Comic Book-inspired Valentine Lanterns


lanternsThe candle-lit dinner just got geekier.

With Valentine’s Day dangerously close, here’s a way to set the mood with these paper lanterns.

What You Need:materials
Black poster board
Vellum (find it in stationary or craft stores) or regular printer paper.
Frame template (included at bottom of page)
Craft glue and regular clear tape

Before you get started, scour the web or your comic collection for “romantic” comic book covers, artwork or even those cheesy retro valentines.   Make sure these images are the sizes you need, then copy and print them out on the vellum or printer paper.

Ready? Good!

Here’s three versions to try: a fairly easy lantern using a template, a less-structure and quicker tube-style votive and an incredibly quick “Oh crap, I didn’t expect her to say ‘yes’ and she’s headed here in 20 minutes” version.

Template Versionbackside of lantern

Use template provided (or make one yourself if you think this is dorky), and trace four of them right next to each other on the poster board. Next, cut the pattern out, using an X-Acto or other hobby knife for to cut out the center squares and triangle.

Once you have the framework, cut the printed out images out a little bigger around than the openings and glue them on the back (make sure you face the image away from you so it doesn’t show up backward when you assemble the lantern.

Finally, gently fold the lantern where the four traced sides meet and tape the open edge together (on the inside if you don’t want a big tape strip to show). Then push the top “triangle” pieces together and tape as well. If you don’t want to mess with the top, you can just avoid tracing it and still have a nice four-sided lantern. Set it gently over an artificial tea light. If you want to use real votive candle, make sure it one in glass holder (even a cheesy air freshener candle will work), to best avoid any spontaneous tabletop bonfires.

“Free Form” Version:

easy frameCut the poster board in rectangular pieces of different heights and use the hobby knife to cut random squares, rectangle or other shapes staggered throughout. Paste the printed images on the back in the same manner described earlier and then tape the two ends of the rectangle together to form a cylinder.

Still not easy — or fast — enough? Here’s the last minute lazy method that still turns out looking pretty neat.

Print out full, horizontal images on regular printer paper (comic splash page images works well, because they are usually pretty colorful and detailed). Cut them out to the desired height paste the ends together in a cylinder. That’s it!

Now arrange a few of these together in the center of a table of over a mantle and you’re not only classy, but also charmingly clever and creative. And who doesn’t find that irresistible?lantern feature

Party tip: If you have a string of white Christmas lights, tape one of the quick versions over each of the lights for some retro party patio lights (I’ve done this with vintage Haunted Mansion concept art at Halloween and they were a hit).

Bonus tip: Don’t want to get romantic? Try these with any random comic cover or page and they make great accents anytime of year, but really, do I need to tell you this?

There you have it, instant ambiance.

Now quick…order something Italian…yes, pizza is fine, too.

Lantern Template

Lantern Template

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