A Lantern Makeover

Specifically, a Bunting Lantern.

For some reason, since coming home from the States, I’ve had a burning desire to get our house in order. I have a few partially completed decorating projects around the place and spent the past week or so getting back into them.

The first was this lantern. You see them everywhere – plain white paper lanterns, this one cost me about 1.5€ at IKEA.

Start with a plain white paper lantern

I had the idea that I should decorate it with some wee-little bunting. I had a very clear picture of the end product in my mind and started out full of exuberance one night.

I needed binding to attach my little flags to – so long 2 inch strips of fabric were ironed into binding. (For those quilt-impaired, this means iron the material in half long ways, open up and fold each edge into the centre and iron again, then fold the whole thing back in half on itself. Keeps all the messy cut edges folded inside.)

Sew up some bias binding in a fabric of your choice

Then to make all those little flags. I layered 4 or 5 strips (1.5 in) on top of each other and see-sawed my little ruler along it to cut triangles. See my new little ruler? Cute huh?

Scrap fabric makes great flags for bunting
This was a great stash-buster BTW.

Now, this was the first time I had used a little cutting ruler like this. It required a great deal of concentration because my natural inclination was to hold it along the upper most edge, which put my finger over the side. And we all know edge-hanging fingers and rotary cutters don’t go so well together. So for those at home, DON’T do this:

Bad rotary cutter technique - this will chop off the top of your finger!
Egads, woman! Pull back that finger!

Anyhoo, after cutting what seemed like a million little flags, I started to wonder why I’d thought up this hare-brained decorating scheme. But it was all worth it when cute little lines of bunting popped out the back of the sewing machine.

Lines of bunting coming out the back of the sewing machine

I gave it a quick iron and it came up beautifully.


Then came the best part. The hot glue gun. This was a recent purchase, not yet used. Where have you been all my life, little glue gun? This is the best invention ever! I know, I don’t get out much.

Simply glue the bunting along the paper lantern frame with a glue gun

After all that cutting, ironing and sewing, this was a breeze. I just glued the bunting down following the lantern’s framework. All done.

Then I released my bunting lantern into the wilderness. Here it is in it’s new home:

Here it is complete and hanging: a paper lantern with mini bunting.

IKEA also makes a turquoise-coloured hanging light fixture (you can just see the cord hanging from the roof) which matched perfectly.

Another project ticked off my list.


  1. says

    Kirsty, that is just gorgeous! I’m not really a huge bunting fan, haven’t understood the little bunting craze that’s been going on, until just now. I’m now sold!

  2. says

    Just come from Selina’s too. What a clever lady you are to make such a pretty lantern. I absolutely love it. I also love your stained glass quilt you are making. I am intrigued as to how you make it. It’s very tricky looking. Maybe I will google it later on. Can’t wait to see it finished.

  3. says

    wow what an amazing lantern, i love it and am sorely tempted to make one for my grandaughters for xmas. Abolutely stunning well done you

  4. says

    I just flew over from wherever I first saw this adorable idea, then I spent some (excessive) time pouring through your previous entries. You are so creative and your blog is such fun! Can’t wait to visit again!

  5. says

    Just saw your project on Dollar Store Crafts and quickly came over to check it out! So great! I have a dozen of these lamps at home – just waiting for the perfect project and now I found it. I do have a question for you though – can you tell me about that amazing painting in the background? :) Thanks!

  6. says

    Hi Miki, the painting is a big ole canvas I painted almost five years ago. I actually painted a pair of them because I couldn’t find anything that went with my lounge room in Australia; turns out they matched that lantern quite well. They’ve since moved to the staircase since taking this photo.

    Thanks for dropping by and thanks for telling me about the Dollar Store Crafts site, I had no idea!

  7. says

    This is so simple and eye catching! Love it. Look out for a feature on it on our FB page, Whimsy Petite Styling! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. says

    That is absolutely adorable. I can’t get over it. I think I just fell in LOVE! I think I need to go out and make myself one of these. Thanks for sharing. Love love love it!

  9. says

    I just finished my lantern yesterday. I actually had all the materials, including the lanterns, in my stash. It looks lovely in my one year olds room. Thanks for this great idea.

  10. says

    Hi. I just found your blog and am enjoying poking through it. I adore this project and am sort of sewing impaired so I have some basic questions: how long was your bunting strand and how much space did you leave between the flags?


  11. says

    Hi Tonpia,

    The bunting was as long as it took to wrap around the lantern! (sorry, I didn’t measure it). The little flags are roughly 2.5 inches apart, centre to centre. Hope that helps.

  12. says

    Adorable!!! I am running out the door now to go to IKEA to get a lantern and make one of these so cute!!! Thanks for sharing.

  13. says

    I LOVE this idea,I’m a huge banner fan :),I make then in all different shapes and sizes and sell the in my store, but I have never thought of this idea. Thanks for sharing ,I’ii use it for up coming summer celebrations.

  14. says

    This is such a fab idea, love it! I have one of these lanterns still in the packaging somewhere, off to find it and use up some scraps! Thanks for sharing such a fab idea!

  15. Anonymous says

    Thank you for sharing! I bought 3 lanterns to experiment on for my upcoming baby’s nursery. I dont have a sewing machine and wouldnt know how to work one anyway.. you think i can just use ribbons and colorful paper instead of bunting?? love your blog!

    Mama at 40 in the Philippines

    • says

      Absolutely – anything that you can glue down is fair game for decorating these lanterns. You could cut colourful paper triangles and stick them to the underside of the ribbon to create bunting and then glue the bunting to the lantern just as I did. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *