you may have noticed these lanterns hanging in our new university village store…they were made by one of our fp girls who works for our west coast display team, and she was kind enough to write up a little tutorial for the blog!
what you need: wire framed lantern, fabric scraps, trims, needle, straight pins, and thread.
lantern: the lantern we use is custom made in india. it is a simple wire frame with a mylar cylinder in the middle for good light diffusion (these lanterns are more about style than a good light source :)). with this raw form, fabric is attached.
i suggest going to a thrift store and looking for lamp shades with a wire frame and taking off the pre-existing fabric – the lamp shades you will find in a thrift store will be a more common kind of shade but the following sewing/ fabric assembling treatment will make it look much more enchanting and wild!
fabric selection: having great fabrics is the key to a great lantern! i had a lot of amazing fabrics and trims to choose from. i choose to mix sheer, vinyl, cotton, and decorative trims. you can find these trims and fabrics from any fabric district or thrift store, but the fancier more elaborate trims we got from India.
i suggest going to a large fabric wholesaler and digging through their bins of scraps. if you happen to be in los angeles, there is only ONE place to find trims: shana-tex!!! they have sooooooo many trims stacked in high piles which you have to dig through…but so worth it because you can get huge spools of lace, sequins, and bright colored trims for pennies.
if you aren’t in los angeles, look up your neighborhood fabric wholesaler or thrift store for great rare finds. i have used thrift store table clothes, eyelet linens, etc.
sewing/ aesthetic: i just pick out the scraps of fabric and trims that i like and begin placing them on the lantern. i prefer to start in the middle at the widest part and work out from there.
fold the fabric over a part of the wire form and do a whip stitch to hold fabric to frame and itself. from the FIRST piece of fabric, i placed another piece of trim or fabric. to keep it in place I used the straight pins and then sewed the piece of fabric. repeat this process and soon it grows into a solid lantern.
sometimes i worked in different areas of the lan-tern, but always made sure that the composition felt right and was well balanced. the look i was going for was a loose, organic assemblage of fabrics and trims….so, i just mixed sewing and tying ends in knots. the pictures tell this story. you will see sewn edges and knotted pieces. i even left holes in places to maintain the “loose” aesthetic :)
electrical hook-up: this is the easy part! i just bought a cord socket combo from home depot and threaded it through a hole (part of wire frame) and screwed in a light bulb.
so beautiful and creative!