How to make Sky Lanterns

skylanterns

Lovely Illustration by Tuhin Paul


We made sky lanterns to celebrate “Diwali”, a festival of lights in India. You can find the step-by-step tutorial here:
Step 1: Make Paper Balloon
The paper balloon is made using rice papers,butter paper, kite paper or tracing paper. Butter paper works best as it has good tensile strength which prevents the paper from tearing and is easy to handle.


While sticking the sides of the butter paper make sure you stick it properly so that the hot air could not escape from it.
Step 2: Making the rim of the balloon
The open end of the balloon is stuck with a bamboo ring to attache the fuel.

Step 3: Making the Fuel
For making the fuel of Sky lantern, you need wax and napkin papers.

Step 4: Attaching the fuel

The wire used must not be very thick otherwise it may increase the weight of the sky lantern, also it should not be very thin otherwise it would melt with the heat.


Make lots of them and launch them together, sky lanterns when launched looks visually stunning. Its a very eco-friendly and beautiful way of celebrating the festival of lights.
You can watch the video of launching Sky lanterns here:

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147 thoughts on “How to make Sky Lanterns

  1. Could I use tissue paper for the walls? I would love to make one for my mum and dads 20th wedding anniversary, but I’m not sure where to find butter paper. I can use baking paper – but tissue paper is more pretty. Also – if I used baking paper, could I paint love hearts onto it to decorate it up some? Thanks Estina

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  3. ..Hello Aditi!
    ..I feel sooo glad and satisfied by letting you know that I just successfully launched my own Khoom Fay on November 13’th, 2013 and I succeded at my first attempt making one on my own!!
    ..As I had been cherished a fascination about Sky Lanterns for quite a long time, now it fullfilled well enough by your easy-to-get tutorial!
    ..And what if I say that my lantern floated in the air for almost HALF-AN-HOUR?..Yes you read it right!
    Here’s my sky lantern story….Just don’t get bored. ..

    []The Desire :> As far as i remember, I had seen them in a Olympic closing ceremony for the first time…And often get to see them in movies now a days..They just took my heart away!…As I didn’t know how they are made and what they are made of, I decided to collect some infos through the internet..And when I found that they are made of very regular household stuffs, I determined to make one by myself!
    []The Studies :> I first searched on Google Image for some clear sky lantern pictures and diagrams.Saved some of them on my laptop and also visited those sites which was associated with those pictures…I saved a few pages reffering them and read all of them one by one..But found li’l complex lessons and semi-comprehencible photographs/no photographs there in those blogs..Finally. . .I searched on Google about ‘how to make a sky lantern’ which led me to your website……Gosh! I should’ve done it at the earlist!!
    []The Ideas :> After reading your entire post very carefully and taking a good look at those pictures above I decided to make a rough sketch of my lantern first..I must admit that the design given by you above is unique as it prevents the lantern from catching fire…But the other thoughts which came to my mind was. .’how can I turn the fuel cell into a long time burner?’ So that the lantern stays in the sky for more and ‘can I reduce more weight from the lantern?’ So that it can move li’l faster. . .How? I started thinking. ‘If there any working idea exists, please meet me. .’am waiiiiting!’
    []**New Discoveries :> The “new working ideas” finally came flying to my brain to meet me the very next day in the evening..They were three in numbers;
    (1) For the hoof, bamboo sticks are good, but not that efficient,are they?..Now I had a clear vision that if I use broom sticks then it’ll be lighter, more flexible, cheaper and easy to find around me..So I replaced the bamboo stick by the broom stick!
    (2) The fuel cell made out of napkin paper soaked in molten wax is brilliant, but not long lasting…What if I use the candle sticks as the burner as they burn li’l lazy?..No, it’ll increase the weight!…But what if I cut them into small pieces and place them on a thin foil?…I took a birthday candle [or those white ones we use to decor our homes during Diwali] and separated them into three small pieces [1″ each]
    (3) Then I cut out a thin aluminium foil from a finished Boroline tube and gave it a triangular shape..Punched three holes and placed the candle pieces [glue can be used]..I took an useless tranformer from a damaged radio and removed some copper wire..I attached three pieces of the wire to the three end of that triangular foil and the other ends to the broom-stick hoof!..So, 3 wires instead of 4….The weight is reduced!
    []The Tips :> I preffered white glue [Fevicol] but had a idea of making it thinner by adding some water..It works good!…And never ever mind about the mesurements just used the full lengh of the kite paper…Mesurements always makes things complecated for me though I believe it does worth most of the time.Magic Candles are better to use as they reignite themselves even if accidentally blows out..I’m gonna use them next time.
    []The Disadvantages :> As I couldn’t find butter papers in here, I had to use kite papers which kept tearing again and again and got wet easily at the time of making..Also the rice paper was unavailable and thought the tressing paper would be li’l heavy.
    []The Thrill :> And finally at night I launched the lantern in front of my Mom from our terrace and we were sooooo happy!!..It got filled with hot air just within 8 seconds of ignition and within just 14/15 seconds it went above 60 feet..Maybe the less weight caused it move faster!..Within 3 to 4 minutes it got disappeared from our eyes..Then I took my binocular and spoted it far among the stars as a glowing moving dot for TWENTY-FIVE-LONG-MINUTES!!..I guess It travelled more than one kilometre as it left the locality of our area…That sight was breathtking and as Aditi says,. . .’visually Stunning!’..I was speechless as I found my first attempt a huge success!
    []The Thanksgiving :> Apart from some of my own ideas, I just followed your instructions frame-to-frame..The stabilizers worked really good!…I must admit Aditi that you’ve made the sky lanterns so simpler, so practical and cheap!!..A biiiig thanks to you!
    []The Regrets :> Although the design by you is quite a danger proof, despite I wanted to apply the fire retardant solution on the papers as I was much concerned about the sefty issue and wanted to be completely sure….But was unable to find a bottle of it….Beside that, I couldn’t take photographs as I forgot to bring camera!!
    []The Promises :> I’ll send a man-hunt to find out a anti-flem solution and some butter papers next time…And next time I must take some photos or make a video of my lantern’s flight.
    []The Quiery :> Is there any possible way I can find the ‘Kraft/Craft paper’ [used in the waxed-napkin fuel cell] among the household stuffs????..Huh?
    ..Hey hope you didn’t really fall asleep,did you?…Oh I think I talk too much!..THANK YOU anyway. :’)

