I've read that on the fifteenth day of the first moon of the Lunar New Year, the celebration peaks with the Lantern Festival, celebrating the first full moon of the year and honoring the coming of spring.
This gave us a delightful reason to learn about geography and culture, create something fun and beautiful, and notice that we do, indeed, have some buds and blooms out in the garden!
To make festive lanterns, I bought a large sheet of beautiful handmade paper from the local art store. Red construction paper would work just as well. From our large sheet, I cut 4 rectangles that were 8 x 12 inches, as well as two smaller rectangles from the "scraps."
(The one I'm working with here is one of the small rectangles.)
Start with a red rectangle.
Fold it in half so that you have a long, skinny rectangle.
Draw a guide line 1 inch from the open edge (the top in this photo).
Cut slits 1/2 inch apart on the FOLDED edge.
Do NOT cut all the way through the paper - stop at the pencil guide line you made.
Cut a piece of gold cardstock or paper just slightly smaller on three edges, but
about inch smaller along one long side.
Add double stick tape or glue dots along the
top and bottom edges of the gold paper.
Do not go all the way to the edges. This will allow for easy layering and tucking when you fold it into a tube later.
Tape the gold and red sheets together so that each edge of the red paper matches up with both sides of the (smaller) gold sheet.
Be sure that you have turned the pencil-marked side of the red paper inward, toward the gold (to hide it).
Roll up edges to create a tube.
Tuck one end (both the gold and the red) between the gold and the red of the other end, overlapping two protruding 1/2 inch slits.
Staple at the top and bottom.
If it bulges a little in the center, you can reach in and stick a small piece of double-stick tape or glue dot to secure it.
Tape a handle on each side of the top (which was a scrap from our large sheet).
Now for the easiest tassles. Ever.
Thread a 12-inch piece of gold embroidery floss (or any color) through the loop end of a embroidery floss skein. We used yellow and red.
Leave the wrappers on the skein.
Tie a knot, leaving the ends long so that you can attach it to your lantern.
Use another piece of gold floss to tie around the tassle.
Repeat process at other end of skein.
Then cut it in half.
Slide wrappers off bottoms of tassles.
Ta-da!!! 2 tassles. So easy! And Cute.
My idea had been to tie them at the top, from the handles.
Sela liked them from the bottom. I do, too.
Next we'll get out our black paint and paintbrushes and write some nianhua (good luck characters) and chun lian (good wishes for the coming year)!