Monday, January 16, 2012

Straw Printing and Paper Lanterns

We love to learn about other countries and cultures. Since Chinese New Year always falls at the beginning of the year, I thought it would be the perfect time to learn a bit about China. Our first craft was making paper lanterns. To make this project a little more special, I combined two different techniques: straw printing and making paper lanterns.

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Supplies Needed:

I stumbled across the idea of straw painting awhile ago and I thought it would be the perfect way to decorate our lanterns. I cut a couple of straws in half, then cut strips at one of the ends (like the picture above). You'll need to squish the cut end up a bit before giving it to the kids. This will make it easier for them to print with the straws.

Printing is easy, just dip the cut ends of the straw in paint and splat them on your paper. We printed all over our paper. Then we had to let it dry before we could make the paper lanterns. I love how it looks a bit like fireworks!

To make the lanterns, you'll want to fold the paper in half lengthwise. Make sure the painted side is facing out.

Draw lines about an inch apart all the way down the paper. You'll start cutting on the folded side, then stop about an inch away from the outer edge. Do not cut all the way through!

After the lines are cut, unfold the paper. Roll the paper into a circle from short end to short end. Staple at the top and bottom where both sides meet. Use a strip of construction paper for the handle. Just staple each end to the side of the lantern. We originally used string for our handle, but found that the string kept slipping our of the staple. The construction paper handle works much better.

We now have beautiful paper lanterns ready for Chinese New Year! And apparently I also have a budding photographer/blogger on my hands!

More fun activities about China:

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  1. T- It's not JUST Chinese New Year. :) Many Eastern Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year. In Korea it is called Seollal. They traditionally eat a rice cake soup, wear new clothes, and children bow deeply to their elders. 새해 복 많이 받으세요(saehae bok mani badeuseyo) which translates to Receive many New Year blessings, or more loosely, "Have a blessed New Year." ~Heidi

    1. Heidi - this is why you rock and also why I'm trying to teach my girls about other cultures (they're not taught nearly enough of this in school anymore!)We do have a a lot to learn and we're having fun doing it!!

    2. I love seeing the work your girls create! If they like the printing, you may want to try finding objects around the house to print on paper. Good items are jar lids, spools of thread (some of these are shaped to look like snowflakes)pencil eraser, cookie cutters and broken parts of toys. Part of the fun can be searching the house for items. See why I enjoyed teaching elem. art for so many years. Kids absolutely love exploring new materials.

  2. I love painting with cut straws. Your lanterns turned out so very cute too! Thanks for sharing at Monday Madness. Hope to see you again tomorrow!

  3. So nice! Love the added touch of the straw painting.

  4. I made these with my girls when we explored China, but not with the paint. I love that!!


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