All You Need To Know About Lanterns

April 12, 2024

Imagine being transported to the quaint and postcard-perfect streets of Shanghai with eager spectators gazing up at a sky full of lanterns, or perhaps the Songkran Water Festival celebrated in Thailand where water lanterns are set out to be carried by the tides. The enchanting allure of lanterns is truly a treat for the eyes. In this blog, we’re going to discuss everything there is to know about lanterns. From unveiling its interesting history to how you can incorporate it into your home, we are going to cover the ins and outs of lanterns. Without further ado, let’s jump in!

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The History Of Lanterns

Mankind has always cleverly adapted and made use of items that were available at hand, and you’d be surprised to know that this magical source of light dates all the way back to the Iron Age, when oil lamps were first coming into the picture, with the Canaanite Oil Lamp being one of the earliest clay lamps. African communities burned oily nuts in clay saucers in an attempt to establish a dependable light source. From this period to about the 1700s, oil lamps or oil lanterns were the only source of light, given that petroleum was discovered later. In ancient China, people used bamboo, paper bags, and even rice paper to make paper lanterns. These decorative lanterns can still be seen during the Chinese New Year and other occasions. In medieval Egypt, intricately carved metal lanterns called Fanous were used to celebrate the birth of prominent deities such as Osiris and Anubis. This tradition smoothly transitioned into an Islamic practice, to the point where Ramadan in Cairo is incomplete without these traditional lanterns.

7 Lantern Decoration Tips For Your Home

1. Wrap With Lace or Doilies

One of the simplest yet effective ways to add a fancy touch to your lanterns is by adorning them with a lace ribbon or thin paper doilies. You can either use double-sided tape or craft glue to secure the doilies against the lanterns. You can then place a tall taper candle inside or coiled fairy lights if you see fit. This result is a gorgeous vintage-inspired centrepiece that can be placed on your dining table or even coffee table.

Lantern wrapped in paper doilies

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2. Embellishments

Channel your creative side and adorn your lanterns with gemstones, rhinestones, or sequins. While lanterns with cutworks offer little space and scope for this, you can always go for sleek glass lanterns for this decoration idea. The shiny and sparkly finish will draw everyone’s attention toward the lanterns, making this suitable for festivities and other social events.


Rhinestone embellishment

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3. Sand & Seashells

With the summer season at its peak, the coastal trend is ushering in to add a refreshing touch to your home. Get in tune with the energizing vibe of sandy beaches and foamy seas by filling glass lanterns with white sand, seashells, seahorses and starfish charms. You can also apply 3D stickers to create more visual interest.

Nautical Decor

4. Go Green

You can never go wrong with a hint of green. Tightly coil a lush green artificial vine around your lantern or weave it through the bars of your lantern (if any). You can also invest in some 3D butterfly stickers, artificial flowers, and faux moss for this look. 

Vintage lanterns with leaf vines

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5. Washi Tape

If you are looking for a minimal yet kawaii decoration idea for your lanterns, washi tape is quite a smart idea! They are cost-effective, available in plenty of cute decorative patterns, and come off easily without leaving behind splotches. This also makes it perfect for last-minute decorations. 

DIY washi tape lantern

6. Create Fabric Covers

To add a soft and romantic feel to your lanterns, you can cover them with sheer or patterned fabrics. According to the dimensions of your lantern, cut the cloth, hem the edges, secure it with an elastic band, and finally place a ribbon to cover the band. With this decoration, you can get your lanterns to cast some beautiful shadows as well.

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7. Felt Cutouts

Add a touch of whimsy to your lanterns by cutting out floral, leaf, and geometric patterns from a felt sheet. Glue these pieces onto the exterior of your lantern with some fabric glue. You can use several smaller pieces to create a collage effect.

DIY felt cutout lantern

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From the humble beginnings of oil lamps in the Iron Age to the elaborate paper lanterns of ancient China and the ornate Fanous lanterns of medieval Egypt, we've traced the evolution of this magical source of light across centuries and continents. But our exploration doesn't end there. We've also delved into practical tips for incorporating lanterns into your home decor, offering seven creative decoration ideas that range from vintage-inspired lace adornments to whimsical felt cutouts. We hope you come up with something splendid!

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