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How To Make A Simple Sky Lantern At Home

30th Nov 2016

Sky lanterns look complicated especially when high up in the air, but it is not too hard to make them from the comfort of your home. Like a hot air balloon, you need hot air to keep it flying in the sky. However, bear in mind that it is risky taking a flight in your contraption, so you need to take precautions before taking to the skies. Here is some useful information to help you design and make your lantern:

The materials you need

You need to gather the following materials before embarking on your project:
• A little quantity of ethanol to be used as fuel. You may also use a candle, but ethanol is preferable because it burns faster.
• Firm paper that is lighter and less flammable.
• 10g of cotton
• Copper wires
• Bamboo strips
• Glue


It won’t give you much trouble to make a sky lantern since only a few standard tools will be enough for the job. If you have a paper knife, a pair of pliers and a pair of scissors, then you are ready for the task at hand.

Steps to follow

1. Using the knife cut up the bamboo in such a manner that you have a strip 1 cm wide and 0.1 cm thick.
2. Bend the bamboo strip into a circle and use the glue to keep it in shape. Bamboo is naturally elastic, but if it gives you problems turning it, baking it in low heat would make it flexible.
3. Tie the copper wires across the bamboo circle, creating a cross.
4. Cut the paper and use glue to stick it together to form a column whose base area is equal to that of the bamboo circle.
5. Using the remaining paper, create a dome-like shape and attach it to the column. The dome forms the upper part of the lantern and should be bigger than the column so as to keep it upright in the sky.
6. Cut up another bamboo strip 10 cm long and bend it into a circle.
7. Wrap the cotton around the circular bamboo strip and dip it in ethanol before attaching it at the center of the crossing copper wires. Your lantern is now complete.

How to fly

Once your contraption is complete, hold your horses until you experience a calm, windless night. Come along with your friends because you will need a helping hand. Hold up the lantern and ask your friend to light the ethanol-soaked circle of cotton. The flame will heat the surrounding air, and channel it up the column, filling up the dome. The rising hot air will cause the sky lantern to rise. Let go and watch. It will rise and float around leisurely until the ethanol burns out.

Creating your sky lantern at home is easy. However, take precaution to ensure safety.

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