  4. ..Hello Aditi!
    ..I feel sooo glad and satisfied by letting you know that I just successfully launched my own Khoom Fay on November 13′th, 2013 and I succeded at my first attempt making one on my own!!
    ..As I had been cherished a fascination about Sky Lanterns for quite a long time, now it fullfilled well enough by your easy-to-get tutorial!
    ..And what if I say that my lantern floated in the air for almost HALF-AN-HOUR?..Yes you read it right!
    Here’s my sky lantern story….Just don’t get bored. ..

    []The Desire :> As far as i remember, I had seen them in a Olympic closing ceremony for the first time…And often get to see them in movies now a days..They just took my heart away!…As I didn’t know how they are made and what they are made of, I decided to collect some infos through the internet..And when I found that they are made of very regular household stuffs, I determined to make one by myself!
    []The Studies :> I first searched on Google Image for some clear sky lantern pictures and diagrams.Saved some of them on my laptop and also visited those sites which was associated with those pictures…I saved a few pages reffering them and read all of them one by one..But found li’l complex lessons and semi-comprehencible photographs/no photographs there in those blogs..Finally. . .I searched on Google about ‘how to make a sky lantern’ which led me to your website……Gosh! I should’ve done it at the earlist!!
    []The Ideas :> After reading your entire post very carefully and taking a good look at those pictures above I decided to make a rough sketch of my lantern first..I must admit that the design given by you above is unique as it prevents the lantern from catching fire…But the other thoughts which came to my mind was. .’how can I turn the fuel cell into a long time burner?’ So that the lantern stays in the sky for more and ‘can I reduce more weight from the lantern?’ So that it can move li’l faster. . .How? I started thinking. ‘If there any working idea exists, please meet me. .’am waiiiiting!’
    []**New Discoveries :> The “new working ideas” finally came flying to my brain to meet me the very next day in the evening..They were three in numbers;
    (1) For the hoof, bamboo sticks are good, but not that efficient,are they?..Now I had a clear vision that if I use broom sticks then it’ll be lighter, more flexible, cheaper and easy to find around me..So I replaced the bamboo stick by the broom stick!
    (2) The fuel cell made out of napkin paper soaked in molten wax is brilliant, but not long lasting…What if I use the candle sticks as the burner as they burn li’l lazy?..No, it’ll increase the weight!…But what if I cut them into small pieces and place them on a thin foil?…I took a birthday candle [or those white ones we use to decor our homes during Diwali] and separated them into three small pieces [1″ each]
    (3) Then I cut out a thin aluminium foil from a finished Boroline tube and gave it a triangular shape..Punched three holes and placed the candle pieces [glue can be used]..I took an useless tranformer from a damaged radio and removed some copper wire..I attached three pieces of the wire to the three end of that triangular foil and the other ends to the broom-stick hoof!..So, 3 wires instead of 4….The weight is reduced!
    []The Tips :> I preffered white glue [Fevicol] but had a idea of making it thinner by adding some water..It works good!…And never ever mind about the mesurements just used the full lengh of the kite paper…Mesurements always makes things complecated for me though I believe it does worth most of the time.Magic Candles are better to use as they reignite themselves even if accidentally blows out..I’m gonna use them next time.
    []The Disadvantages :> As I couldn’t find butter papers in here, I had to use kite papers which kept tearing again and again and got wet easily at the time of making..Also the rice paper was unavailable and thought the tressing paper would be li’l heavy.
