Doily Lantern Tutorial

Okay, so back in MAY, I was asked to write a tutorial for my doily lanterns – it was supposed to be published in a bridal magazine’s online tutorial section.  Awesome right?  So I took pictures and wrote the tutorial and figured I’d direct you all to it, but um . . . I don’t think they ever did anything with it.  I can’t find it anywhere and my contact person seems to have fallen off of the face of the Earth – I’ve written so many emails and have never heard back.  I’m guessing she was an intern who has moved on with her life.  But anyway, I believe sufficient time has passed and I’m just gonna throw it up here, ’cause I love you all and I was never paid for it and I know you’re dying to make your own doily lanterns.  And so, here you go!

For each lantern you will need:

-          2 identical doilies with scalloped edges
-          Straight pins, if necessary
-          Needle
-          Thread
-          Scissors
-          1 skein embroidery floss
-          1 metal ring
-          1 yd of ribbon (1” wide or smaller)
-          Craft pliers
-          Sugar starch (see recipe below)

Step One: Dip one doily into the sugar starch – completely coating the entire surface of the doily.  Spread onto an upside-down mixing bowl, being careful to keep the doily centered and even.  Tip: cover the bowl in plastic wrap first for easier clean-up. If your doily is wider than the bowl, crimp the doily to fit, using pins to keep in place.

doily lantern tutorial sugar starch step one

Step Two: Once the doily is completely dry (could take 1 – 2 days), remove from the bowl – the doily will keep the rounded shape. Repeat Steps One and Two with the second doily.

Step Three: With a needle and thread, stitch together both doily “bowls”, matching scalloped edges, creating a globe.

doily lantern tutorial sugar starch step 3

Step Four: Weave the ribbon in and out of the gaps created by the scalloped edges of the doilies.  Cut away any excess ribbon, stitch ends together and shift the ribbon slightly so your ends are hidden inside of the doily globe.

doily lantern tutorial sugar starch step 4

Step Five: To create a tassel, cut about 6” of embroidery floss from the skein.  Wrap the length of floss about 1” from the top of the skein a few times and knot.  Cut across the bottom of the skein and fluff the ends.  With the craft pliers, slightly pry open the metal ring – insert into the looped end of your tassel and around a thread in the bottom of your doily globe.  Close the metal ring with the pliers.

doily lantern tutorial sugar starch step 5

Step Six: With scissors, cut a circle in the bottom of one doily “bowl”.  Hang with string or wire.

doily lantern tutorial sugar starch step 6

Et voila – doily lanterns!

doily lanterns

Sugar Starch Recipe


-         1/4 cup water
-         3/4 cup granulated sugar

Mix water and sugar in a small pan. Stir the mixture over low heat (do not boil) until clear and smooth. Remove pan from heat, and let mixture cool.

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14 Responses to Doily Lantern Tutorial

  1. Judith

    did you light these up or were they decorative only?

  2. OMG I wish they DID publish this months ago. I TOTALLY would’ve done this over the tissue poofs I did. They were way more time consuming and didn’t look 1/2 as good!!

  3. These are beautiful! I’m wondering, since I’ve never used it, if the sugar starch is sticky afterwards or anything? I’m in a small apartment and wouldn’t want any bugs or dust ruining them.

    • vsheaffer

      Hi Monica! The starch is not sticky once it has dried, but you may want to consider using a coat of Mod Podge to seal it if you plan to use it for long periods.

  4. Elizabeth

    What kind of lights did you use? What lights are safe with these (especially outdoors)?

    • vsheaffer

      I used the same strung party lights that you would use for paper lanterns. I tested it out beforehand, and everything was great – no problems at all!

  5. Pingback: Homemademamma » Alla scoperta di Zurigo: Räbenlicht ovvero la festa della rapa

  6. Terri

    I was just wondering if you could use paper doilies or do you have to use the cloth ones. I’m looking to make several of these for my wedding reception to decorate the tent and all of the cloth ones I’ve been looking to purchase are a bit pricey. Do you have any suggestions or know where to find doilies on a tight budget? Thanks so much!! I love these by the way!! I’ve been looking every where for something other than the plain jane lanterns for my vintage theme wedding and these are PERFECT, if I can do them on my budget!

  7. hi – what size doilies did you use? They look pretty large. About 8 inches?

    Your lanterns are amazing!

  8. These are fantastic! Now the real issue of finding a place that sells doilies. Were these expensive to buy? They look like they are good quailty.


    • vsheaffer

      I made these quite a while ago, so I honestly don’t remember how much I ended up spending. But I bought a package of 10 on eBay, if that helps you at all. :)

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