DIY paper lanterns with pressed leaves and flowers and how to make your house smell, naturally, like fall!

These lanterns are not only pretty, but easy to make with what you have on hand!

How to make homemade spherical globe shaped paper lantern with pressed leaves and flowers.

I’ve been homeschooling Kai since mid-March when his preschool ushered us out the door at the end of the week announcing they’d be closed come Monday until further notice. They were full of kind words and well-wishes, but without any answers.

I remember it was Friday the 13th which compounded the sense of foreboding. They shrugged their shoulders and apologized for not knowing what would happen next. We didn’t blame them; no one knew. Sadly, we still don’t. The preschool did eventually reopen, with detailed explanations of new protocols, limited classroom sizes, and promises that they’d do everything in their power to make it safe–it just didn’t sound safe enough. So we never went back.

Now, like everyone else muddling through this new way of life, we take each day as it comes. After a period of what my husband, JB, delicately described as “floating”, I finally devised an itinerary Kai and I seem to be able to stick with which is good since I now realize there’s an integral connection between having a schedule and staying sane.

Snack time. (Note the glitter on the table. Sigh.)

We have hula hoop contests and dance-offs (Movement); we count the windows and doors in our house (Math); and we learn about a new animal each day (Biology). And we’re learning so much. For example, did you know if an octopus is restricted to an environment that doesn’t provide enough stimulation, it will begin to eat its own appendages? I can relate. I fear I may start biting my nails soon.

Of all the activities, Craft Time is the most fun. And here is one of our favorite crafts so far: DIY paper lanterns with pressed leaves and flowers. They’re pretty, darn easy to make, and, with perhaps the exception of balloons or inflatable balls which you may or may not have on-hand, they’re made from things you likely have lying around the house.

Really. Here’s all you need:

White copy paper and white tissue paper (or use toilet paper–assuming you’re well stocked by now and maybe even have a surplus) 🙂

White glue (or use 1 cup of flour mixed with 1 cup of cold water)

Leaves and flowers picked from your garden (or see what you can scrounge up during a walk around the block)

Begin by fully inflating your balls or balloons to create the form for your globe. Tear white copy paper into 2″ wide strips (or use the aforementioned pieces of toilet paper; this method will increase the translucency.).

Dip your strips into the glue and press them around the ball/balloon until it’s covered in one layer of paper. Note: if you’re using a ball, make sure the valve is pointed upwards. Stop the strips just short of the top, then set your globe out to dry. Don’t worry about forming a neat opening as you’ll have a chance to clean it up later.

Gather your flora.

We picked a combination of fern leaves, ginkgo leaves and bougainvillea bracts.

Spread the flora on a sheet of wax paper in a single layer; place another sheet of wax paper on top then rest a heavy book upon the flora “sandwich”. In few days the flora will be dry enough to use.

Dab a bit of glue on your finger, or onto a paintbrush, to attach the flora to your paper globe. Once it’s positioned, layer a strip of white tissue paper (or toilet paper) over the flora. Spread a thin layer of glue over the tissue paper layer, smoothing it with your fingers, or paintbrush. Let dry.

Once your globe is completely dry, deflate the ball or puncture the balloon and cut a wide, circular opening at the top. Remove the ball or balloon.

If you plan to leave your globe lanterns outside for any period of time, first seal them with two coats of clear acrylic spray paint (letting them dry in between coats).

Showing how to make a craft paper lantern jack-o-lantern for Halloween made with tissue paper and toilet paper.

Now you’re ready to illuminate your lanterns. Because they’re made of paper and, thus, flammable, I’d suggest using battery-operated LED candles, such as these which can be set to timer mode. They’re coated in wax and have the most realistic wicks–far better than some of the other options out there, even better, in my opinion, than those sold at the store the begins with a P and rhymes with “Ottery Farm”.

Side note: “Timer mode” may just be one of the greatest inventions ever; each night your candles “magically” begin to glow at the same time like some little fairy swept through your house illuminating them–while you didn’t even have to lift a finger! And what’s cozier than candlelight–especially the flame-less variety which you can leave unattended knowing it will extinguish itself in five hours?

However, these lanterns are just as pretty during the day when not aglow.

You can use the same technique, (but with orange tissue paper for the final layer), to create a jack-o-lantern–perfect for the holiday that’s almost here!

I had planned to use an X-acto knife to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth on our jack-o-lantern, but liked the look the Sharpie created so I left it intact.

Showing how to make a craft paper lantern jack-o-lantern for Halloween made with tissue paper and toilet paper.

This version functions as a lantern or as a Halloween candy bowl! We’ve stuffed ours with mini candy bars and have been reaching into the jack-o-lantern far too often, ever since. 😉

A paper lantern jack-o-lantern for Halloween made with tissue paper and toilet paper sitting on outdoor table and glowing.

Now you know how to illuminate your house, how about how to make it smell really good? Recently I read someone suggesting each house should have its own signature scent. It got me thinking: What’s ours? I’d imagine it’s a custom blend of dog fur and washed-when-it-fits-into-this-new-schedule-human-hair.

And surely we can do better! I know I want to try. In fact, I imagine we all want our homes to smell their best, especially now so many of us are grounded in them. Enter: 100% natural essential oils and a diffuser!

Homemade paper globe spherical lanterns with dried pressed leaves and flowers sitting on pathway. Rattan tray with LED pillar candles in front.

We purchased this diffuser by Victsung last winter when we were coughing and hacking at night due to the dry weather. Given the season of dryness has descended upon us, along with the plague, now seemed like a good time to bring out the diffusers (plus, they’re so cool and modern looking!). But instead of just using them in the bedrooms, I decided to keep one in the kitchen and drop in some essential oils to make our house smell less like, well, like us.

I wanted a scent that would smell somewhere between pumpkin pie and freshly baked oatmeal cookies, or maybe just like Fall. And I think I nailed it! The secrete formula? Two drops of cinnamon oil and two drops of nutmeg oil.

Used as an aromatic, cinnamon oil has been linked to easing depression and anxiety and aiding in sleep–all good things! While nutmeg oil helps support a sense of calm, induces relaxation–and conversely can alleviate fatigue and be a mood and energy booster. In other words, it’s an upper and downer all in one little vial.

Added bonus: Because the cinnamon oil is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal, it makes an great alternative to yucky chemical cleaners. I added a few drops to a spray-bottle filled with water and now use it as a natural way to wipe the surfaces in our house.

I hope you’ll try making a lantern–or at least invest in some battery-operated LED candles to sprinkle throughout to give your home a cozy glow as we head into the darker days of Fall.

And if you think your house might just smell like you’ve been spending nearly every minute in it, now you have an essential oil formula that can make you feel as good as it smells!

Thanks for stopping by!

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3 Comments on DIY paper lanterns with pressed leaves and flowers and how to make your house smell, naturally, like fall!

  1. Joanne
    October 31, 2020 at 4:44 PM (1 year ago)

    Love my lantern. It’s brings such a nice glow to the dining table as we sit down outside. So pretty and conversation starter to boot! We invited some neighbors over the other evening as just as the light began to fade, the candle turned itself on and everyone was thrilled by how pretty everything looked. Thanks for the great ideas, K!

    • Kisha Gianni
      November 3, 2020 at 5:58 PM (1 year ago)

      That makes me so happy to hear! You are so welcome! 🙂


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