Hello! One lovely reader, Erin, recently left a comment on our nursery post:
So I came across your awesome paper lantern idea a few weeks ago….ordered all the supplies (lanterns, monofilament string, hooks, etc;)….and have been struggling with this project. I spent 2 hours yesterday TRYING to get them up…and am having a really hard time hanging them without…#1 crushing the lanterns when they are clustered together…and #2….the lanterns falling down as I hang them. Can you PLEASE tell me exactly how you did this without getting frustrated and just giving up on the idea? An easy “hanging paper lanterns for dummies” would be perfect (haha!). Thanks:)
And, Erin wasn’t the first to write to me for a tutorial on hanging the paper lantern cluster we have in Bodhi’s nursery. Her comment just really motivated me to finally put this together. First, I have to say that I don’t have photos to support all of the little steps to hang them, so I’m attempting to give you really detailed directions but if they aren’t clear, just leave a comment and I’ll try to clarify. Second, I wish this post’s title could be “hanging paper lanterns for dummies” as Erin suggested, but it is just a wee bit tricky since lanterns do tend to crush easily. But, I’m cheering you on and it is very manageable! Read on for all of the details!
Looking back, I wish we would’ve taken photos the entire way.
Common problems readers are having include:
- Lanterns crushing or denting
- Lanterns falling once hung
- Issues with the ceiling (pre-drilling should take care of that)
- Paper lanterns—9-15 lanterns in varying sizes and colors. I like Martha Stewart lanterns but also like several from The Paper Lantern Store or Luna Bazaar. You could also throw in tissue paper poms if you’d like.
- We did our cluster in greens, blues and added in a green star lantern and a few small white lanterns.
- Fishing wire (the strong thick stuff)
- White screw-in ceiling hooks
- Step ladder
Caution—pregnant women, when hanging lanterns, be sure you are using a sturdy step stool.
Steps to create a paper lantern cluster or “paper lantern mobile” as I like to call it.
Step 1: Pick your location—we put ours above Bodhi’s changing table.
Step 2: Decide how big you want your cluster. This will help you determine where you put your hooks.
Step 3: Mark the ceiling for the hooks. We used three hooks and spaced them approximately 8 inches apart.
Step 4: Drill holes for the white ceiling hooks using the same size drill bit.
Step 5: Screw in the white ceiling hooks. (You can see the hooks pretty well in the photo below)
Step 6: Tie fishing wire to the metal part of all of the paper lanterns.
We doubled up the fishing wire and ran it through the metal part, tying it together on the metal and then again around the hook. We made a triple knot in both places. This actually makes it so you have four fishing wire strings to tie to the hook on top. This way you can attach the lantern in multiple ways to ensure it stays put.
Literally put it through the metal part like you would when you sew clothing and then tie it together with a triple knot.
Step 7: Start with the largest of the lanterns and begin attaching them to the hooks holding only the fishing wire. Tie the fishing wire into knots around the hook. you will need to tie it, then wrap it around the hook very tightly and tie it again. If you grab the lanterns, they will dent. Attach them at the height you think you will want. I recommend hanging the large ones about 15-20 inches below the hooks (depending on your ceiling height) but vary each of them by an inch or two so it doesn’t look too symmetrical. We hung one on each hook and then added another large one to the middle one.
Step 8: Start adding in the medium size lanterns and any interesting ones. For us, I hung the star in at this point too because I wanted to build around it.
Step 9: Lastly, hang the smallest ones to fill in any holes. Now is the time to play with the others as well. If one looks too long or short or looks like it’s not in the right place, wrap the fishing wire from that one around and around the hook until the height seems right.
Step 10: At this point, I cut a couple down and hung them again. It is definitely trial and error until you get the look you want.
Step 11: Make sure that the cluster looks good from all angles.
Step 12: If not, add in some more, change the height of some or rehang some.
And finally: Admire your work! Take a photo and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share it with our readers.
The entire process of creating the cluster took about an hour and a half.
For safety reasons, I really recommend that you tie the fishing wire to the lantern cluster before hanging and you check, check and double-check that they are all secure before moving on to hanging them on the hooks.
We love ours so much that we moved it to the new house. Two lanterns were destroyed in the move, but the rest made it safely. Enjoy!
Please note that product links are Amazon affiliate links. All of the lanterns I reference are available at many online retailers.