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DIY Surprise Lantern

by Hank + Hunt

I was organizing my party box the other day, looking over my assortment to plan the decorations for my sis-n-law’s baby shower next month. I noticed a few of my paper lanterns had a few tears in them.  I didn’t want to just throw them away, and since I am still crazy about fringe, I decided to cover them with the stuff. They reminded me of little round pinatas and it got me thinking…what if I filled that little hole on the bottom?  We’d have a refillable pinata, that’s what! Fill. Pull. Party. Repeat.

Materials Needed: small paper lanterns, crepe paper sheets, scissors, double stick tape, twine and freezer paper.

Cut 4-6 strips of crepe paper, 1.5 inches wide.  Cut the fringe on one side, about every .25 inch, don’t go all the way through, leave a small whole strip to keep the fringe attached together.

Insert the wire form to open your lantern.  Put strips of tape around the bottom  of the lantern, like rays of light from the bottom.  Make them pretty long, and cover the whole lantern, top to bottom, for quicker results. I figured this out after I did one and it was much easier.

Unwrap the fringed strips and start wrapping from the bottom around. Be sure to press the strip down firmly to secure it to the lantern (and to ensure the tape is adhered well.)  Work your way around the lantern in a spiral, adding tape or more strips as needed, until you reach the top. Add a piece of tape to the end to finish. Fluff the fringe a bit, and you have one spunky little lantern.

Take a 4- 5 inch square piece of freezer paper and cut a circle.  Tape a piece of twine to the dull side.  Cut two slits on opposite sides of the circle, this will allow the circle to sit flat in the lantern around the wire form.  Insert the circle, twine side down, through the bottom of the lantern.  Flatten with a wooden spoon from the top.  You just want to make sure there are no big open holes where the “plug” doesn’t sit flush so the confetti will stay in.

If you have any extra fringed pieces left, cut them up for confetti and add store bought confetti for sparkle. Fill your lantern with a good sized handful.

Hang. Pull. Party. Repeat. I did a few test runs with these and they really do work great.  No one will feel left out because you can just refill these babies and pull again! What trouble you could get into with these. Hide a prize in a whole cluster and have your guest’s pick which one has the prize? We already know Ms. A is expecting a boy, but wouldn’t this have been fun with an all white lantern and pink or blue confetti to do a gender reveal?  Fun!  Someone has got to do that and send me the pictures with the looks of surprise on their faces!

  1. Trish

    January 19, 2012

    These are awesome!

  2. bink & boo

    January 19, 2012

    This probably sounds silly, but I am going to do this for myself. I have a goal of being featured in a major magazine, and when that happens I am going to jump up and down, screaming and giggling like a 5 year old girl, and then I’ll pull the little string to release the colorful confetti from this lantern that I’m going to make. Thank you for the idea and inspiration.

    -Wishing you sunshine & cheer!

  3. Tina Ramchandani

    January 19, 2012

    This is super cool. Love the idea of putting prizes inside!

  4. Tara

    January 19, 2012

    Why didn’t I think of that?!

  5. Rebecca - A Daily Something

    January 19, 2012

    Jenny, these surprise lanterns are fantastic…what a fun idea. Love your photos, too…and the animated gif.

  6. Jamie Wyckoff | Julia's Poppies Design

    January 19, 2012

    Oh, such a great idea! Love it! 🙂

  7. Naomi A.

    January 19, 2012

    I love this, it’s so fun!! And I absolutely love the gif you made to illustrate it, it makes it even more festive <3

  8. Emily

    January 19, 2012

    This is my kind of pinata. Fantastic idea! And actually love the face your’e making in the photo next to the gif. Hilarious!

  9. Catherine

    January 19, 2012

    These make me think of Dr Seuss somehow! They look great.

  10. Kelly R

    January 19, 2012

    This is brilliant! I love the gender reveal idea!

  11. Hannah @ Sparrow + Spark!

    January 19, 2012

    This is so much fun! Love the idea.

  12. teresa

    January 19, 2012


  13. Laura

    January 19, 2012

    Very cool! And love the gif. 🙂

  14. arielle

    January 19, 2012

    this is maybe the greatest thing i’ve seen in a long time. permanent confetti drops. loving it!

