Water Bottle Lantern

Make a Water Bottle Lantern

Follow our easy to follow instructions using an empty water or fizzy drink bottle.

Water Bottle Lanterns Cowley Road Works How To Make Guide 

Gather Your Materials

To get started with this project you will need:

  • A Water Bottle: We used a large water bottle, but you could also use a small bottle or even a glass jar
  • Tissue Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue: we used Modge Podge glue, but you can use any PVA glue
  • Sponge, paintbrush or glue stick

Prepare Your Bottle

  • First cut the label off the water bottle.
  • Remove the bottle cap and flatten the bottle.
  • Then use your scissors to cut the pouring end off the water bottle.
  • Trim all the way around the top of the bottle to make sure there are no sharp edges you might cut yourself on.
  • Now you need to wash your water bottle and give it a very thorough dry with a cloth. 

Design Your Lantern

Now you need to think about how you want your finished lantern to look. We decided on a seaside theme:

If your design wraps around the whole bottle, you need to measure how long a strip of tissue paper you need:

Get Making – Getting Sticky! 

Now cut your tissue paper designs out in all the colours and shapes you want.

The next stage is the sticky bit!

The glue is very messy so it’s a good idea to cover your work surface. We used a wipe clean table cloth.

Get your glue out ready, and a sponge, paintbrush or glue stick.

We’re going to put glue onto the tissue paper now. Tissue paper is very delicate so this is the tricky bit. Don’t worry if it tears – you can stick another strip over the tear. That’s all part of the charm of these lovely lanterns!

Spread the glue on the tissue. It’s easiest to leave a little bit at the edge for you to hold onto.

Then roll the tissue onto the water bottle! Leave 1cm of tissue at the top of the bottle’s edge so you can fold it over later.

Trim the dry bit off the edges:

And fold the rim over the top of the water bottle to make a neat edge:

And repeat! Add each layer of tissue paper to the bottle:

Fill any gaps in the tissue paper where it has torn with a spare strip or two:

Decorating – More Sticking!

If you have a top layer of decoration now is the time to add this.

We decided to add some texture to the crab with scrunched up tissue paper.

Add Handles

If you like, you can add a handle so your lantern will hang up.

For this you will need:

  • A Hole Punch
  • Some wire: we used craft wire but you could also use garden wire or even part of a coat hanger!

Punch holes either side of the lantern:

Take your wire and thread one end through the hole. Now twist the end up and around the wire to hold it in place:


And repeat through the other hole to make a handle for your lantern!

Light Up Your Lantern! 

The final stage is to light up your lantern. The safest thing to use is LED candles or LED fairy lights:

Congratulations! Enjoy your lantern.

Download the Worksheet

Water Bottle Lanterns Cowley Road Works How To Make Guide


Clare O'Hara, CRW Director and Water Bottle Lantern