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College Dorm Room Craft Time: DIY Lanterns

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Crafts are a fun way to bond with your new friends at college. They're an excuse to sit and talk and have a fun activity to do while you get to know each other. As a great bonus, you end up with really cool, unique decorations for your dorm!

One of my favorite crafts I've done with my friends at school is to make DIY lanterns. You don't need very many supplies, and they're quick and easy to make.


There are a couple of ways you can make a DIY lantern. You need either a cardboard box or a glass bottle. The box is easier for making a picture shine through. As you can see in my photo, I made a star on one side of the box and a hot air balloon on the other. A bottle lantern lets more light through and creates more of a shiny effect.

Let's start with how to make DIY lanterns out of a cardboard box.

Cardboard Box Lantern

Materials: You can use any box; you just want to make sure you can cut through the cardboard easily. All you need is a marker, a pair of scissors, tape, and a flashlight. Paint is optional, but great if you want to make your lantern look more polished.

1. Draw the design you want to make right on the box. It's fun to do images that relate to the sky, like stars or the sun. You could also do your school mascot for some extra school spirit.

2. After you're happy with the drawn image, start cutting. It's okay if the box seems like it's coming apart a little. Just keep in mind that the pieces you cut out will act like the lines you would draw in a picture, so make them like an outline of the image you want and be careful not to accidentally cut out a whole chunk!

3. After you're done cutting, you can use scotch tape to tape the inside of the box to hold the lantern together. Cover all the holes from the inside with scotch tape. This gives the light that comes through the holes more of a dreamy lantern look, and it keeps you from being able to see the flashlight inside.

4. When you're done taping, paint the outside of your box however you like and place a flashlight inside. I painted mine plain white to make it simple and polished, but you can paint your image as if it's a painting — it'll look beautiful when the lights are on or off.

Glass Bottle Lantern

The DIY lanterns using glass bottles are even easier to make!

Materials: You only need a glass bottle, paint, paintbrushes, and a small flashlight.

1. Paint the outside of the bottle, remembering that the part you paint will look dark when a light shines through from the inside. Use the parts that you didn't paint as the outlines of the figure, or just be abstract and experiment with colors, like I did.

2. You may have to use two coats of acrylic paint to make sure it sticks to the glass, and be careful not to wipe away the paint with your fingers as you work.

3. Now, you just let the paint dry and put a small flashlight inside to begin using it!

These DIY lanterns are fun and easy to do on a small budget with your new friends from college. You'll create a great bonding experience and fun lanterns for your dorm!