We made these Chinese Lanterns last year over the course of a couple of days, I shared a few pictures in my early days on Instagram with a 'how to" but I honestly loved the process so much I'm making them again this year with the kids and thought maybe you'd like to join me so here is a quick 'how to' with pictures. The creation of these is heavy on the process art which it makes it super fun for the kids and the finished product is spectacular, you'd never guess a 4 year old made them! I love these lanterns so much.
So this project can be broken down into 3 stages. I'll list what you need to complete the entire project and then I'll break it down by stage that way you can always adapt this to create something different using any of the three stages.
You will need:
Part 1 - playing with ice and salt
- Liquid Watercolors (Or food coloring)
- Ice trays
- Medicine Syringes
Part 2 - bubble wrap printing
- Gold paint
- Bubble Wrap
- Paint brush
Part 3 - tracing and making lanterns
- Black Sharpie
- Print Out of 'Happy New Year' in Chinese
- Light table (or hold up to window to trace)
- Short wooden rod or stick
- LED bulb (optional)
PART 1 Playing with Ice and Salt
Prior to starting the project I had frozen liquid watercolors (red and orange) mixed with water, I had some trays that created sticks but any shape would work. If you don't have liquid watercolors you can use food coloring but the colors may not be as vibrant.
I set out some watercolor paper on a covered surface and let my little guy help himself to the ice sticks. He pushed them around on the paper.
We watched as they left trails behind them and discussed how the colors pooled and swirled together.
As he began to get done with the ice sticks I introduced the salt in a pot with spoon, a salt shaker would also work well.
He sprinkled salt over the sticks, we talked about how the salt helped the ice to melt.
I encouraged him to feel the salt and he enjoyed rubbing over his painting.
The final addition to this process art was the medicine syringe (a pipette would also work). I filled a pot with some liquid watercolor and he played squirting the liquid and dropping it onto his picture.
We noticed how the dropper of paint left a much more intense color on the paper.
Below are our red ice and salt pictures dried out.
PART 2 Printing with Bubble Wrap
Once the red paint was dry we began the second step. I set out gold paint, a brush and some bubble wrap next to the paintings.
We began by painting the bubble wrap with gold paint. I encouraged him to cover the whole piece.
Show your child how you can turn the bubble wrap over to create a print. Press down on the wrap, and smooth over before pulling it back to reveal your print.
Wow, these were pretty special just they way they are.
Part 3 Tracing and Creating the Lantern
The final part of the project requires tracing or copying the Chinese words for 'Happy New Year'.
I found this lettering by googling images for Chinese New Year, once I found one that would work I printed it out for my kids to copy. We have a small light table so I lay the printed sheet underneath our art work and positioned it to where we wanted it to be. My son using black sharpie was able to trace over the letters. If you don't have a light table you could free draw it (my daughter chose to do this) or you could hold the 2 pieces of paper up to a window and trace it through against the window.
Using the light table
Once you have written on the words create a tube by stapling or taping the ends of your paper together with the picture on the outside. You have now created your lamp shade.
You could leave it as is, or if you'd like to hang it as a lantern hole punch two holes opposite each other at the top of your lantern. Thread a wooden dowel through the holes, this wooden rod can now be used to attach string to in order to hang the lantern.
We used a thicker pen on this to create lettering that stands out more.
Such a pretty project and a great way to make something out of some fun process art.