Fall paper mache lantern craft

Fall is well under way, in our latest Micro Angelos class, Miss Julie Waltz-Stalker showed families how to make a paper mache luminaire. We pre-cut the paper and found the leaves ahead of time, but if you're doing this craft at home, those are great opportunities to explore the world around you and work those fine motor skills!

Learning Through Play

As with every Micro Angelos lesson, today's craft is full of learning opportunities for children of all ages! They explore different materials and textures and learn investigation science by hunting for leaves, discussing changes of seasons, and experimenting with light shining through an object. Their fine motor skills are put to the test when they apply the strips of paper and glue to the balloon with a paintbrush, and they engage their large motor skills by collecting the leaves beforehand. 

Supply List


  1. Blow balloon to desired size (3-5 inch diameter is good for tea light).
  2. Tape balloon into paper cup, tied side down. This will provide stability while you apply the paper-mache to the balloon.
  3. Paint a light layer of Mod Podge or white glue over the balloon.
  4. Add strips of tissue paper, alternating with more Mod Podge/glue as need to make the tissue lie flat. 
  5. Once the balloon is covered with a thin layer of tissue paper, begin adding leaves, covering each leaf with strips of tissue paper and Mod Podge/glue so that it lies flat along the balloon.
  6. Continue with leaves, tissue paper, and Mod Podge till balloon is covered according to preference.
  7. Allow to dry for 24 hours or until dry to the touch.
  8. When completely dry, remove balloon from cup, pop balloon, and place the light in the balloon.