The Dumpling’s playgroup recently asked all of the parents to bring in treats for a Chinese New Year party. Me being…well, me, I spent more time thinking about the presentation and packaging than what to actually bring. It just so happened that jigg brought home packs of red envelopes from work, so I decided use them as the base material for the project. I remembered making paper lanterns when I was a kid—with a bit of tweaking on my end, they turned out to be great goody bags!
- Large red envelopes made out of quality paper (avoid the flimsy, small envelopes—they won’t be sturdy enough)
Step 1: Cut off the envelope as indicated in the picture below. Discard the envelope flap on top and the very thin strip on the bottom. There are now three pieces to work with: the large piece will form the body of the lantern; the medium piece will form the base; and the small one at the bottom will form the handle.
Step 2: Fold the large piece of the envelope in half horizontally. Optional: Make a vertical fold down the middle to mark where the center is.
Step 3: Cut strips starting from the bottom (folded side) to form a fringe but stop approximately 2 cm from the top edge. Do not cut all the way through! (Tip: To get more evenly spaced strips, first cut down the middle along the vertical fold to create two halves, then down the middle again to create quarters, then down the middle again to create eighths.)
Step 4: Unfold the envelope and fluff the strips outward.
Step 5: Using the small piece of the envelope (from Step 1), open it up like an “O” and glue both sides to the top edge of the lantern. Optional: Cut open the “O” to adjust for a longer strap before gluing.
Step 6: Using the medium piece of the envelope (from Step 1), cut open the folds on both sides to create two strips.
Step 7: Glue the strips into a cross shape and loosely fold the flaps to the size of the lantern’s bottom base.
Step 8: Glue the flaps to the inside bottom of the lantern. The base would most likely not be a perfect fit, so adjust the flaps before the glue dries as a workaround.
Step 9: Fill the inside with several pieces of bite size candy or chocolate coins. Be careful not to overload the lantern—the weight capacity would be dependent on the strength of the paper stock and glue.
Tip: I churned out over a dozen goody bags during the Dumpling’s nap time. The trick to mass producing these quickly is to make one lantern from beginning to end to get familiarize with the process. Then I did everything in assembly line fashion—meaning, I did all of Step 1, then all of Step 2, and so forth.
Happy Chinese New Year!