Making beautiful DIY string lanterns at home

DIY string lanterns can be used as illumination for an outdoor party, as a dining room chandelier or to dress up a bedroom. Here is a quick do-it-yourself tutorial for making elegant string-globe lanterns at home.

Making beautiful DIY string lanterns at home

Gather the supplies

Choose balloons according to the size and shape you desire for your finished lanterns. Round lanterns are most pleasing to the eye. You can choose to make several tiny globes to attach to a string of lights or to fill a vase, or you can make just one or two large lanterns.

Use strong but flexible string such as twine or cotton yarn. The colour of the string doesn't matter because you can paint the lantern when it's dry. Decide how you envision hanging the final product and choose the appropriate materials. You might need a hanging light kit and lamp cord from the hardware store, a string of lights to ball up into the lantern, or fishing line to suspend the globes. Other supplies to have on hand include:

  • Scissors
  • White school glue
  • Corn starch
  • Warm water
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Spray paint

Getting started

Prepare your work area by laying down a shower curtain, tarp or some newspaper. This project can get messy, so you need to protect your work area. You'll also need to rig something up so you can hang your lanterns to dry, such as a curtain rod suspended between two chairs.

Mix your solution

For five or six medium-sized lanterns, mix 120 millilitres each of white school glue and corn starch with 60 millilitres of warm water. If you need more or less glue solution, adjust the amount using the same ratio of ingredients.

Creating the lanterns

Follow these steps for each balloon.

  • Blow up your balloon to the desired size and shape.
  • Smear petroleum jelly all over the balloon to allow it to easily separate from the string when the lantern is dry.
  • Unravel your yarn or twine and feed it into your glue mixture as you begin to drape it around the balloon.
  • Begin by wrapping the yarn around the balloon horizontally.
  • Tuck the beginning end of the yarn under as you continue wrapping. Pull the yarn snugly against the balloon.
  • Gradually switch to wrapping vertically. Once you're done, snip the yarn and tuck in the end.


Hang the lanterns to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding as follows:

  • Pop the balloon and pull it out.
  • Spray paint the lantern any colour you desire.
  • Cut a hole in the top and insert your lighting.
  • Hang the lantern and enjoy your handiwork.

These delicate DIY string lanterns are a fun and inexpensive way to brighten up any indoor or outdoor space.

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