DIY tutorial: paper lantern mobile |

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DIY tutorial: paper lantern mobile

Hello! One lovely reader, Erin, recently left a comment on our nursery post:

Hi Jessica!
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:

  1. Lanterns crushing or denting
  2. Lanterns falling once hung
  3. Issues with the ceiling (pre-drilling should take care of that)

Materials needed:

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 livethefancylife@gmail.com 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.

9 Comments on DIY tutorial: paper lantern mobile

  1. Tiffany
    June 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm (859 days ago)

    Jess this is great! One question- do/did you use a humidifier in Bodhi’s room? I did and it nearly destroyed my lantern/pom cluster. I switched to a cool mist humidifier which helped but they definitely don’t look as crisp as they once did…thoughts?? Thanks!

  2. Laura
    June 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm (856 days ago)

    Do you have the brand and the color name of the gray used for this nursery?

    • Jessica
      June 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm (856 days ago)

      Hi Laura! Yes! It’s Martha Stewart flagstone from Home Depot.

  3. Michelle Barnett
    July 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm (827 days ago)

    Hi Jessica,
    I am in love with this!! I knew I was going to do this after I saw this if I had a boy or girl. It turns out that the colors you did are exactly the same colors that I will be using. Is there any way you can send me more pics and the number you used. I also saw that you only used 3 hooks? did you just tie multiple ones on the same hook? I am sorry for copying but I can’t tell you how much I love this!!! I really want this to be the focus of the room. I will send you a pic as soon as I have it up (which has to be soon I am due in sept and have done nothing ahhh)


    • Jessica
      May 27, 2013 at 9:21 am (514 days ago)

      Hi Michelle, I know this is super late, but yes, I did tie multiple to each hook and it worked great. That’s how it became a solid cluster. I’m SO happy you love this!

    • Jessica
      September 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm (758 days ago)

      Katy! Yours is so beautiful! I love it! It’s more full than ours and looks amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. danielle
    April 25, 2014 at 10:21 am (181 days ago)

    I am wondering what is the range of sizes for the laterns did you use as i was trying to order they were giving me options for many different sizes. i am also wondering where you found that blue color. the blue color laterns are what i am looking for….i love the cluster and would love to recreate it in my nursery colors…


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