Lighting Lanterns With LED Throwies

Crazy cheap budget-conscious Miss Tiramisu here, back with some hard-earned research for you all! I posted a while back on the possibility of lighting our paper lanterns with homemade LED throwies. Well we’ve finally gotten around to putting these suckers together. As I said in my last post, I ordered the supplies on ebay. My first mistake was not paying attention to the difference between “diffuse” and “bright” LED lights.

Here are the trial pictures so that you can see for yourself:

Mr. Tiramisu modeling our lovely 14″ white lantern lit with 3 diffuse white LEDs, all attached to their own battery.

Again, with our not-so lovely lantern lit with 3 bright white LEDs.

Are you feeling the polka-dot lantern look? I wasn’t. If you’re going for the warm glow seen in the first photo, you will definitely need the diffuse white LEDs. The bright LEDs, while they may throw more light, will give you that spotted look you see in the second photo.

Another word of caution: these are white lanterns. WHITE WHITE WHITE. With WHITE LEDs. Although the pictures make them seem a little more blue than they are in real life, they do in fact appear blue when lit. I have no idea if there is any way to avoid this. I will say that we ordered a few LEDs from another website before we found them at a lower price on ebay, and those cast a slightly less blue glow than the ebay ones. If you’re set on the white look, it may be worth it to experiment with different types of white LEDs. There are other colors available though- I found red, green, blue, and yellow easily. Our wedding colors are light blue, dark blue, and any blue in between, so we’re going to pretend like we wanted blue lanterns as well 😉

On to the assembly… we used the instructions from this website, adding the on/off switch as shown (but you don’t need the magnet). This way, we’re able to make up the throwies ahead of time, attach them to the wire frames of our lanterns, and only have to pull the switch to turn them on the day before our wedding.

Supplies: cardstock (for the on/off switch), LEDs, batteries, strapping tape, and fishing line.

Here is the on/off switch in action.

Are these totally tedious to make? Do I have to remind myself often of how much money we’re saving while making them? (it’s a LOT.) Does Mr. Tiramisu sort of want to kill me for going through with this crazy idea? Yes, yes, and yes.

But am I totally excited about seeing 150 of these in action on our wedding day and knowing that I didn’t pay a 4-figure pricetag for it? That’s a – heck yes.We’re hoping that with these and the perimeter lighting that we have planned, there will be enough light in the tent after sundown.

Does anyone have any suggestions about tent lighting? Ever been to a wedding where the tent being too dark was an issue? Help me put my nightmares about a pitch-black wedding reception to an end!


Mrs. Tiramisu

Annapolis, MD/Maine
Wedding Date:
July 2008
Polebridge: The "Grand" Tour
Significantly Better
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  1. Member
    girlsnow 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:12 pm

    Ok, so do any of you still have the leds throwie’s you made and want to sell them? Daughter’s wedding isn’t until next June.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Felicity, Guest @ 7:55 am

    Hi Girlsnow:
    I would caution against using used throwies since the batteries didn’t keep them glowing all that long. Ours were bright for the night from mid-day when we pulled their tabs, on. But, I would have had to have gone through and inserted each of the tabs back in the next day in order to get them to be usable for another event. I assure you, after that party, there was no way we would have had the energy for that :) It could be done, but your daughter’s wedding is such a huge occasion that personally, I wouldn’t trust that they’d only be used for a few hours. The last thing you’d want is the lights to start “going out” as soon as your guests arrived.

  3. Member
    2dBride 3432 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:50 am

    @Felicity: Actually, it’s much simpler than that. We didn’t use the tabs in the first place, but just made the throwies the morning of the reception. At the end of the evening, we simply pulled the LED lights off of the batteries, leaving the batteries wrapped in tape. The tape kept the batteries from touching each other, and of course they were no longer powering the LEDs. The next people to use them just pulled the batteries off the tape, and made new throwies out of the batteries and the LEDs.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Felicity, Guest @ 8:59 am

    Oh goodness, we had well over 600 throwies – they took my husband days to make! We also had about 10 million other projects and hosted the reception at my parents’ house so it was insanely hectic that morning.

    In my response, I assumed the previous person was asking for fully assembled throwies.

  5. Member
    HnyBee 307 posts, Helper bee @ 4:38 pm

    Hi! I sent you a message, but wanted to follow up on here too. We have some LED throwies that we didn’t use. They are fully assembled with on/off switches. Some are grouped in threes and some are singles. Let me know if you’re interested. Thanks!

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  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Stephanie, Guest @ 2:44 pm

    Can you do 3 LED lights per battery??? Or will they not last long enough?

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs. Stroller, Guest @ 3:15 pm

    I used only one per battery and it provided plenty of light. If you want to try three, I suggest making a trial one and seeing how long it lasts. I did this in a dark closet before I ordered a ton of bulbs and batteries. Send me an email at ourlittlebeehive at gmail dot you know what, if you’d like to see a photo at night from our wedding :)

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Lori slater, Guest @ 10:27 am

    How did you attach the throwies to the lanterns ?

  15. Guest Icon Guest
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