Paper Lantern Inspiration

We’re having a tent wedding, so to spice up the blank white canvas above our heads, we’re going to string up some individually lit white paper lanterns.  I turned to the internet for some inspiration, and here’s what came up:






YUM! Pengy rikes.To recreate my own sky of lights, I ordered 48 white irregular ribbed paper lanterns in 3 different sizes: 12″, 16″ and 20″ from The Paper Lantern Store, all for around $170.


Rather than space them out throughout the tent, I’m considering clustering them lengthwise through the middle of the tent (creating three tight long “strips” of lit lanterns). 50 lanterns spaced out might look a little “sparse” so adding drama through the middle of the tent might be a more economical way to go. I love this look:


I’ll light each lantern with individual LED battery powered lights, similar to these below, in white. The advantage of an LED light over a standard bulb is that the lit time is around 12 hours, whereas the lit time for a standard individual bulb is around 5-6 hours:


How are you “sprucing up” your blank canvas?


Mrs. Penguin

Northern California
Wedding Date:
June 2008
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  1. tiramisu Member
    tiramisu 390 posts, Helper bee @ 12:53 pm

    @petuniasandmore: Our batteries lasted 3+ days full strength, and believe it or not, at a faint glow for MONTHS! Do a trial if you’re worried about it, but you should be able to turn them all on Friday (we did). Good luck!

  2. Member
    petuniasandmore 7 posts, Newbee @ 1:00 pm

    @Mrs. Tiramisu: Thanks!! Do you rememeber which batteries you got that lasted that long? Lithium 2025 or maybe 2032? I would love to get ones that last that long, I wonder if some of them last longer than others.

  3. tiramisu Member
    tiramisu 390 posts, Helper bee @ 1:04 pm

    We used the 2032… you can see the exact type in this post here:

  4. Member
    petuniasandmore 7 posts, Newbee @ 1:11 pm

    @Mrs. Tiramisu: Oh that’s GREAT news. Although we have the 3 light LED that takes 2 batteries, so probably won’t quite go 3 days. I’m going to do a trial run to see … thanks so much for the info! Did you find that fishing line was the best way to hang them?

  5. tiramisu Member
    tiramisu 390 posts, Helper bee @ 1:14 pm

    @petuniasandmore: Yes, we ended up using heavy duty fishing line. Details here:

  6. Member
    petuniasandmore 7 posts, Newbee @ 1:18 pm

    @Mrs. Tiramisu: you’re amazing, thanks!

  7. Member
    ocam_caro 191 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:45 pm

    I’ve been reading almost all the stuff posted about paper lanterns and how to illuminate them. . .

    In a photojojo blog about How to Light With LEDs,
    they mentioned LED keychains and gave a this link where you can get them by 2, 10 or 50 pack.
    The 22000mcd (Ref. SKU 1100) is as low as $0.447,
    and something they call Ultra-Value Bright (Ref. SKU 20241) is as low as $0.398,
    but a customer says the SKU 1100 is brighter than the SKU 20241.

    I love the idea of the keychains, because it will save me the hassle of making a ton of throwies. . .but has anyone tried this before? and if you did. . .can you share your experience?

    thanks so much!

  8. Member
    2dBride 3432 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:34 pm

    I would also be interested in hearing how bright the keychains are.

    Another alternative I’ve found since I first posted is stick-up light bulbs from Westinghouse. An Amazon seller is currently selling them for $2.99 each, plus one $2.99 shipping charge for however many you order. See:

    You wouldn’t want to use these in small paper lanterns, because the bulb might not fit through the opening in the paper lantern. However, for our 18″ diameter lanterns, these gave a much brighter and less blue light than I was able to achieve with LEDs. You can see a picture comparing the effect of LED lights to the effect of a stick-up bulb at:

    One disadvantage of the stick-up bulbs is that they require four AA batteries each. However, I was able to find 100 batteries for $32, including shipping, on eBay. Someone else says that Dollar Tree always has packs of four batteries for $1, which would be even cheaper.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Cravinwaves, Guest @ 4:35 pm

    I’ve thought of this idea as well, but you need to get the “diffused” lighting and the keychains are not. The keychains will give a “spotted” look and not the OVERALL glow you want.

