DIY Lanterns

Diy lanterns - How to make a lantern is an easy tutorial to make your own felt lanterns. It's an easy beginner sewing project for everybody, even if you have never sewn before, and a great thing to sew together with kids. Give sewing a go - and find out more about the Sew-A Softie initiative later in the post - or in my last year's free softie pattern and tutorial.
diy lanterns
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First off, you might not know it, but I've got tons of FREE PATTERNS on this site, including these you will really want to check out:
Now, back to my today's project: Today I'm sharing a little project for using up felt scraps that will make some pretty decorative lanterns for hanging up around the home - also perfect as diy birthday party decor! And you don't need a sewing machine at all, a needle and thread will do just fine.

These felt lanterns can be made by kids, and this tutorial is made for kids to learn sewing. This time, I'm taking part in the Sew-A-Softie, an initiative to encourage both adults and children to give sewing a go.

perfect diy birthday party decor

Lanterns are one of the few things I thought of this year when planning our kids' parties. They both have birthdays in the summer, making it an ideal occasion to add color and easy party decor to our backyard. What I was looking for was something to have in addition to balloons (we'll never get rid of balloons!) that we could use year after year, and something that can be pulled from the storage box and have an instant diy party decor. (Admitting that paper lanterns don't survive that long in our home...)

Also, these felt decorations are brilliant kid-made home decor they can keep in their rooms long after their birthday party is over.

First, for those of you who like video tutorials, I've made a video slide-show just to make it easier for you. Check it out:

What I love about them, apart from the colors?
1) easy to make - kid friendly!
2) any size, any occasion
3) no need for a sewing machine
4) reusable year after year
4) so cute!

So if you have a grandchild or know a kid who'd like to sew, give it a try! Sew these simple lanterns together and have tons of fun :)
diy lanterns


You'll need:
diy lanterns

Felt required:
  • 5" x 1/2" strip of felt - for the handle
  • 6" x 4" (1 piece) - for the lantern body
  • 6" x 1/2" (2 pieces) in contrasting colors, as embelishment

  • matching thread, 
  • sewing needle or sewing machine
  • embroidery floss
  • scissors
  • measuring tape
  • option: pompom trim (6 inch per lantern)

    How To Make A Lantern

    This is how to make your felt lanterns. I added images to every step, so if your kids want to follow the instructions here, they do not necessarily need to read them.

    diy felt lanterns
    1) Fold the main piece in half lengthwise.

    how to make a lantern
    2) Cut on the folded side. Make sure not to cut all the way through.

    diy felt lanterns
    3) Place the two 6" stripes on the top and bottom of the piece. Feel free to add a pompom trim, or tassels if you like. My daughter is all about little fluffy pompoms, so we added them to each of the lanterns.

    easy diy party decor
    4) Stitch the stripes in place. They will make your lanterns more stable in the wind. And add additional colors (which always translates to 'prettier' in my sewing world!)

    diy lanterns
    Make sure the stitches catch any middle layers (such as these pompoms). you might want to use wonder tape to temporarily stick the stripes to prevent sliding, or use wonder clips (I did).

    This is the part that is the most adjustable: the stitching should be tailored to the age and skills of the child you are sewing with. No need to limit yourself or the kid, use any embroidery stitch you might like. Here I am showing a few different embroidery stitches (simple!) to give you a few ideas for your own diy lanterns:

    how to sew basic stitches
    Back stitch

    diy lantern
    Chain stitch

    diy felt lanterns
    Running stitch

    easy sewing project
    5) After the two stripes are done, now's the time to either fingerpress the fold lengthwise, or use iron with a cloth and a low heat to set the crease on the lantern.

    diy felt lanterns
    6) Fold the sheet into a cylinder and make a few stitches to join the two ends. We only stitched at the bottom and at the top of the lantern, it's enough.

    diy lantern
    7) Attach the handle.

    diy lantern
    8) Hang and enjoy!

    You can take a string and hang them up in a kid's room. A wonderful decoration! These diy lanterns will look really cute when you hang them in the backyard for a birthday party.

    diy garland

    The sewing skills required are the very basic ones. An excellent project to start with kids who have not sewn yet, and you can use it to introduce the basic embroidery stitches.

    Feel free to embellish the lantern with more stitching. Or sew on additional scrap pieces of felt, or even these felt flowers if you like:

    diy home decor                  diy flower decoration
               ROLLED Felt Flowers Tutorial                              FOLDED Felt Flowers Tutorial

    As already mentioned, I'm taking part in the Sew-A-Softie tutorial hop, brought to you by Trixi at Coloured Buttons , an initiative to encourage both adults and children to give sewing a go. I just can't wait to see what my fellow sewing bloggers will come up with! You can follow them here, or join Trixi's Sew-A-Softie FB group - I'm part of that group, too, and love the fun tutorials I see there and opportunities to sew with kids all year long!

    Pin For Later:

    How to make a lantern out of felt is an easy and quick beginner sewing project, and a perfect diy birthday party decor How to make a lantern out of felt is an easy and quick beginner sewing project, and a perfect diy birthday party decor

    And, if you want more diy party decoration tutorials and inspiration, here are 30 more ideas for DIY party garlands. If you lack the time to DIY just everything, these (ready-made) cute party decorations might save the day.


    Want More Tutorials and Crafty Stuff?

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    free pattern for a fabric hanging basket

    Or ...go straight to one of my currently most popular PDF patterns - the ZIP Pocket Coin purse:

    sewing pattern for coin purse with zipper
    Get Pattern HERE.


    1. I like this project very much and the adaptability to many occasions through the change of color scheme. Thank you for sharing your creativity!

      1. Laura,

        agree! I can't wait to make a few for Christmas :)

    2. Oh my gosh, Damjana, I LOVE these! They are so pretty and festive, and so simple to make! And might I add... stringing them up with pom pom trim?! Gaahhhh!! I'm dying over here with coolness overload!! :) Lisa

    3. This is so cute. Can't imagine you made this with felt. Thanks for taking time posting this DIY project.

    4. Damjana, these would be perfect for Christmas, and a great project to do with, or by kids. Pinning this so I remember at Christmas.