    []The Thrill :> And finally at night I launched the lantern in front of my Mom from our terrace and we were sooooo happy!!..It got filled with hot air just within 8 seconds of ignition and within just 14/15 seconds it went above 60 feet..Maybe the less weight caused it move faster!..Within 3 to 4 minutes it got disappeared from our eyes..Then I took my binocular and spoted it far among the stars as a glowing moving dot for TWENTY-FIVE-LONG-MINUTES!!..I guess It travelled more than one kilometre as it left the locality of our area…That sight was breathtking and as Aditi says,. . .’visually Stunning!’..I was speechless as I found my first attempt a huge success!
    []The Thanksgiving :> Apart from some of my own ideas, I just followed your instructions frame-to-frame..The stabilizers worked really good!…I must admit Aditi that you’ve made the sky lanterns so simpler, so practical and cheap!!..A biiiig thanks to you!
    []The Regrets :> Although the design by you is quite a danger proof, despite I wanted to apply the fire retardant solution on the papers as I was much concerned about the sefty issue and wanted to be completely sure….But was unable to find a bottle of it….Beside that, I couldn’t take photographs as I forgot to bring camera!!
    []The Promises :> I’ll send a man-hunt to find out a anti-flem solution and some butter papers next time…And next time I must take some photos or make a video of my lantern’s flight.
    []The Quiery :> Is there any possible way I can find the ‘Kraft/Craft paper’ [used in the waxed-napkin fuel cell] among the household stuffs????..Huh?
    ..Hey hope you didn’t really fall asleep,did you?…Oh I think I talk too much!..THANK YOU anyway. :’).

  5. Sky lantern is the best Choice Products presents these brand new Chinese sky lanterns. Give your wedding, birthday party, festival or any other event a memorable celebration

  6. hi aditi,
    loved your diy.
    all items are available in our campus and hardly costs 50 rs…
    we did it as a part of farewell to seniors…
    loved doing it…
    thank you…

    • Hey Mahir,
      Few holes in the lower end wont matter, please make sure the balloon is closed in the upper end and holds all the hot air within it.
      I would love to know how did it go, share pictures if possible 🙂

  7. Most compact and short step by step procedure I found on the internet. I wish I could have found it in the first place, so that I don’t have waste my 1 – 2 hours. Thank you guys, you are the BEST.

  8. Good and simple instruction, ones of the best, but lenght and width are changed with each other! The shorter side of a shhet f paper is width. And some spelling mistakes occurred.

  9. Thank u so much.. i m gonna give a big surprise to my sis on her birthday.. it s truley gonna be a blazzzzzt!!!!!! Thanx alot

  10. i made a lantern of height 65cm and width 39 cm but my lanter wos not lifting up and my fuel wos creating a lot of heat before launching i recheaked if there wos no hole.
    please give me some advice on my gmail. account

  11. Hello, I just finished my structure for the lantern. Thank you for the instructions! I would like to ask if you just used glue to stick the materials together; does masking tape affect much of the weight? If ever my lantern feels heavy, will this fuel system still work well? And does your lantern relatively feel light? Thank you so much!

  12. Awesome item to make this Diwali. Just a question, any fire hazards while flying these lanterns ? I wanna fly those in a huge group !

    • There might me if the walls catch fire or the fuel is not attached properly. Please Spray anti-flammable on the balloons and the best place to launch them is in open grounds, avoid roof tops/terrace.

  13. Pingback: Ternyata, Cara Membuat Lampion Terbang Sangat Sederhana loh, Ngapain Beli?! - Toriolo.com

  14. I think kite paper doesnt work.I made a lantern with kite paper .It is a thin paper and hot air escaped from the pores or holes making the lantern expanded but can’t fly

  15. Hi we are looking to make lanterns as a NZ scouting activity, how long would it take to make a successful lantern?

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