- Some pressed autumn leaves (gather some fallen leaves from the ground, and press them inside a thick book for about a week)
- Wax paper
- Cylindrical oatmeal or ice cream container (such as Edy’s)
- Iron and ironing surface
- A piece of orange or red cardstock or construction paper (I used painted watercolor paper for the pictured lantern)
- Glue (either hot glue gun or white tacky glue)
- Hole punch
- Handle from a paper shopping bag or brown- or green- wrapped florist’s wire from a craft store (or you could use a pipe cleaner)
- Tea light (LED or real flame)
- Glass votive holder or jar (if using a real tea light)
- Thick, cushioned double-sided tape (if using a real tea light)
Step 1: The Base
Cut off the bottom 3/4” of the cylindrical container, and recycle the rest. This will be the base of the lantern.
Step 2: The Body
Cut out two 18.5″ wide by 9″ tall pieces of wax paper. Place one piece on top of an ironing board (or a pillowcase-covered table surface). Turn iron to lowest setting. Arrange pressed leaves on the wax paper, with their most colorful side facing you.
When the leaves are arranged as you want them, carefully place the second piece of wax paper on top of the leaves. Carefully iron over the wax paper, to fuse the two pieces together. At this point, you may want to trim the edges so they’re even and straight. (A paper cutter is handy!)
Step 3: Putting It Together
Cut a few 3/4”-wide strips from the cardstock. Glue a strip along the entire bottom and top edges of the wax paper, making sure the strip is glued to the side that shows the leaves’ brightest colors. Although you can’t tell from the photo, my strips weren’t quite long enough, so I used pieces of another strip to extend them to the edge.
Next, attach the wax paper to the base by lining up the bottom of the wax paper flush with the bottom of the base. (Make sure the side with the cardstock strips faces outward.) Carefully glue around the edges of the base, and roll the wax paper around it. (A hot glue gun makes this step easier, but you’ll have to work quickly.) You’ll end up with some overlap between the two wax paper edges, so run a thin line of glue from bottom to top at the overlap, to close the lantern into a cylindrical shape.
Step 4: Attaching a Handle
Next, make two holes with a hole punch or a pencil point close to the top of the lantern. The holes should be opposite each other. Attach whatever type of handle you’re using through the two holes. If you’re using a paper shopping bag handle or wrapped wire, either twist or glue each end together to fasten securely.
If you intend to light the lantern with a real flame, be very careful- attach a votive candle holder or jar to the lantern base by using a small piece of double-sided tape, and put a tea light inside.