Sky lanterns are a festive way to fill the night sky with beautiful glowing lights. They also work to show students or children  the principals behind hot air balloons on a small scale. Making your own Chinese sky lantern could commemorate a birthday, anniversary or even a wedding. You can decorate them with traditional Chinese calligraphy, pictures of animals or even wishes that you want to come true. Creating a Chinese sky lantern requires only a few materials and a little patience. Soon you will have your very own glowing, flying lantern hanging from the sky.

1. Cut out two 2-foot wide and 3-foot tall rectangles from tissue paper. Spray these with flame retardant on each side and allow them to dry. Cut the upper right and left hand corners of each tissue paper sheet. Brush on a thin coat of Elmer’s glue on the top, left and right side edges of each piece of tissue paper. Do not glue the bottom edge. Press these pieces together and allow them to dry.

2. Hot glue two fishing hooks together so that the hooks are upside down and pointing out. Wrap a candle wick string around the fishing hooks to form a ball.

3. Soak two 3/32-by-18 inch Balsa wood dowels in a bucket of water for 24 hours. This will make them extremely pliable. Bend these two dowels into a circle and tie them together. Lay two dowels across this hoop so that the dowels intersect the hoop vertically and horizontally.

4. Cut four lengths of string into 6-inch segments and spray with flame retardant. Tie all four of these strings to the hoop. Tape the tips of the string inside the tissue paper bag.

5. Soak the ball of wick in alcohol. Have a friend hold the bag up and slightly open as you place the wick ball on the hoop frame. Carefully light the wick ball with a long match. Allow the bag to begin to inflate with hot air before letting go.

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