This latest flower project was inspired by stories from my friend Erika, who briefly lived in Seoul Korea about ten years ago. Apparently, every May, the good people of South Korea celebrate Buddah’s birthday with the Lotus Lantern Festival, a time when everyone in town decks the streets with thousands of beautiful paper lanterns. They make them out of paper cups and tissue paper, then hang them from trees and fence posts and exchange them with strangers. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Can you imagine a whole giant city lit up with paper lanterns? Man, I got to get to South Korea in the Springtime!
Anyhoot, my friend Bird needed a lamp, so when we went to Chinatown last weekend, this giant white lantern came home. Now, the plain paper lantern are nice enough, but we thought it could use some dressing up. Inspiration came from the lamp on the cover of this book, and we were off!
This project is so simple, it really doesn’t warrant a tutorial. All you need to do is glue the muffin cups to the lantern. Of course, knowing me, it’s the simple things that get flubbed most often! I quickly learned that you will end up with a mess if you don’t get a strategy first.
- Wrong way: Glue them on in tight clusters. Yeah, you would think this method would be best, but it turns out the walls of the muffin cups like to expand as they dry….they start pushing against each other and moving each other around and sometimes they just plain fall off.
- Right way: Glue them on in stripes with gaps in between. Let them dry, then fill in the gaps. This way there is room to expand. Add layers and fill in holes as you see fit. This one is difficult to mess up, as long as you let them dry properly.
Tips (images above, left to right)
- For a lantern with a 36″ diameter, it took 300 standard muffin cups + 100 mini candy cups to accent. This will vary widely, depending on size and how thick and full y’all want your ruffles.
- Hot glue will dry faster, but it will not dry completely transparent and you will see glue blobs when the lantern is lit from within. Maybe there is a special technique to avoid this, but I prefer plain old Tacky Glue.
- When choosing your lantern, be aware of the structure on the inside and how it shows when lit from within. This big white lantern was made of very thin paper and the structure lines show, but we sorta like that that effect! If you don’t like it, find a lantern made of darker/opaque paper, or triple up on muffin liners, or paint your lantern before gluing on anything.
- To add dimension, trim down some of the muffin cups to make smaller size ruffles to insert in larger ones.
- To add even more dimension, make some blossoms by rolling the trimmings and gluing them in the center.
- Important: this is difficult to move after it’s finished. Assemble it on location or get a friend to help you move it. Opening doors with this thing in your hands is just about impossible!
Also made this little one for a BBQ this weekend using orange and red polka dot cups. Aint she cute?!