Holiday Lanterns with Silhouette Garland Tutorial

Elf Silhouette Lantern

There’s something so folksy and endearing about paper cut-out scenes and characters for the holiday. This year, we made some paper garland with little elf silhouettes dancing in the forest – the French word for these repeated pattern garlands is “ribambelles”. These garland strands can stand alone, but we’re going to show you how to turn them into glowing Advent lanterns for your tabletop or mantle.

These lanterns are so sweet and easy to make, with our printable template! We would recommend doing this project with your older children since there are wire cutters involved.


What You Need

Elf Silhouette Lantern
  • 3 jars (jam jars would work just fine for this project)
  • Several sheets of colored cardstock (we recommend red, green and black)
  • 1 sheet tissue paper, white
  • 3 LED tea lights
  • smaller jar lid (this will become the base of the carousel that sits inside the lantern)
  • Thick wire
  • Decorative wooden bead (the hole of the bead should be large enough to fit your wire through)
  • Printable template
Elf Silhouette Lantern
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape (regular and double-sided)
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil
  • Wire cutter
  • Reamer

How To

Elf Silhouette Lantern

Step 1

Before you begin, you’ll want to cut your figures and the strip of tissue paper that will wrap around the exterior of your jar. To use the printable template, take your paper and fold approximately 6 times, accordion-style. Place your template on top and cut out your elf shape (your first fold should be on your right when you begin cutting). You’ll only need to fold your paper approximately 3 times in the same way for the mushrooms, and approximately 8 times for the fir trees.

Once your shapes are cut out, glue your elves to your tissue paper with your glue stick. You can choose to have your elves facing outward, or on the interior of the tissue paper for a more “frosted” look. Wrap the tissue paper around the exterior of your jar and tape in place.

Elf Silhouette Lantern

Step 2

For a lantern with stationary characters, form a circle with your mushrooms or fir trees and tape secure. Place inside your jar with a tea light candle.

Elf Silhouette Lantern

Step 3

For a lantern with movable characters, begin with step 1, skipping step 2. With your reamer, make a singular hole in the lid to your jar (large enough for your wire to pass through). Then make 2 holes in the smaller lid that will fit inside your jar.

Elf Silhouette Lantern

Step 4

Form your wire into a U-shape, then thread the wire through the 2 holes on the smaller lid. Place inside the jar and thread the wire through the hole in the jar lid.

Elf Silhouette Lantern

Step 5

Add your wooden bead for the handle. Tape your interior shapes around the rim of the smaller jar lid and place inside your jar with a tea light candle.

Elf Silhouette Lantern

Cut extra trees and elves for decoration around your Advent lanterns.

Elf Silhouette Lantern

You can style them all together, on a tabletop or mantle, and wait until the sun goes down…

Elf Silhouette Lantern

Enjoy the warm glow they give off!

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