    Putting together throwies are pretty easy and is what I’m doing for my paper laterns. Cost effective as well.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Member
    2dBride 3432 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:53 pm

    Thanks for following up, Cravinwaves! I will say that the stick-up bulbs definitely produce a diffused light.

  11. Member
    ocam_caro 191 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:30 pm

    Thanks for replying. . .
    I’ll have to talk to the groom and find out how crafty we will get. . .
    BTW I saw some other stuff you might be interested:
    1. here is an image of how the SKU 1100 looks on, and one of the
    SKU 20241 Seems to me the later one is more diffused. . .Dunno!
    2. here are instructions on how to diffuse a led, i think the same can be applied to the keychains, although i cannot tell if it will work, or if it is actually less work than making the throwies.
    If I ever do I trial with those keychains I’ll let you know :)

  12. Member
    soontobeadube 2 posts, Wannabee @ 3:41 pm

    has anyone ordered batteries from and recieved batteries from them successfully?

    I did and I think it may have been a naiive mistake. I havent recieved an email of confirmation from them.

    !! I need my mind to be put at ease before I decide to cancel my credit card. :-/

  13. Member
    2dBride 3432 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:14 pm

    @soontobeadube: I did. My recollection is that I did not receive any confirmation, but that the batteries came quickly anyway. Do you have a number to call them?

    For anyone else, I now have a picture of how my lanterns looked at my wedding, at:

    Mine included small battery-operated white lanterns, 10″ white lanterns lit with throwies to make them pink or amber, and 18″ natural lanterns lit with Westinghouse Stick-Up Bulbs.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Nikki, Guest @ 5:25 am

    Thank you for all your helpful posts, I too have been trying to work out the best (and cheapest) way to individually light lanterns for our wedding.

    After LOTS of trial and error I have come up with the following solution which may be helpful. I purchased LED keychains from DealExtreme. Need to purchase 2-3 per lantern. At approx US$4 for 10 they work our cheap especially since bateries are incl. This light on its own is too ‘stark’ for my taste and the lights are not diffused. To combat this I brought 2 different colour nail polishes- 1 needs to be nude/white, 1 needs to be yellow/orangey. I painted the entire bulb of each keychain in the nude, then approx 50% of the bulb was painted in yellow. Yes its a little fiddly but no more so than putting together throwies, plus the key chain allows you to hand the bulb easily inside the lantern.

    I am happy with the end result, still not as bright as a bulb lit lantern, but you could always add more LED keychains per lantern if you want it super bright.

    Thanks for all your ideas!

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Angela, Guest @ 3:55 pm

    Any ideas how to incorporate paper lanterns withput hanging themf romthe ceiling. Our venue doesn’t allow it and I reallyw ant to use them. Thanks!

  16. Member
    2dBride 3432 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:52 am

    @TheCheapBride, which type of lanterns were you looking at? For snow white paper lanterns at Asian Ideas, I’m getting:

    12″ lanterns $1.25 ea; 50 or more for $1.20 ea (on sale right now)
    14″ lanterns $1.43 – any quantity (on sale right now)
    16″ lanterns $1.63 – any quantity (on sale right now)
    18″ lanterns $2.03 – any quantity (on sale right now)
    20″ lanterns $2.33 – any quantity (on sale right now)
    24″ lanterns $2.73 – any quantity (on sale right now)

    All of these are with free shipping if you spend at least $100.

    I don’t have a personal interest at this point–my wedding is already over. But I’m just curious about the difference.

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Angela, Guest @ 9:16 pm

    @TheCheapBride: Thanks for the suggestions, CheapBride! When is your wedding? I’d like to see the pictures of the centerpeices; having trouble forming a mental picture but it sounds really cool :-) We’re getting married indoors so if I line the aisles w/lanterns, how would I do that? Thanks again for the help

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    kimpro, Guest @ 11:57 am

    I am trying to figure out how many paper lanterns to use in my reception hall. Anyone have information!?!?

