• Franzi Shelton

Waldorf Lanterns

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

This classic Waldorf method of making beautiful, translucent lanterns by using vegetable oil is tried and true - works every time!

What you need:

Part 1: The Background Painting

  • Watercolor pad (I used this one)

  • Semi-moist watercolors (I used this brand)

  • Sharp pencil

  • Black felt pen (I used this brand)

  • Several different sized brushes (I like these)

  • Sharp scissors

Part 2: Making the Lantern

  • Vegetable Oil (I used olive oil)

  • Large brush

  • Stapler

  • School Glue

  • Cheese Box (I used a Heritage Brie box)

  • Hole Puncher (I used this one)

  • Metal Wire (I used thin planting wire) and Metal Wire Cutter


Part 1: The Background Painting

  1. Using a sharp pencil, draw an outline for a background diorama. When creating your background, try and adhere to the elements of composition in visual art. You can obviously paint whatever you want... a moon and stars? an underwater scene? a desert? up to you!

  2. Trace the pencil lines with a black felt pen. It's okay, if your lines aren't perfect... thicker lines create more dimension and contrast.

  3. Using different sized brushes and different colors, color in your background image. I like my background images to be rather monochrome, so I prefer to stick to 3-4 colors. But that is really up to you!

  4. Let dry for at least 30 minutes.

Part 2: Making the Lantern

  1. Using a large brush, apply vegetable oil (I used olive oil) to both sides of your painting. This will make the painting translucent!

  2. Let dry for at least 5 hours (overnight is best).

  3. Remove the cardboard base from the top of your cheese box to form an open ring (see image above).

  4. The bottom of the cheese box will not be altered. You will need its cardboard base for the placement of candles.

  5. Once dry, roll up your painting until it fits snuggly around the bottom base of the cheese box.

  6. Use a stapler as well as a thin layer of school glue to adhere your rolled up painting to the bottom of the cheese box. You can staple the watercolor paper to the wooden ring of the cheese box!

  7. Now, staple and glue the top of your your painting to the open cheese box ring.

  8. If necessary, use additional staples and/or glue to support any edges.

  9. Using a hole puncher, punch four holes into the top ring of your cheese box (at 0 degrees, at 90 degrees, at 180 degrees, at 270 degrees).

  10. Insert metal wire into each of the four hole of your lantern's top (the open ring). Create an X and connect the X in the center to create your carry loop.

  11. Tie your wire loop to a wooden stick and add a tea light (of course, this is a fire hazard, so you may want to use a flameless candle).

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