When traveling in Laos earlier this year, I fell in love with the beautiful star-shaped paper lanterns that hung in every tree and window. I knew I had to recreate them for my own window at home.
10 pieces light and flexible wood, like balsa wood (about 3⁄16 inch x 1⁄8 inch x 1 yard)
a few sheets of translucent paper
cord with a light bulb socket
utility knife or small saw
- Cut 10 of the wood strips into 31-inch-long strips. Make two marks on the strips, 11 inches from each end. Cut five 4-inch-long strips from the leftover pieces. Optionally, use a utility knife to carve the ends of the long sticks into wedges if you want the points of the star to be really pointy.
- Start with two long strips and two short strips. Glue the two short strips to the 11-inch marks on one long strip. Use straight pins to hold things in place while the glue dries. Then glue the ends of the two short strips to the 11-inch marks on the other long strip, creating a sort of ladder shape. Repeat this process with four more strips.
- When the glue has dried, starting with one of your two “ladders,” gently bend the ends of two long strips toward each other to make a triangle. I found it easiest to bend both ends at the same time to prevent your previous work from breaking. Glue the ends together, and clamp them together while the glue dries. Repeat on the other end and then with the other “ladder,” so you have two canoe shapes.
- With two more long strips and the last short strip, glue the ends of the short strip to the 11-inch marks on the long strips. Glue two of the ends of the canoe shapes together. Keep assembling the star by overlapping with more longer strips until the whole star begins to take form. Make sure to wait for the glue to dry for a couple of minutes between each step, using clamps and pins to keep the drying parts together.
- Cover the star with paper by cutting rough shapes a little bigger than the triangle- and pentagon-shaped holes. Cover each hole, piece by piece, and then trim off the excess paper using scissors. On top of the star, make smaller triangles for two of the holes so the light bulb cord has a place to go. Wait for the glue to dry and then hang in your favorite window!
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