them in a container to save for later.
Tip: remember to test your cords and light bulbs to make sure they work properly before placing them in your lanterns.
8. Take note that when you’re ready to assemble the front and back panels together, you’re not going to start at the top where the circle cut outs are. Instead, you want to start with the next section below. Take your time and line each section up as well as you can. Take extra care to ensure the points on the lanterns are lined up. Be sure to bend the folds as you go to help keep their shape.
9. Once you’ve reached the top of the lantern, slide the electrical plug into the celestial or snowflake lantern. Instead of gluing the top flaps shut, I used Velcro dots to hold the flaps down. This way I can take out my cord without tearing my paper lanterns.
Tip: I had to stand my lantern up so I could glue part of the edge and tip together on on of the panels. To do this without damaging the point I placed it in a canning jar. This worked really great and the lantern did not fall over while it was drying. I also used small clamps to help hold the edge the paper together I got from the Dollar Store in the craft section.
10. It’s a good idea to let your celestial lanterns fully dry before hanging them up so they don’t slide around or come apart. Once dry, go ahead and hang them up!
11. Assemble the medium and small lanterns as you did the first one. Start with the back panels before working on the front. Add in the electric cords wrapped with the electrical tape. Glue on the optional velcro dots at the top flaps if you want.
The Final Look
It took me several days to cut and assemble these lovely creations. You may be a little quicker putting them together than I was, but that’s me, Miss Putsy!
The sheer size of these celestial lanterns is impressive. They’ll be a big hit no matter where you hang them. I hung mine above my fireplace with my little paper made winter village below them.
If you love working on large scaled projects, give these a try. They really light up a room!