  19. Member
    2dBride 3432 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:33 pm

    @kimpro: If you check this post, you can see the effect of 130 lanterns in a 40′ x 120′ space. If you calculate the square footage of your space, you’ll be able to figure out how many lanterns you would need for that level of coverage. You can then decide whether you want that level of coverage, more, or less.

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    kimpro, Guest @ 9:04 pm

    I am sorry …… are you referring to a picture somewhere????

  21. Member
    2dBride 3432 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:06 pm

    Sorry, it appears to have eaten my link. Let me try again:

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    kimpro, Guest @ 9:28 pm

    thank you very much! I am so visual and that helped so much!

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    MrsBlevs2010, Guest @ 3:25 am

    Nikki, do you have any pictures of the keychains lit in paper lantern? I really want to use the keychains but am worried about how they will look. Your nail polish idea would be a great solution. Thanks!

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Nikki, Guest @ 6:33 am

    I will try to load some pics
    now. Have since discovered that opaque nude colour nailpolish works better and saves time!

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    Nikki, Guest @ 7:06 am

    @Ni @MrsBlevs2010: @MrsBlevs2010: I have unfortunatley been unsucessful in uploading the pics from my phone. I u are happy to I can email u a pic if u like. The level of brightness is really good. You may like to use 2 keychain in lanterns over 18″ but one is plenty for anything under that size. I wish I was more tech savvy so I could help more! Only thing I can say is that I am totally happy with them an I am a real fuss bot about stuff like this. Order one of 10 keychain and it will cost $10 Australian as delivery is free so not
    too expensive totry out for peace of mind. All the best andmlet me know if u want me to email the photos. Nikki

  26. Member
    ocam_caro 191 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:21 pm

    @Nikki: I’m totally interested in your pictures. . .can you e-mail me at: ocamcaro at gmail dot com

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    MrsBlevs2010, Guest @ 5:29 pm

    Hi Nikki! Yes, please send pictures to me at Thanks so much!

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    Nikki, Guest @ 1:39 am

    No worries I have sent you both the photos. If youn can work out how to get the photos on here please
    feel free to put them up! Cheers

  29. Member
    weddinggrl 1 posts, Wannabee @ 9:31 am


    I have 9 LED flashlights which work great to light up paper lanterns. I bought them upon a suggestion from a bride above. However, my wedding venue moved from outdoors to indoors and I will no longer need them. I have about 300 of them (unopened packages) and now want to sell them since I won’t be using them! Let me know if you are interested in buying!

    I bought the 9 LED flashlights from cheaptotes for 79 cents. They run off 3 AAA bateries but go for over 12 hrs. Here is the link:

  30. Guest Icon Guest
    stressed out mom, Guest @ 4:18 pm

    How much are you asking??

  31. Guest Icon Guest
    Emily, Guest @ 10:35 pm

    Has anyone thought of using a small strand of white Christmas lights wrapped inside of a bigger paper lantern?

  32. Guest Icon Guest
    Paper Lanterns and LED Throwies « My Wedding Planning, Guest @ 5:15 pm

    […] Source […]

  33. Guest Icon Guest
    Mo’ Money, Mo’ Wedding Stuff | Weddingbee, Guest @ 5:45 pm

    […] Source […]

  34. Member
    orchardbride 2 posts, Wannabee @ 8:09 pm

    Hi there. I am getting married in Hood River Oregon. Are you interested in selling your white lanterns??? Let me know:

  35. Member
    jannaB 26 posts, Newbee @ 10:47 pm

    I love those ideas do you have anymore to shared?

  36. Guest Icon Guest
    Helpful Series: If Only I Had Majored In Event Lighting Instead of Biology | Weddingbee, Guest @ 6:29 am

    […] Miss Penguin, I knew I wanted lots of paper lanterns to spice up the blank ceiling of our tent. Mr. Tiramisu and […]

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