Making of traditional Japanese Lanterns: 3

Mr. Haba, our teacher ©2009 Marais

Finishing the lantern:

In Part 1 of making traditional Japanese Lanterns we looked at the different tools needed and the winding technique. In Part 2 of making traditional Japanese Lanterns we see how the washi paper is attach to the lantern. In Part 3 we will look how to finish the lantern.

©2009 Marais

Once your Washi paper is attach and cut you have to wait for it to dry. On a beautiful day the sun can do that for you in about an hour.

©2009 Marais

This is the best time to take a break have a rice ball and green tea.

Once your lantern is dry it is time to take out the mold. Here is a video were Mr. Haba will show you how to disassemble your mold.


©2009 Marais

This is your lantern without he mold. Now you have to make it neat and clean which will be your last step.

©2009 Marais

One of the characteristics of a Japanese Lantern is that it is collapsible. This is possible because of the strength and durability of Washi Paper. When your mold is disassembled you are left with a stiff paper ball and with a very high tech tool, the humble 1yen coin you will make a fold in the paper between each wire until your lantern can be folded flat.

©2009 Marais

This is how your lantern should look like when it is collapsed.

©2009 Marais

The final step is to fold and glue the edges of the paper that sticks over the mouth of your lantern with Methyl Cellulose. You will be left with a new found respect for the Japanese Lantern.

©2009 Marais

This is a custom made lantern for me as a gift from Mr. Haba. Each artist in the program had the honor of receiving this gift. The Kanji on the Lantern my name translated into Japanese, is painted by Mr. Haba that turned out to be also a master calligrapher. Mr. Haba’s specialty is custom lanterns of this sort for businesses, brides, shrines and temples. Wouldn’t a painted custom made lantern from Japan make a very special gift for someone special?

I found this video that is very informative that shows you the same process with a different mold.

About Marais

Anja Marais is an artist with interdisciplinary projects consisting of sculpture, photography, installation and film that present the idea of the perpetual outlander. For more information visit
This entry was posted in Art, export, Mino Paper Art Residency, Residency and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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