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.