Use a classic Chinese origami water bomb to create these gorgeous paper lantern string lights. These origami string lights are super budget friendly and such a beautiful and festive option for Chinese New Year — or year round!
Easy DIY Origami Lantern String Lights
While browsing Pinterest for a Chinese New Year craft to do with my girls, I stumbled on a strand of gorgeous paper origami string lights. I totally fell in love with them and started searching high and low for a set. I finally tracked them down on Etsy — and nearly fell over when I saw they were priced at $55 for a set!!!
WHOA, that’s just a little too pricey for my budget, so I decided we’d try to DIY a strand of our own…
All told, my version of these origami string lights only set me back about $5 in scrapbook paper! Of course, I did repurpose a strand of white Christmas lights which helped to keep my costs down. If you don’t have any on hand, thrift stores are a great resource for them this time of year.
Amazon has a great selection of scrapbook paper with many pads priced at just $5 per pad. After changing my mind half a dozen times, I finally settled on this Colorbok paper in the fruit punch palette. The bright colors and whimsical prints make for some beautiful origami lights!
How To Make Origami Lights
These origami light covers are simply Chinese water bombs. Some of you might recall making these when you were younger? They’re really quite simple to make, and after you’ve done a few, you’ll be able to whip through them very rapidly. Seriously, if my 8-year-old can make them, so can you!
Originally I was going to do a step-by-step tutorial, but this Chinese water bomb tutorial on wikiHow is super simple to follow. So I figured why reinvent the wheel? Since the scrapbook paper that we used is already square, we were able to skip the trimming step and start with folding our paper on each diagonal.
BONUS: Earn major cool mom points when you amaze your kids by blowing into the folded Chinese water bomb to transform it into a cube!!!
Attaching the Origami Light Covers
I attached the origami light covers to my light strand by inserting the bulb into the open end of the water bomb/cover and securing it with a small piece of transparent Scotch tape as in the image above.
One thing we quickly realized is that the lights on our light strand were much closer together than the original photo, thus the 12×12″ paper makes an origami light cover that’s a bit too large to fit over each bulb. To solve the problem, we simply opted to put the paper cover on every fourth light.
We actually love the combination of the covered lights and the bright white exposed lights, so it wasn’t a big deal. However, if you want to cover each light bulb, scrapbook paper does come in smaller sizes, or you can also try using origami paper. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t come in as many beautiful prints and is quite a bit more delicate to work with.
PIN IT NOW! CLICK HERE TO ADD THIS ORIGAMI LIGHTS TUTORIAL TO YOUR DIY & CRAFTS BOARD ON PINTEREST!
I can think of SO many uses for these beautiful origami lights well beyond Chinese New Year — indoor or outdoor parties, weddings, baby showers, Christmas, you name it! My girls are already begging me to hang this strand up in their bedroom, so it appears that I’m going to have to replace a strand of our outdoor Christmas lights next November.
I was also thinking that lots of smaller origami light covers on icicle lights would be stunning… My patience is wearing a bit thin at this point, so I’ll save that crafty fun for another day. :)
Paper Fortune Cookies
If you love these origami lights or are just looking for more Chinese New Year crafts for kids, I think you’ll adore these fun paper fortune cookies! They’re also made with scrapbook paper, and they’ve become quite the sensation on Pinterest.