DIY String Lanterns: A Step-by-Step Guide

String lanterns, with their soft glow and delicate structure, can transform any room or outdoor setting into a magical space. This guide will walk you through creating your own string lanterns, perfect for parties, weddings, or simply elevating your home decor. Ready to light up your world? Let’s get started!

Materials Needed

  • Round balloons (size depends on your preferred lantern size)
  • Cotton yarn or string
  • Fabric stiffener or homemade sugar starch
  • Plastic wrap (optional, for easier cleanup)
  • Petroleum jelly (optional)
  • LED tea lights (for safety over real candles)
  • A pin or needle (to pop the balloon)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Begin by covering your working surface with plastic wrap or old newspapers. If you’re using balloons that are hard to detach, applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly on them before wrapping the string will make lantern removal easier later on.

Step 2: Inflate the Balloon

Inflate your balloon to the desired size of your lantern. Keep in mind that the bigger the balloon, the larger the lantern will be.

Step 3: Soak the String

Cut several lengths of string or yarn, depending on how many lanterns you’re making. Soak the string in fabric stiffener or your homemade sugar starch until it’s fully saturated. This will help the string to harden and hold the shape of the lantern.

Step 4: Wrap the Balloon

After the string is well-coated, begin wrapping it around the balloon. You can wrap it randomly or in a more orderly fashion, but ensure you leave enough gaps to let the light shine through. Keep wrapping until you’re satisfied with the look.

Step 5: Let It Dry

Hang the wrapped balloons in a well-ventilated area or place them on a cup or bowl to dry. The drying process can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, depending on the humidity and the stiffener used.

Step 6: Pop and Remove the Balloon

Once the string has completely dried and hardened, carefully pop the balloon with a pin or needle. Gently remove the balloon fragments from your newly formed string lantern.

Step 7: Install the Lighting

Finally, insert an LED tea light into your string lantern. Due to the flammable nature of the materials, it’s crucial to use LED lights instead of real candles to prevent any fire hazard.


Voilà! You’ve just created a gorgeous string lantern that’s sure to add a cozy, inviting glow to any setting. Feel free to experiment with different sizes, colors, and configurations to make your lantern truly unique. Happy crafting!






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