Use Watercolors to DIY These Colorful Party Lanterns

We are firm believers that every day should be a party. Decor pieces that are usually reserved for birthdays and bridal showers don’t have to be torn down once the guests leave — they can instead be a colorful source of happy party vibes all year round!

We were inspired by our Watercolor Painting Online Class and the general nationwide obsession with dreamy watercolor designs to put our painterly skills to use in a fun lantern display. Keep scrolling to see how we put it all together!

Materials (included in our Watercolor Painting Class Kit):
– watercolor paper pad
– paint palette
– paintbrushes
– watercolors (in 7 colors)
– painter’s tape

Additional Materials (not included in kit):
– plain white paper lanterns
– jar or glass for water
– paper towel

Grab your watercolor supplies and a few plain white lanterns and lets get started!

First off, follow the instructions that come with your paper lanterns to open them up. You will essentially be sticking the rectangular wire frame through the center and pulling the lantern up and over it so that the two wire circles hook onto the top of the wire frame.

Next, let’s break out those paints! Gather a cup or jar of clean water and a paper towel and squeeze out a small amount of each color paint into a separate section of your plastic palette.

You might want to practice a few quick strokes on paper to test out colors and shapes before committing them to your paper lanterns. And if you really want to step up your watercolor game, you can take our Watercolor Painting Online Class and become a watercolor baller in an hour flat!

Time to lay on some color! When working with these paper lanterns, it’s best to make strokes that flow left to right or right to left (with the lanterns’ “latitude” lines). We layered on our lightest color first in large blocks, following with a second color in medium-sized blocks, then adding some small punchy details and finally blending them together with a little bit more water. Be careful not to water down your lantern too much or it will rip, but you’d be surprised how much paint these little guys can handle!

Let your lanterns dry until they are no longer glossy looking and dry to the touch and you’re ready to hang them up! We mixed them up with a few solid color lanterns and metallic mylar tassels to make a full hanging installation to sit above a dining room table.

Of course our watercolor obsession doesn’t end here. To make these awesome watercolor linens to match, head over to our watercolor linens tutorial to see how you can apply your watercolor skills to fabrics!

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