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Fans of DIY, we have another interesting project for you! No living room is complete without a nice, soft light feature like a lamp or a lantern. If you fancy the latter and have a few empty cardboard boxes lying around, let’s get busy and make the Upcycled Cardboard Lantern that will provide your room with that lovely, cozy glow in the upcoming fall and winter months. As always, this is a relatively simple and straightforward DIY project that won’t break the bank, and is a quirky, but interesting addition to your home decor.

These are the materials you will need to make the Upcycled Cardboard Lantern:

  • One large cardboard box
  • Box cutter or craft knife
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Hot glue gun
  • Straight (metal) edge
  • White spray paint (to serve as the primer)
  • Gold spray paint (or a different color spray paint if you are not that fond of gold)
  • Twine
  • LED lights
  • Duck tape
  • Wooden Dowel
  • Paper Lantern template (please click here for a PDF document)

Let’s start!

1.Take your cardboard box and unfold it so it lays completely flat. Use the template (provided in the above PDF document) to draw each segment of the lantern (the measurements are also provided in the PDF document) on the cardboard. Cut out the templates using a box cutter or a craft knife. You should be left with four Pieces A (which are the lantern’s side panels), eight Pieces B (triangles) and one Piece C (to be used as a top panel).

DYI Upcycled Cardboard Lantern
2. Now, you will need to score the sides of the box. Take your box cutter or a craft knife and apply light pressure along the middle corners which you are going to fold in order to give the lantern the shape. After that, fold the scored corners of Piece A and glue every open side together. Next, you will need to apply hot glue to the triangles (Piece B) and attach them to the lantern’s main body. Cut out the top segment but don’t glue it as yet. We’ll do that in the end.

DYI Upcycled Cardboard Lantern

3. Once you have glued all the pieces (apart from the top piece) together, spray paint the cardboard with white primer. Wait until this coat dries and then apply the gold spray paint. You should do this with the top segment, too.
DYI Upcycled Cardboard Lantern
4. Make sure that the paint has completely dried and then proceed onto the next step. Take the tissue paper (in color of your choice), cut big enough pieces to cover the lantern’s windows and glue the paper to the open windows from the inside of the lantern.

DYI Upcycled Cardboard Lantern

5. Now, it’s time to attach LED lights to your little creation. There is no specific brand of LED light that we could recommend for this lantern. Basically, you can use any battery-operated LED lights. To secure the lights to the lantern, duck tape the twine to the back of the LED lights and then, by hanging the lights inside the lantern, measure how long your twine should be. Cut the twine but leave an inch extra. Pull the twine through the hole in the lantern’s top segment and tie its other end to a stick (you can use an ordinary popsicle stick) or a wooden pin.

DYI Upcycled Cardboard Lantern

6. And the last step is to secure the LED lights in the lantern and close it with the top piece.

DYI Upcycled Cardboard Lantern

Voila! Your DIY Upcycled Cardboard Lantern is finished! The best thing about this lantern is that you can actually reuse the materials that you most probably already have at home, and it is pretty quick and easy to make (no special skills required). Its geometric shape makes it look as modern and cool as the lanterns you would usually buy in light fixtures stores. The Upcycled Cardboard Lantern is a great way to refresh and illuminate that dark corner in your room, as well as to reinvent materials that you would otherwise throw in the garbage / recycling bin. Last but not least, with small modifications, you can use this lantern as a table centerpiece, a camping light or even as a garden path light. All you need to do is to let your creativity and imagination guide you.

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