All about Saint Martin Lantern. 1. Materials

Last Updated on April 1, 2023

This thread is all about Saint Martin lanterns for Saint Martin Festival. Let’s start with lighting and materials, then discuss the basic shapes of lanterns and some techniques.

Please note that most lanterns require not only lighting, but also a stick to carry it on. And there are more problems with a stick than with a candle.

part 2 – lantern papier-mache, lampions, papier bags,
part 3 – polygons, “cheese package”
part 4 – “houses” and “drums”
DIY silhouette lantern for Saint Martin feast. Part 5
Separat about feast and songs for it
Bascetta star tutorial
German school cone (Schultüte). How to make

*Materials with links are highlighted in hell blue. Links demonstrate what I meant. You can buy materials in different stores, such as Müller, Amazon and others. Links are affiliated that if you buy something I receive very small money, for you there is no additional cost.


To fix the lighting, use a glue gun, scotch tape, plasticine.
A wire or Chenilledraht* are suitable for hanging the lantern on the stick.

Classic – a candle, most often the so-called tea candle

Pros: Gives bright light.
Cons: it goes out from the wind and is very difficult to light up.

No less classic option is a plastic stick with a light bulb from the supermarkt

Pros: there is already a stick in the kit, which makes life much easier.
Cons: it is better not to take a stick with a blue color, that is, you need to check it right away.
Batteries run out very quickly. One set of spare batteries for each stick is a must-have.

A stick with a light bulb, if not found in the supermarkt, looks like so*.

Electric candle

Pros: Inexpensive, very available option, easy to turn on.
Cons: dim light. It is better to have several of these candles and choose the those that are on AAA batteries (then you have less problems with change).

Electric candles are always in New Year’s markets and souvenir shops, but at other times you can find it here*


Pros: bright light
Cons: often it is blue light; shines with one directional spot; heavy; difficult to fix

Christmas lighting garland

It is relatively new idea, but very promising
Pros: Battery operated LED lights are now very available – literally for a couple of euros at TEDI, Euroshop and other similar stores.
Cons: it may be uneven light, you need to distribute the bulbs well in advance and fix them somehow.

Materials for lanterns

Above we have already talked about sticks, lighting and Chenilledraht for hanging.

Everything else would seem to be just paper. But the material for the lantern itself is very important, since your task is to make it glow as brightly as possible.

The first thing to remember is that papers of cold colors glow faintly and change to yellowish.
Green and blue are generally unrecognizably dirty yellow, while other cool colors are just dark.
Red, orange, crimson and yellow produce the brightest lantern.

The colors of liquid watercolors, even cold ones, are best reproduced. If you want to use cold colors, then choose a cold light bulb.

Colored paper (Tonpapier)

Suitable for papier mache, lantern sides. Colored paper itself is non-glowing and will dim your candle. Therefore, we smear it with oil. It will immediately become transparent and, moreover, more flexible and strong.

Tonpapier is always avaible in IKEA or Müller.

Colored cardboard (Fotokarton)

Suitable for creating the base of a lantern. Oiled cardboard will also become transparent, but it is best not to oil it to keep it in good shape.

Ink absorbent paper

This paper is used for the sides of a lantern painted with liquid watercolor. I thought for a long time that it was paper like a blotter, but then I realized that it should be paper like a coffee filter – crepe paper

There it is – Krepppapier*.

Silk and transparent paper

Both are often recommended for making lantern transparent. To me personally, they do not seem to be luminous enough. Plain paper, but oiled, works better than these two types, but you can not oil silk and transparent paper to improve the result.

Silk paper – Seidenpapier*, transparent – Transparentpapier*.

Do you have any more questions? Use comments ⇓ or private communication form

Self-adhesive film

The foil protects the lanterns from rain and helps to assemble various parts. For example, you may want to use real leaves. They look really nice in backlighting. But the problem is that they dry out and break. In this case, the film will just help.

Thin film – Einbandfolie* (sold in supermarkets in the office supply departments). Thicker film (can be also found in hardware store) – Creapop*


Liquid watercolor – multi-colored ink – gives a very bright color. To “paint” means to make large spots, dripping paint, since brush strokes are too visible when illuminated and look bad.

Not too expensive – Aquatinte*.

Acrylic and gouache paints are not translucent. But acrylic with a metallic sheen is good for decorating non-luminous parts of a lantern, as it will shine.

You can use film + stained glass paints, but this is a very exotic option. I saw it on the Internet in the form of cut plastic bottles and tomato buckets.

Ready-made bases for lanterns

In addition to complete sets for making lanterns, they also sell cardboard bases. Most often, the bases are in the form of a round lantern or a cube. Also sell “cheese boxes” for cylinder lanterns.

Diffenrent variants hier.

Next – part 2 Papier-mache, lampions, paper bags
part 3 Polygons, “cheese package”
part 4 “Houses” and “drums”
part 5 Lanterns with silhouettes.
Saint Martin Feast and songs for it

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