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Make your own lanterns & diyas this Diwali!

November 5, 2007
Come Diwali and most of us hit the market to buy diyas, lanterns and candles. However, with some effort and innovation, all of these ornaments can be made at home -- not only will your Diwali props have your own personal touch, but they will also give you immense satisfaction.

Presented here are do-it-yourself methods for lanterns, diyas, candles and even a few rangoli tips!

The traditional lantern (kandil)

You will need:
~ A sheet of tinted colour paper (19cm x 8.5cm)
~ Silver/ gold-finish gift-wrapping paper (19cm x 8.5cm)
~ Cardpaper sheet (20 cm x 6.5cm)
~ A bulb holder
~ String
~ A pair of scissors
~ Glue

~ Holding the rectangular coloured sheet of paper vertically upright, bring its longer sides together and fold it into a perfect half.
~ Next, bring the folded sheet back into the horizontal position, such that the folded side is now facing you. Using the scissors, cut 1-centimetre thick strips straight up through the folded sheet, starting from the folded edge. Leave a one-inch gap at the top of the paper so that the strips are not entirely cut away.
~ Set the coloured paper aside and roll the cardpaper sheet into a cylinder widthwise, not lengthwise. Glue both ends of the cardpaper sheet together such that a regular electric bulb would fit comfortably into the cylinder formed.
~ Once the cylinder is ready, take your wrapping paper in hand and starting from the bottom edge of the rectangle, cut long centimetre-thick strips up to the top, leaving just an inch-thick row at the top so that the strips are not entirely cut away.
~ Glue the wrapping paper's inch-thick row around the bottom of the cardpaper cylinder (on the inside), so that the tassles hang down out of the cylinder.
~ Next, unfold the coloured paper -- you will find the strips are cut into it, while an inch-thick row above and below them remains intact. Wrap the coloured paper around the cardpaper cylinder, glueing the top row to the cylinder top and the bottom row to the cylinder bottom, such that the strips and the gaps between them swell outward.
~ Your Diwali lamp is now ready -- all you have to do is introduce a bulb-holder into the cylinder, along with a bulb, of course! Also make tiny holes at the top of the lantern through which you can pass string to hang it up.
Text: Kanchan Maslekar
Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: Diwali around the world


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