Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Make a Paper "Tin" Lantern

Last year we made "tin" lanterns out of shiny recycled aluminum cans.  Click on the link in the right hand column to see how.  This year, I'm going to show you a more child-friendly craft using metallic paper.  An enrichment teacher and I did this craft with the second graders at my son's school, and they loved it.

  The enrichment teacher found some patterns the children could choose from.  Your child could also design a pattern on graph paper.

 For inspiration, here are some elaborate tin lanterns from the tin shop at Sturbridge Village, in Massachusetts.

Here is an illustration of a tin lantern by Garth Williams in Laura Ingalls Wilder's wonderful book, Farmer Boy.  It has a simple flower pattern.

Cut out the metallic paper to the size you want your lantern to be.  Mine is 14" by 7".  Tape the design onto your metallic paper, and tape the metallic paper onto some foam.  I used foam core, which I had handy, and worked on a thick rug.  If the surface beneath you gives, it will be much easier to punch out the pattern.  The school children used long, strong, plastic children's embroidery needles for punching.  I used pointy scissors, because that's all I could find in the studio.  Your child's hand may get tired, and she may need to work on the punching bit by bit.

 Keep the punches separated if you can.

Curl up your lantern into a cylinder and staple.  Now add a handle.  Mine is 12" by 1", and stapled on.  I put my lantern in the sun to light up the pattern.  A child may like to go into a dark room with a flashlight.  It is fun to let the dots of light speckle the wall.  We don't use candles with paper lanterns.  If you want to use candles, read the instructions for using an aluminum can lantern.

 This beautiful picture by Garth Williams is from "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  "The holes in the tin lantern freckled everything with little lights and shadows."  Why do you think a tin lantern would be a relatively safe light for a child to use in the barn?

Last night we were reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's book "Little House on the Prairie" and came upon this wonderful illustration of Pa striding off into the dark to investigate a terrible scream.  He headed for the house of the nearest neighbors, the Scotts, who live two miles away.  Laura waits anxiously in bed, imagining her Pa walking "along the top of the bluff, on the path that went toward Mr. Scott's house.  Tiny bright spots of candlelight darted here and there from the holes cut in the tin lantern."  Why would a tin lantern be a good way to take a candle outside?  Why didn't Pa have a glass lantern?  And for bonus points.....what kind of animal screams like a woman?  If you grew up hearing Appalachian folk tales, you'll probably know the answer.  If you don't know the answer, I recommend this whole wonderful series of books.


Phyllis said...

This is such a great idea and I love the way you have presented it. Very nice post.

Beth said...

Thanks, Phyllis. I think this dark time of year is a good time to play with light. love, Beth

Unknown said...

Hello Beth, I have been catching up on all your wonderful posts. I love the idea of the lantern, I will have to try to find metallic paper. A few months ago I learnt to crochet so am enjoying making hats myself. Yours are lovely I haven't knitted one yet but am in the process of making socks for the first time, they will probably be done for next winter though :). The quilting seems like a lot of fun - I would love to crochet granny squares and make one. I still have the one my grandmother made for me.

Beth said...

Hi, earthboysblog! I was just showing my husband your blog yesterday. I love the pictures of those long-haired barefoot boys exploring the jungle and fields on their ponies, and your new doll. You sound busy. I would love to see your crocheted hats. I am knitting hats like mad this winter. Beth

Lacey (schoolhousefarm) said...

the wind wouldn't blow it out. a glass one would break if it fell, and a mountain lion? love the questions--we we are (collectively, as a family) enthralled in Little House! Even my 2 year old sits quietly to listen every night to 2 chapters, at least! (we're on Plum Creek now)

Lilyshaw said...

Lovely idea, it is half term next week, this will be a great activity, thank you for all the inspiration!

Beth said...

Lacey, I love these books, too, and have read them many, many times! I'm trying to convert my 8 year old boy to them now. He likes "action." I am hoping he will find the detailed descriptions of how Pa built things interesting. Beth

Beth said...

Thanks, Lilyshaw! Beth

Anonymous said...

Love it! Where do I find "metallic paper"? Thought about folding over heavy duty aluminum foil several times so as to have a rectangle several layers thick. Do you think that'd work? Trying to find the most economical way to do it for a whole class of kiddos.