Invent! There are all kinds of ways to make volumes of light. Everyone loves to see new lantern forms. There are workshops and lantern kits for sale in advance of each of our parades to make it easy for folks to join in the fun. But wait until you see the fantastic and elaborate lanterns people bring to the parade! You'll want to up your game. Your creative play is a gift to us all. We cannot wait to see what you make! Here are some ideas to get you started. They are ordered from easy to challenging. Check out the videos of some amazing lantern parades around the world at the end.
I did these designs that you can download for free, or get some ideas and draw your own. They are nice printed on bright colored card stock (you're local print shop can do that). The crayon makes them a little more sturdy on printer paper. You can glue two sheets together vertically to make a bigger lantern (glue stick works well). They're great nested. The ones pictures are made with 5 sheets of 8 x 11 color card stock. They go together with scotch tape. Tape them to a stick with a flashlight at the bottom or put a piece of wire at the top and hang from a string with a tiny light on the end of a stick.
Accordion lanterns tutorial slide show:
You can see where you want to cut and where you don't.
These are nice on a string. Consider retrofitting your holiday lights with lanterns. I added a little frame made of skewers and hot glue to these card stock accordion lanterns and they lasted on my porch for a year.
LITTLE ANGELS & WINGED THINGS
Print, color, cut out and tape together these little angels and tape the light and the lantern to a stick for parading! They would also be nice on sturdier paper with more cut-outs. Use this as a pattern idea! I made different heads and robes. Draw your own or you're welcome to mine.I made a bigger paper-cut angel lantern kit that might give you some ideas, too.
CARDBOARD BOX LANTERNS
Here are some examples and a video tutorial for illuminated dioramas and box lanterns. They are lit with a variety of light sources. "3 LED puck lights are good, like the kind made for under cabinets. It is fun for parade lanterns to be carried up above your head. Run a stick through the box and secure with strong tape or make a cardboard receiver attached to the back that the stick slides into or tie a string to the box and to the stick. Nice sticks are at garden centers.