Kids DIY with recycled items: Aeroplane lantern for Mid-Autumn Festival

Friday, September 05, 2014

Before I got married, I was never really bothered about all those traditional Chinese festivals. If the Dumpling Fest is coming, our kitchen will magically pop up with delicious dumplings. If the seventh lunar month is here, I'll just do my part to stay at home after dark.. or make sure I got really drunk so that anything spooky becomes funny automatically.

Now that I'm married and staying on my own, I'm responsible for magically popping out dumplings and this time... mooncakes. Which reminds me that Mid-Autumn Festival is coming on Monday and we haven't bought any mooncakes for my mother-in-law or my mom. #bestdaughterever

Gotta really take some time out to taste those mooncakes at the mooncake fair soon.

With Mid-Autumn Festival coming right up, apart from mooncakes, we will need lanterns! Dylan's school organised a lantern-making competition so we took this opportunity to make a lantern together. It was really fun!

We started off by Googling for some DIY ideas when I chanced upon many, many parents with their amazing crafting skills! Here are some ideas that we shortlisted:

Minion lantern from
We came very close to making this because Keeve had such a detailed step-by-step instructions, it is almost impossible to get it wrong. We ended up ditching it because we couldn't get those yellow and blue paint last minute, so I think I may wanna keep it for next year!

The very first idea of an aeroplane lantern came from Tan Family Chronicles:

Aeroplane lantern from Tan Family Chronicles
Such a simple but creative idea! Besides, Dylan is a fan of aeroplanes and helicopters, so we thought he will really like it if we were to make an aeroplane lantern.

Using the above as a rough idea, we continued looking around for more variations of aeroplane lanterns. We then chanced upon this one from Miniliew:

Another aeroplane lantern variation from Miniliew
I liked how they used cardboard for the aeroplane's wings because that means Dylan can colour/draw on it before we assemble them together. They also have a pair of brilliant wheels, which really took aeroplane lanterns to another level!

Because of time & material constrains, we decided to forgo the wheels, but take the idea of using a cardboard as the wings. We also added a tail to our plane.

Here's our end product!

I'm extra proud of it because everyone of us had a part and honestly, none of us did more than another. With the three of us working hand-in-hand while Alexis meimei sleeps on in her cot beside us, we got this completed in about 1.5 hours.

Here are the materials we used:
  • Clear plastic bottle, with a small bit cut open (see top picture)
  • Cardboard pieces to cut into two wings and one tail
  • Markers to colour the bottle
  • Crayons for Dylan to colour the wings and tail (using markers for kids can be a little TOO messy)
  • Star stickers to decorate the plane 
  • Washi tape to brighten up the nose of the plane
  • String, recycled from a balloon
  • Toilet roll, cut just a bit to insert in the bottle as a holder for a tea light candle
  • Disposable chopsticks secured together as the holder for the lantern
All in all, I think that this is not only a good bonding session for the three of us, it also helps with Dylan's gross and fine motor skills. He had such great fun colouring the pieces and sticking those stickers.

Most importantly, he sees it as his accomplishment and he is super proud of it!

Now... I just hope we can get the lantern back after the contest lol.

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