(Closed) Paper Lantern Questions

posted 10 years ago in Decor
Post # 3
Member
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2007

I would think that the wetness would deteriorate the paper – but I have had success using spray paint.  I actually have some that I sprayed orange and made jack o lanterns out of for my porch @ halloween.  The paint was transparent enough that you could see the glow just fine. 

Post # 4
Member
75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

I haven’t tried this yet, but I thought glowsticks might be a good way to light them–they’re pretty big and glow for several hours.  And you could have them in multicolors if you wanted :-).

Post # 5
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

Sarahdoo — OK, lady, brace yourself for a bunch of info.  I ordered these babies myself (but the small size of battery-operated ones). They were meant to light a pitch dark field…I am waaaaay too "eh, it’ll be enough" about the wrong things. The battery lights are not very bright. I ended up having to rent "can lights" but it all worked out in the end.

So, my advice: don’t get the battery ones, unless you just are looking to ADD a soft glow. Otherwise, you might be better off buying the cord kits (be sure to inspect them; I did buy a couple, and one was defective, but my dumb butt didn’t open them up until 6 mos. after I bought ’em…no returns!)  If you want to light them w/o running electrical cords (that was what I was trying to do), you can try the glowstick route, I’ve seen some other people suggest that. Hang several inside. There are several different types and colors. Again, tho’, I’m not sure if it will generate enough light unless you have other lighting sources. (As far as price, it depends on what deals you can find for the glow sticks; it may be the same price to order the battery lights.) 

Or, add strings of white Christmas lights. They won’t necessary "fill" the lanterns with light, but it’ll make a nice glow. Again, if you’re trying to go cordless like I was (sounds like you are), there ARE battery operated Christmas light strings available. (Do a Google search.) But they are more expensive than standard Xmas lights.  In the end, I had to give in to practicality and budget, and run some electrical cords across the grass.

As far as painting them…when we lit them with "white" lights (the bulbs that they came with and the can lights) they turned a nice golden color. If you don’t mind the white paper during the daylight portion of your event, the color is quite nice. And the white paper is not really stark — b/c it’s so thin, it has a softer look than, say, printer paper white. Think of it more like white Kleenex color.

Post # 6
Member
267 posts
Helper bee

I was going to say (but princesskitty beat me to it) that once you light up the lanterns, they will not be "white white," but more of a creamy golden color. So don’t worry about dyeing them. If you’re really stressed, get yellowish lightbulbs– usually just as cheap as the white ones (which are also not really "white white"), and a lot less risky than using a liquid dye on paper lanterns!

Post # 8
Member
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Princesskitty, what are can lights?  I’m going to order a sample of the battery LED light and hope that it’s bright enough for our needs (there will be other lights as well) but I’m not sure they will be.  We can’t do cords (they’re hanging from the ceiling where cords would show) so that’s why I thought I would see what can lights are.

Post # 9
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

Hi AmandaRyan —

I’m not 100% sure on the terminology, but I’ve heard them referred to as "par cans" or "can lights" — they look like this:

(Source: Accel Party Rentals)

and are fairly lightweight. My woooonderful daddy, after a considerable amount of badgering, designed and constructed some bamboo pole structures on which we hung the battery lanterns and two of these, per structure. They are relatively inexpensive, but do require electrical cords. A rentals company or lighting designer can help you. They also come w/ gels, so you can change the color to suit your color scheme. We went w/ plain "white" so there was a golden glow, and they made the paper lanterns seem brighter.

I really didn’t want cords, but couldn’t get around it. (We were in an outdoor garden and I didn’t want anyone tripping, plus cords are ugly.) But, if you are hanging them from the ceiling (these can lights are MADE to be hung) you might have some options on hiding the cords.  Maybe w/ some tulle swag?  (Just be careful that you don’t touch fabric to the can housing — could start a fire! Again, the rentals person should be able to help you.)

