Inspire me to...Shine


Winter is the time of year when we have less daylight, so we can use lights to brighten up our homes and other spaces.

In our museums and parks we have lots of interesting and beautiful lamps. Some were used for special services and celebrations, like the Mosque Lamp and the Father Christmas Lantern; others like the street lamps were used to light the way in the dark of mid-winter nights or early mornings.

Why not have a go at making a lantern of your own? You can look at the different lanterns in our collections for shapes, ideas and patterns.

 What do I need?

  • A piece of foil 30cm x 15cm
  • A pencil
  • Cardboard or something similar (like old carpet) to rest on

What am I doing?

  1. Carefully flatten your foil and place it on top of your card (or old carpet.)
  2. With your pencil, punch out a pattern in small holes in the foil.
  3. When you have a few holes, hold the foil up to a window to see how your pattern is looking. 
  4. You might choose to add spirals or stars to your lines of punched dots.
  5. When it’s finished, carefully bend the foil around a tube or jar to give your lantern shape so that it will stand up on its own.
  6. Carefully remove the foil from the tube or jar, keeping it in shape.
  7. Stand your lantern up on its own and seal the join as best you can.

Hints and Tips

  • Place your lantern on a window sill or shine a torch through it to show off the patterns
  • Search in your kitchen for a fork, fish slice or colander to help with the patterns

Explore all our 'Inspire Me To...' activities here.

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