Thursday, 29 October 2015

Pleated Paper Party Lanterns Tutorial

This festive party bunting is a fun papercraft challenge to make. Once you've cracked folding the concertina box - which is the body of the lantern - you've just got to add the lantern top and base (the "hats") and join the lanterns with paper chain links.

Here are your templates:


I have provided you with templates for a square lantern and a hexagonal lantern - but you can make the bunting with just the square shape if you wish.
My pleating binge has been inspired by Paul Jackson's super new book,
Complete Pleats:
Concertina Lantern Party Bunting Tutorial

1 The pic above shows all the pieces of one lantern. The lantern body is cut out from copy paper-weight coloured paper (I used a Paperchase Spectrascope A5 pad). The "hats" are cut from thin black card.

If you are lucky enough to have a Silhouette Curio machine, then it will emboss the fold lines for you! Simply cut by colour. (Blue = fold, Red = cut.) (When embossing with the Curio, you must put the shape to be cut on the cutting area for the cut lines to be visible.) 

(If not, use the .pdf version and print the fold lines on to the wrong side of the paper, then set to and mark them with a finepoint embossing tool held against a small metal ruler.)

2 Pic above shows how to fold a concertina box - the lantern body. It is important to "prime" the fold lines - that is, pre-fold them, so they fall into place when you fold them for real. So - fold all the horizontal fold lines both front and back (this is a "universal" fold according to Paul Jackson). Also pre-crease the zigzag Vs. 

The secret to the folding is that the direction of the accordion pleats reverses at the Vs. If you press each V to fold it - kind of like popping bubble wrap (!) - the folds will fall into position and almost fold themselves!

Do a dry run of the folding on scrap paper. Practice makes perfect!
3 Pic above shows how to assemble the concertina box. It is seamed at the centre of one side to make a tube. You must unfold the creases to join the seam ( I know!). Use a piece of double-sided tape on the short side of the rectangle. Overlap the seam to make a tube. Once you've made the tube, gently coax the folds back into position. Tah dah! A square concertina box.
4 Time now to make the "hats" to cap the concertina box. Pic above shows how it is done. The band fits into the brim. For the top, add the looped handle. For the bottom, reinforce the brim bits with the holes, then tie on a tassel. The tassel is made out of craft thread in a colour to match the concertina box. Wind the tassel around a 6cm (2-1/4in) piece of card. (For how to make a tassel, I've got a tutorial - click on the link.)
5 Okay - it's the homestretch. Time to stick the "hats" on to the top and bottom of the concertina box. Just stick double-sided tape onto the concertina box top and bottom edges (whee- the box collapses right down flat!). Next, just stick on the "hats" with edges aligned.
6 To complete the bunting, simple join the lanterns with paper chain links.

If you want a further challenge, I have provided a pattern for a hexagonal lantern. It is made in the same way as the square concertina lantern - just slightly more fancy-folding. (When you glue on the "hats" to the hexagonal lantern, make sure that the sides are aligned top and bottom.)

Enjoy the fancy folding! When you've mastered the concertina box, you will be proud of your new pleating skills.