From the Bin: Paper Bag Lantern

April 3, 2013

From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

Heather from Poppy Haus is with us today with another inspiring DIY project using re-purposed products from the the recycling bin. I don’t know about you, but I have been eyeing these lovely textured lantern lights for sometime. I love that we could make one together as a family…

Hi there! I’m back with another project using materials that usually make it into my recycling bin. This one involves the paper grocery bag stash that I accumulate when I forget to bring reusable bags to the store. Today’s project is both decorative, and if you drop a light inside, quite functional. Kids get to operate a punch, and learn about layering and proportion. My six year old got in on the action with this one.

From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

Step One: Gather Materials:

  • Rice paper lantern*
  • 6-8 paper grocery bags
  • scissors
  • school glue
  • circle punch*
  • a wide bowl
  • wine for hanging

From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

Step 2: Punch circles from paper bags.


From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

Step 3. Assemble lantern and place in the bowl (to act as a pedestal).


From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

Step 4. Starting at the base of the lantern (the non-hook end) layer the first row of circles using a little school glue to secure, keeping the overlap to about 1/3 of the circle.


Step 5. Continue up the lantern, beginning each row slightly off center from the previous row.

From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

Step 6. Once you’ve reached the top layer, fold the top of the circle over into the lantern to create a clean finish.


Step 7. Hang using twine, or drop a light cord in to use as a pendant!

From the Bin: Paper Bag Lanterns

Another idea: Use left-over wrapping paper, colored on construction paper, anything with a clean side. Use different punch shapes like inverted hearts, just keep to the simple layering technique.


Readers of my blog, Poppy Haus know that I love to make things with paper lanterns. These rice paper spheres are inexpensive and readily available at stores like Cost Plus, IKEA, and Pier One. You can also hang using a colored cord (fun!) which I’ve seen at Cost Plus and West Elm (online). For this project I used a 16” lantern, and a 2 1/2 inch punch found at Michaels craft store.


Heather Jennings is the creator of Poppy Haus, a blog about food, play, and design. Her clever DIY projects have been featured on Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Bob Vila Nation, and in The Design Cookbook, a forthcoming home design guide by HGTV's Kelly Edwards. She lives in Petaluma, CA with her husband Adam and their two sons who gladly serve as the official taste testers for all of her family-friendly recipes.

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  1. Rebecca said on April 3, 2013 #

    It looks amazing. I love the use of the brown bag, I had never thought of that. I did the same thing last year but I used an old atlas and made a world globe with my littles. See the link above. I still have it hanging in my littles bedroom and it is just lovely. I don’t have a globe in mine it is just hanging as a mobile. Maybe I should try and get a globe for it, the colours would look lovely.

  2. Heather from Poppy Haus said on April 5, 2013 #

    Thanks Rebecca! I love your atlas version. I’ve seen these done with book pages, and music sheets as well. Any kind of paper would work!

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  4. Megan said on April 13, 2013 #

    Love this! I actually found you by another site using your pictures ( Glad I was able to find the original post through a little detective work.

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