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Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Lantern Walk on Martinmas

This picture at You Know How We're An Art Family... inspired me to make lanterns for a lantern walk on Martinmas.
The day is celebrated in the evening of November 11 in some parts of the Netherlands, in a small part of Belgium, and most areas of Germany and Austria. Children go through the streets with paper lanterns and candles, and sing songs about Saint Martin. Sometimes, a man dressed as Saint Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession (though not in the Netherlands). - excerpt from Wikipedia

It seemed particularly fitting that we should look at St. Martin this year as we are studying the Middle Ages. Advent, or the forty days before Christmas, in the Middle Ages began on the feast of Saint Martin. -from Wikipedia

I decided that a Martinmas Lantern walk would be a delightful thing to do, so we began to make our lanterns. I have seen several people make lanterns out of tissue paper and balloons, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it.
For this project, you will need a large balloon, a pot that you can put it in, ModPodge (or perhaps watered down glue), tissue paper, yarn or string or raffia, and tealight candles. You may also want to carry your lantern with a large stick.
Making Lanterns
This project is started with a large balloon which is blown up. Place it in a large pot or container that will hold the balloon, but will give you exposure to a little more than half of it.
We covered a section with ModPodge, put pieces of tissue paper down and then sealed it with another layer of ModPodge.
You can add other decorative things, like these leaves from willow branches we stripped.
Once you have covered one half  or a little more of the balloon, let it dry...overnight, if possible.  You may need to lift the balloon out of the pot to unstick it before it dries to the pot.

Once it is dry, you can take the balloon out of the pot and pop it. We used a skewer to pop it.
The lantern will deflate with the balloon. Do not worry.
Just carefully peel the balloon away from the tissue paper and it will look like this.
Carefully take a hole puncher and punch four holes evenly spaced around the edge, about a half-inch or so from the edge. Now reinforce those holes with paper reinforcers on both sides.
Now cut four pieces of yarn, string or raffia of about an arm's length and tie one to each of the holes.

Now tie the four ends together at the top.

Now they are ready to hang off a stick. Or, you can just carry it..
 The Lantern Walk
Once it was dark, we lit tea-light candles in them.
We went to a bridge a few blocks away.
Some of us carried our lanterns by their strings and some put them on sticks to carry.
We watched the boats on the water.
And walked the bridge by lantern lights.
We thought about Saint Martin giving half his cloak to a cold stranger.
Then we went back home...
and ate Buckeye candies.
 Other Similar Lanterns
Lanterns at Kleas

Lanterns at GardenMama
If you know of any others, let me know and I will add them.


  1. I loved this post. I feel like going out and buying some Mod Podge tomorrow and making a lantern. I'm glad you showed the collapsed balloon, because I'm sure I'd have lost faith in the project at that point. Walking by lantern light must have been fun. Too wet and windy here to take a lantern out tonight. Blessings to all.

  2. Beautiful! Thanks for the link. We really enjoyed our Martinmas lantern walk this evening too. I just posted about it actually. :) We made the same kind of lanterns this year! They really glow so beautifully.

  3. What fun! I've never heard of that, but I'm part Dutch, so I would love to look into it. Your lanterns are lovely!

  4. these are fabulous lanterns. I have made them with tin cans before but not like this. I will keep this in mind for winter solstice next year

  5. How beautiful!!! I can imagine how lovely it would look to line a porch with them in Christmas colors on Christmas Eve.

  6. The leaves are really pretty mixed into the tissue paper!

  7. beautiful! looks like fun was had by all

  8. Those turned out so pretty.

  9. they turned out beautifully phyllis!! thank you for including mine in your grouping.


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