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How To Make Pagoda Lantern

How To Make Pagoda Lantern

October 2, 2009 /

diy pagoda lantern

After being frustrated with the easy-to-get-burn traditional Paper Pagoda Lanterns which I used to carry and walk around the neighborhood with my kids during Mid-Autumn Festival, I came out with the idea of this Glass Jar Pagoda Lantern.

I dislike the paper type for 2 reasons, they get burn easily (this is dangerous especially to kids), and changing the tiny birthday candle in it isn’t fun at all as they burn and melt so fast. Before I can really enjoy this special occasion, the lanterns either get burned or the candles are consumed.

I designed this improvised version of my Pagoda Lantern, which won’t burn down (if handled with care), don’t have to change the candle so frequently (using tea light candle), can be hung or placed on the table, and most importantly, it can be used repeatedly. You can use an electronic tea light candle to replace the wax candle to vow better safety.

make lantern

During Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) also know as Moon Festival or Lantern Festival, we will gather together and sit outside under the moon, eating mooncake(月餅) while hanging many brightly lit lanterns around the house. We also carry our lanterns and walk around the neighborhood. During this day (15th day of Lunar 8th month), the moon is bright and round. There were a story dating back over 3,000 years about moon worship in China’s Shang Dynasty where this festival originated.

To make this Pagoda Lantern, you will need to do some calculations on the size of fabric to wrap on the jar for this tutorial as the one you are using could be different from that I am using, so I can’t give you the exact dimension.

Estimated time to complete 1 Pagoda Lantern is about 2 hours, but you will get faster after you’ve gained the experience from the first one 🙂



How To Make Pagoda Lantern

Materials & Tools:
1. A Glass Jar, I am using hexagon type. You can also use round or square, or even oval.
2. Fabric of your choice.
3. Ribbons, 5mm and 10mm width
4. Heatnbond-Lite iron adhesive interfacing.
5. Tea Light Candle
6. Measuring tape
7. Fabric Glue
8. A pair of sharp scissors
9. A permanent marker (not shown in the photo), Since I don’t have it handy, I used tape to do the marking.
10. A stick to hang your lantern (not shown in the photo). I used chopstick.


Pagoda Lantern MaterialGather the materials and tools needed as listed above.


Pagoda Lantern MeasureMeasure the perimeter (P) and height (H) of your glass jar. This is to determine the size of the fabric you need to wrap the jar to form the pagoda outlook. My jar measures 275mm and 80mm.
The Length (L) of the fabric = [(P) + 10mm]
The Width (W) = [(H) + 90mm]


Prepare Fabric 1You need to do a little calculation here for preparing the HeatnBond-Lite and fabric.
Mark the top and bottom of 20mm each on the paper backing of HeatnBond-Lite.
The glue line is 10mm.
Equally divide the balance portion [(H) +90mm – 70mm] by 3, this is for the pagoda eaves.
Cut the fabric to the size of the HeatnBond but with extra 20mm on top and bottom respectively, this is for folding over of the hem.


Prepare Fabric 2Preheat the iron to a low setting. Place HeatnBond Lite paper (smooth) side up on the wrong side of the fabric.
Place and hold the heated iron-on paper side of HeatnBond Lite for 2 seconds. Gliding iron slightly overlapping prior area until the entire surface has been bonded.
Fold over the hem allowance, and iron it to make a folding crease. Let it cool.


Prepare Fabric 3Peel and lift the paper backing of HeatnBond-Lite at the top and bottom 20mm hem to expose the adhesive surface of the fabric. Fold over the hem allowance. Cover back the paper backing on top of them.


Prepare Fabric 4Iron the folded areas so that 2 layers of fabric are bonded together.


Prepare Fabric 5Flip over and start to make creases for the pagoda architecture. Remember the markings we put onto the paper backing of HeatnBond? Folding along the lines and iron them to make some creases that look like the following photos.


Prepare Fabric 6This is how it looks like from the front.


Prepare Fabric 7This is the side-view.


Prepare Fabric 8This is how it looks on the wrong side after removing the paper backing.


Prepare Fabric 9Cut the Pagoda eaves perpendicularly with 5mm pitch interval. Repeat for all 3 eaves.


Prepare Fabric 10Tie a ribbon at the mouth of the jar to make a handle so that you can hang the lantern after you have finished it.
Mark the place you want to glue the fabric onto the glass jar. You can use a permanent marker to do it. I didn’t have the marker in hand when I made this lantern, I used masking tape instead.
Apply and spread evenly a line of fabric glue on the most top glue line on the jar and leave it for 5 minutes to let the glue become tacky before you stick the fabric onto it. Apply some glue at the overlapping area after you have wrapped the fabric around the jar. Press and hold until they are bonded. You can put a piece of tape there to further secure the joint until the glue completely dry and provide a good bond. You have to make sure that the fabric sticks well before moving to the next glue line.


Prepare Fabric 11Repeat the above step to all the glue lines but this time you don’t have to apply 1 whole round of glue, just some interval dots on the glue line will do, otherwise, it will be very messy.


CompleteDecorate the lantern with ribbons. Tie the ribbon to a stick, and place the tea light candle in the Pagoda Lantern.


You are ready to show-off your Pagoda Lantern by carrying it in the neighborhood, hang it or place it somewhere while you enjoy a piece of mooncake together with Chinese tea and be mesmerized by the charm of the moon.



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