Withie lanterns brighten up a dark night and can be a great to light the way on a night walk or procession.
You can make all sorts of beautiful structures using withies and tissue paper – this gives you instructions for a basic shape to start with – then you can experiment once you know how the materials work together.
If you can’t get withies they also work well with other thin (ideally bendy) sticks, or garden canes.
Using the withies, make a square base for the lantern. Take four short pieces for the outer edges and strengthen the square with two diagonal cross pieces. Bind the withies together with masking tape or string.
When you have made the base, affix a small piece of cardboard to the middle – this will be where your tea light or candle will sit.
Cut the remaining withies into longer strips. You need a minimum of four strips for each lantern, one to start from each corner of the base that then meet at the top in the middle. Use tape to attach the wicker at the bottom and at the top. You should now have a pyramid shaped withy frame.
The next step is to cover this frame with tissue paper to add colour to the lantern. Tear long strips, lay them over the wicker and paste runny glue over the top to build up a few layers and make it stronger – like papier-mâché. Leave a hole in one side to slide the candle through and light the lantern. It can also be a good idea to leave a small hole in the tissue paper at the very top to let some of the heat escape.
You can make these lanterns in different sizes. Try making a series of small ones and thread them together in a chain, or add a few more withy supports and make a bigger one.
You can also decorate your lanterns with messages and head out on a lantern procession around your area to show others what you care about and show off your wonderful creations!
Take it Further
If you enjoyed making these lanterns then check out Bushcraft Pencils and see if you and/or your group can make some drawing equipment yourselves!
This activity was taken from our publication Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups.