Easy Ways to Do Sky Lanterns

    by Ian Graham

    About the Author

    A professional writer since 1997, Ian Graham has created educational guidebooks, English as a second language learning tools and interesting facts for the Web. He graduated from the University of Victoria's Department of Writing and currently works as a reporter and photographer for a twice-weekly newspaper north of the 55th parallel.


    Sky lanterns are miniature hot air balloons that rise into the sky because of the hot air inside generated by burning a fuel source. They can be purchased as complete kits or, for the more ambitious, built from scratch.

    Package Purchases

    Many companies sell sky lantern packages that simply need to be assembled and lit by the buyer. Available in quantities from as few as five to 100 or more, the price per lantern can be as low $3.50 per lantern (as of January 2011) if large packages are purchased.

    Sky Lantern Materials

    The balloon portion of a sky lantern consists of a thin bamboo hoop, wire which connects to the hoop in an X shape and tissue paper coated with flame retardant. The hot air is generated by lighting a wax-impregnated cloth and paper burner which is attached to the wire where the two arms of the X shape cross.

    Making Sky Lanterns

    To make a sky lantern, treat the tissue paper with flame retardant to prevent it from burning, then attach it to the bamboo hoop. Sky lanterns are generally made up of four panels of tissue paper shaped like leaves which are glued together along the edges. The burner must then be attached to the wires attached to the bamboo hoop. The key when making a sky lantern is to ensure it is as light as possible. The lighter the lantern, the less heat will be needed to cause the lantern to rise.