Posted 10th Nov 2017
Decorate a windowsill with this beautiful lantern in the shape of a row of houses. Watch the brightly coloured doors and windows flicker in the candlelight at dusk
You will need:
One large sheet of black sugar paper
Tracing paper in red, orange and yellow (either A4 sheets or cut from a roll)
A craft knife
A sturdy surface to work on (e.g. a wooden board, a cutting mat or a thick cardboard box)
Using a craft knife
Craft knives are specially designed for projects like this and are available from all good craft shops. They have a razor-sharp blade that is divided into sections which can be broken off as soon as they go blunt. Children should always be supervised when using craft knives because a certain amount of pressure is needed to cut with them. An adult may need to help out with some parts of this project, such as the window shutters.
1 Outline a row of houses on the black sugar paper, applying plenty of pressure with your pencil. A combination of different roofs, facade widths and window shapes looks best. Open windows like the ones in the right and left-hand houses can be cut out later using scissors, but you will need a craft knife for shutters like the ones in the middle house. You need at least three houses for the lantern to be stable. If you like things to be precise, use a ruler to help you draw straight lines.
2 The pencil lines should be thick enough to be seen on the dark sugar paper, but as thin as possible so that there are no visible lines left on the finished lantern.
3 Cut around the outside edge with a pair of scissors. Use the tips of the scissors for details like the cockerel on the roof. Then work on the windows and openings. Put the tip of the scissors through the middle of these shapes and then carefully cut out towards the edges.
4 Use a craft knife for the window shutters and roof tiles because they need to be cut out precisely. Children will definitely need adult supervision cutting these tricky areas.
5 Place the row of houses face down on the board and place a sheet of tracing paper over the first house. The tracing paper and sugar paper must line up with each other along the bottom edge. Now draw round the shape of the first house's sides and roof on the tracing paper, making sure that you will be left with a narrow black edge at the end.
6 Draw round the other houses and cut out tracing paper in the same way. As a quick test, turn the sugar paper over, put the tracing paper behind it and check that nothing is visible around the edges.
7 and 8 Next glue the coloured shapes onto the back of the sugar paper. To make sure they stick properly, smooth your fist over them several times, pushing down well.
9 Finally, turn the row of houses over. Now you can open the doors and windows. Next, use the craft knife and ruler to carefully score between the houses to make it easier to fold the lantern. Be careful not to make the cuts too deep - otherwise you will cut the houses apart. If you like, you can score along the doors in the same way so that they open better.
10 Finally open the doors wide so that the lantern glows beautifully in the candlelight. This also helps to make it sturdier. Stand two or three short pillar candles on the window sill (tealights are not bright enough to light the upstairs windows) and place the lantern some distance in front of them. Make sure there is no draught that could blow the houses over and that they are a safe distance away from flammable items like curtains.
For safety's sake, never leave burning candles unattended.