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How To Make A Chinese Lantern

8 June 2016

To make a lovely sky lantern you will need the following material. The lantern’s base will be a trash bag 120-150 l. As the lantern’s engine we use an empty aluminum beer or soda can 0,5 l. Some straws of two different diameters will do for the lantern’s skeleton. The straws should tightly fit each other. And the fuel will be some kerosene or some firing up liquid. You can soak some cotton pads with the fuel.

Well, let’s get down to business and make a sky lantern. First, you need to make the engine for it. To cut the aluminum can you can use some firm scissors. You are to cut off the top of the can and two rectangles and leave the bottom circle and two strips 1 cm wide one against the other. Fold the strips in half as shown in the picture to strengthen it.

Cut 4-5 circles of different size from the cotton pads. The upper cotton pad should equal the can in diameter and each following should be 5 mm less than the previous one. The engine should be soaked with kerosene but not too much to avoid the excessive kerosene in the can. You can fire it up and check if the fire is even.

Now take some straws and join them together. You may use straws of different diameter to make them fit. Nevertheless, you can use some connectors as well, for example matches or toothpicks. Either way, you can slot one straw, thrust another one into it and fix it with a duct tape. In other words, you need to make a circle of straws as shown in the picture and combine them with the trash bag making holes in it each 5 cm.

To reduce the fire and to increase the flight time you can make a circle of the aluminum can’s remains and fix it on top of the cotton as shown in the picture.

Well, now it’s time to test your homemade sky lantern. Fix the engine to the skeleton and fire it up holding the bag at the top. Your homemade sky lantern will start going up in five minutes.

Note that this design will not work in windy weather. To use it in windy weather you need to strengthen the construction with an additional straw skeleton otherwise, the wind will squeeze the lantern, it will lose the warm air, and go down.