DIY Leaf Lanterns with Arlington Parks and Recreation
By Dianely Luis, Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on October 12, 2021, October 12, 2021

As the weather gets cooler and leaves change color, the world becomes a cornucopia of color. Leaves stop producing chlorophyll as temperatures begin to drop and the days get shorter. Chlorophyll is the pigment responsible for the bright green hue of leaves during spring and summer which allows them to capture sunlight and make energy. As trees shut down chlorophyll production, their yellow and orange pigments (carotenoids) begin to show, producing the color autumn colors we love so much. The plethora of colorful leaves sprawled across the ground are perfect for making leaf lanterns to light up our long nights. Leaf lanterns are an awesome autumn craft to teach your little ones about the changing seasons and get them excited about a colorful outdoor adventure!


  • Scissors
  • Wax paper
  • Iron
  • Cloth
  • Leaves
  • Washi tape
  • Tealight candles, battery powered


  1. Cut the wax paper to your desired lantern size. You’ll need 8 sheets of the same-sized wax paper per lantern.
  2. Arrange the leaves on a sheet of wax paper then Carefully place the second piece of wax paper on top of the leaves.
  3. Cover the wax paper with the cloth and gently iron until the sheets of wax paper fuse together. This creates one panel for the lantern.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until four lantern panels are completed.
  5. Use washi tape to tape together the sides of your wax paper to create a prism.
  6. Turn on your candles and place inside the lanterns.

Tip & Tricks:

Press the leaves between heavy books before making the lantern to preserve the bright colors of the autumn leaves. It takes 7-10 days to dry out leaves, but you can skip this step if you don’t mind dulled leaves.

If you do not have washi tape, you can use a glue stick and strips of colorful paper to combine the lantern panels. You can also roll the paper into a cylinder shape if you want to avoid the extra step of combining the panels. Get creative and add different natural elements or try different lantern shapes!

Show off your #LeafLanterns by tagging us and using the hashtag #NaturallyFun.

DIY, Crafts, Nature
News, Parks & Recreation