  15. Leah @ Freutcake

    January 19, 2012

    You are some kind of part genius! My favorite DIY so far!

      • jordan
      • January 19, 2012

      Isn’t Jenny a genius?

  16. Liz @ Bella Vita

    January 19, 2012

    So, so cute! Wonderful idea. I love that they’re reusable. Bravo!

    I write about happiness and life:

  17. bevy

    January 19, 2012

    this is the greatest idea i’ve seen as of late. maybe i won’t overlook those lanterns next time i see them on the clearance aisle.

  18. Will @ Bright.Bazaar

    January 19, 2012

    LOVE this idea. Might use it for my chap’s sister’s wedding this summer. Thanks! You need a book deal stat!

  19. kim

    January 19, 2012

    Love the idea and the colors — where did you find the gorgeous crepe paper?

  20. JoAnna

    January 19, 2012

    FANTASTIC idea!!

  21. elaine

    January 19, 2012

    This is adorable! Also, I love your little three picture ‘video’. Do you mind if I ask how you did that?

  22. Amelia

    January 19, 2012

    I cannot wait to try this at home this weekend!

  23. Julia

    January 19, 2012

    Wow, these lanterns look beautiful. I absolutely love them and I will try to make one for my son’s room 🙂

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  24. r8chel

    January 19, 2012

    Using tape is so smart and so much less messy than glue!

  25. Iris

    January 20, 2012

    Love this idea….how fun!!!!

  26. Vanessa

    January 20, 2012

    What a great idea! I love it!

  27. gVide

    January 20, 2012

    Very cool but the animation is probably the coolest! Fun. I’m a pinata nut.

  28. Gina

    January 20, 2012

    I forgot to say: Happy Confetti Day! I’m just starting a gift wrap series and posted (my 1st) about my favorite confetti gift wrap! I love confetti! (again – super fun idea! Will do!) Stockholm wishes to you!

  29. lesley

    January 20, 2012

    so brilliant! never ceasing inspiration over here. thank you.

  30. Melanie

    January 20, 2012

    Jenny, this is AWESOME! 🙂 Love the photos too.

  31. Union Tom

    January 20, 2012

    I love it over here! How fun!

  32. Mary

    January 20, 2012

    This is so awesome! I love the gender reveal idea!

  33. Cha de retalho

    January 20, 2012


  34. Alexa

    January 20, 2012

    These are pretty much adorable. What a clever and cute idea!

  35. Morgan Smith

    January 20, 2012

    LOVE. I will definitely be making these for my Valentine’s party in pink and red – too cute and super simple! thanks for sharing 🙂

  36. Charity Hall

    January 20, 2012

    Lovely idea!!

  37. Sarah Park @ Sweetbox

    January 20, 2012

    I can always count on Oh Happy Day for the best Fringe DIY Projects!!! Thanks 🙂

  38. Sarah

    January 20, 2012

    How fun – could totally fill with little prizes and candy and give each child at a birthday party their own pinata!

  39. Jess (Where My Heart Is)

    January 20, 2012

    This is such a brilliant idea. I like the fact that you can reuse them.

  40. Marie

    January 21, 2012

    I love the idea of a cute re-fillable piñata! 🙂 What a fun idea!

  41. Louise@ButtercupDays

    January 22, 2012

    What a wonderful idea! I usually go down the road of making tissue paper poms for my kids birthday parties … but I think I’ll give these ago this year. Love the colours too! x

  42. Simply LIfe

    January 22, 2012

    oh these are too fun! what a clever idea!

  43. Kristina

    January 22, 2012

    What a wonderful idea! So versatile, I’m totally going to try it out next time I throw a party. Thanks for doing such a good tutorial.


    January 23, 2012

    It´s really original. Thank you very much, I have to do one of them!

  45. Juliana

    January 23, 2012

    i loveeeee it! this is one of my favorites!

  46. Jude

    January 23, 2012

    I can’t wait to try this! I wonder if you’ve ever tried doing this with streamers, or if the crepe paper sheets is a must? Great post!

      • jordan
      • January 23, 2012

      You don’t have to use sheets but the quality is usually a little better and it is much faster if you can cut it in folds. 🙂

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