If you still can’t accomodate these, try looking for battery operated Christmas lights (you can bunch up the cord and make a "ball" of light, but depending on what you put it into, it could cast an ugly shadow), or look for the "industrial glow sticks" — there are some that I saw (Google it) that are specifically designed for industrial/safety purposes, and they burn a lot brighter and last longer.  They are, of course, more expensive. I’m also not sure if they come in plain white, and so you might get that sickly flourescent yellow glow, not a nice golden glow. 

Finally, another option to consider: camping lanterns. There are some basic, silver or black/glass ones that can be gussied up to look prettier. They take, like 4-6 C or D batteries, tho’, so the price starts to ratchet up after you’ve bought a bunch of lanterns and batteries… or you could go with enclosed lanterns with candles in ’em, but depending on where you set them up and your other decorations, it could be a fire hazard.

HTH and Good Luck! 

PS – for anyone looking for outdoors options, DO NOT buy those solar powered stake-’em-in-the-ground lights — they suck. Not very bright, and they don’t always work. There *are* ones that you can stake into the ground and bury the cord, but you need a big ol’ power source to jack ’em into.

PPS – Can you tell I did some serious research on this? We had an outdoor wedding, had to power EVERYTHING off of only two outlets and one small generator, including all the lighting and the DJ’s equipment, and had a modest budget to work with.  There *are* a lot of options out there, but our budget did not allow for us to utilize many of them.

Post # 10
Member
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Thanks!  I think those lights would be a little much for our venue – plus, we’re not allowed to make any marks on the ceiling and I don’t think tape/that sticky stuff from 3M would hold them up..lol.  I looked up industrial glow sticks and found a copmany near my house so I’m going to get a sample and see how it works.

Thank you so much for the help!

Post # 11
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

AR (and anyone else), if you like the *look* of lanterns, but are getting your actual lighting source from somewhere else (lights that are already present in the room, garden, etc.), you might consider getting small spots like those I posted mounted on stands and aim them *AT* the lanterns.  That will cause them to have a nice reflected glow, and will showcase them, but you don’t have the humbug problem of actually trying to make them glow.  Or, you can string them on Christmas light strings, which might be lightweight enough to work in your venue, and will also give them a nice glow that even looks like it comes from within, depending how you position the lanterns over the Xmas lights.

Paper lanterns look really cute whether they’re lit or not — they’re nice in an afternoon garden reception — so you can just think of them as decoration, not an actual lighting source. 

Post # 12
Member
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Just thought I would give an update – I received the industrial glow sticks and they just plain and simple won’t work.  Even with two in the lantern, it just wasn’t bright.  It gave it a nice ‘glow’ but when we turned out the lights in the room, I couldn’t even see FH who was standing right in front of me!  I also ordered the battery lights in a "3" light and "12".  You can see them here: http://www.paperlanternstore.com/12ledhabatef.html The one with 3 lights lite up the lantern really funny but the one with 12 lights looked great!  It also provided a LOT more light then the glow sticks.  We only had one (just to test it out) but once you get a bunch of lanterns lit up with them and combine them with our other lighting elements, I have complete faith they’ll be bright enough!

Post # 14
Member
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

Don’t forget, when you buy your batteries — go with the generic-est (cheapest) brand you can find (like the Costco house brand).  You’ll probably end up draining the batteries, but since you only need ’em for the one night, who cares!  You’ll save quite a bit of $$ this way.

Post # 15
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

I’m considering buying these for my reception, but like most of us I have a budget.  The lanterns are priced pretty good, but buying the LED battery lights shoots the cost way up.  Anyone know who rents out the battery lights??   I like the idea of just putting tea lights in them.  Anyone have any ideas on how to hang tea lights in these lanterns??? 

Post # 16
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I really like the idea of the paper lanterns as centerpieces for my tables and maybe a few to hang from the ceiling at my reception.  Can I ask what the consensus is on lighting these?  We don’t need them to light up the whole room but just a nice glow.  I really don’t like the idea of having to plug them in! Do tea lights work?  I haven’t ordered them yet because I’m leery to get them and then not be able to light them on the tables. Please help!

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