Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Waldorf Paper Lanterns

My family had some very sad news last week, which was that my uncle passed away unexpectedly. I spent a couple of days trying to figure out what I could make for his little grandchildren, who range in age from 4 to 10, that would give them an opportunity to remember their grandfather and would also be beautiful. I did a bunch of searches for things like "bereavement gifts for children," which didn't turn up anything I was interested in. Finally I started thinking about Waldorf-oriented things (why this took me so long I don't know, since a core of Waldorf is children + beautiful), and I discovered paper lanterns made from wet-on-wet watercolor paintings. I read that these are usually used for decoration at the winter holiday season, but I think they will work perfectly for this purpose as well.

We have quite a stash of watercolor paintings from school last year, and it turns out making them isn't too difficult, once you get the hang of it. I used directions from here and here. Our paper seems to be much thicker than the paper these writers used, but it still works. Ours is also monochrome because children in the kindergarten only paint with one color at a time.

If you're interested in making them, I have a couple of recommendations.

  1. Be sure you are exact as you can be with your cutting and folding. The bigger they are the easier it is to fold.
  2. Don't plan on your first one being perfect. You might even try it on regular paper first so you can get the hang of it. 
  3. This may be really obvious, but remember they are made of paper, oiled paper at that. I wouldn't leave them unattended or let children do the lighting. 

I boxed them up today and will mail them tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing my extended family next week at the services but I do wish it were for another reason.

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