As I mentioned before, I work in Education for a local wildlife charity, which means I am able to bring a lot of crafting into my working life. I try to stick to crafts using natural materials or recycled things as we want to promote sustainability through our work.
Every Tuesday I work with a particular group, some of whom have poor health, so when I saw that this week was forecast for heavy rain all day I looked for something indoors to do. A colleague had made willow lanterns one Halloween and I thought this would be a fun project to try and occupy our day hiding from the rain.
I used instructions from the fantastic Woodland Trust Nature Detectives website – how would us environmental educators survive without their generosity?!
I took those of the group that wanted to to cut willow out on the reserve and then we came back to the classroom to make our lanterns. They were pretty easy to do really and it was fun to see the slightly different structures everyone came up with using the same instructions. Some went for shorter lanterns and I should point out that they are planning to use led tea lights in them not standard candle ones. I on the other hand went for full on height and left the willow at the top uncut for a more natural look.
We covered the structures in tissue paper and these are some of my tips for that:
– Try and only use as thin layers as possible, the areas where there is only one sheet look so lovely and sheer. Where there were more than two it looked pretty opaque so may not look so good when lit.
– We used cut up kitchen sponges to apply the glue mix and then finally put a wash of glue all over the outside. This was much more practical than brushes as the tissue paper gets so delicate when wet.
– Before we applied the first tissue pieces we sponged glue all over the outside of the willow to give the paper something to hold to.
We let our lanterns dry out in front of the log burner (on a plastic sheet as they were still dripping glue!) and many group members cut shapes from coloured tissue to use as decorations. Once the glue had dry we used sponges to apply the decorations and left then to dry again.
Mine is still white. I don’t know whether to leave it that way for ultimate simplicity or to glue on a few dried autumn leaves. I think some slightly smaller of these would make pretty presents – though maybe for a child or cat free home!