How to Make Floating Paper Lanterns

    by G.K. Bayne

    About the Author

    G.K. Bayne is a freelance writer for various websites, specializing in back-to-basics instructional articles on computers and electrical equipment. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and studied history at the University of Tennessee.


    Whether you have a small pond, fountain or a swimming pool, a floating paper lantern can add a little elegance to your next outdoor gathering. The candle placed inside will emit an earthy tone glow, regardless of the color of bag that is used. Using a flameless battery-operated candle makes these lanterns safer than traditional lanterns with an open flame.

    Things You'll Need

    • 12-inch by 12-inch piece of 1-inch-thick white Styrofoam
    • Paper lunch bag
    • 2 cups of sand
    • Silicone (optional)
    • Flameless battery-operated votive candle

    show more

    Unfold the paper lunch bag and pour sand into the bag. The sand is used for ballast in the floating lantern and to hold the votive candle in place.

    Squirt a small dab of the silicone in the middle of the piece of Styrofoam.

    Place the sand-filled bag on the Styrofoam and gently push down. You may want to let this cure for about a half hour, but it is not necessary.

    Take the flameless battery-operated votive candle and insert it into the center of the bag by pushing it into the sand. The sand will keep the candle from tipping over.

    Launch the floating paper lantern and enjoy the reflection, not only from the water’s surface but also the white Styrofoam.

    • If desired, you can draw a design on the bag before making the lantern.
    • These floating paper lanterns can be easily reused by pouring the sand out and folding the lantern bag for compact storage.

    Photo Credits

    • Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images