Paper luminaries are such an easy way to decorate for the holidays and events.
While it is possible to make these with a knife, I would highly recommend a cutting machine like a Cricut or Silhouette.
These are super cost-effective to make which is why they are great to add some festivities around the holidays or as a centerpiece for a wedding.
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What lighting to use with paper luminaries
I like making luminaries out of paper mostly because there is so much variety in colors and textures with paper cardstock.
Please do not use a real candle with paper luminaries. It will catch on fire.
Even if you are using a plastic sheet or glass, a battery-powered candle is a much better choice.
LED lights are an even better choice. They tend to consume less power and dissipate less heat. The light will last longer and reduce the likelihood of overheating your luminary. I have several sets I purchased from Amazon.
Materials for DIY Paper Luminary
Cardstock – There are so many to choose from. If you are doing a more intricate design like the one in the photos, I would recommend a non-textured cardstock with a colored core. The will minimize fraying create a clean finished product. Here are some of my favorite brands for cardstock:
- Recollection Assorted Starter Pack – Basic assorted colors, great starter pack, perfect weight for most papercraft projects
- Metallic Shimmer Assorted Set from Amazon – This set is a little lighter in weight but the colors are beautiful in 3D
- Cardstock Warehouse Brand on Amazon – I love the quality of all the matte colored cardstock with Cardstock Warehouse. It is my go-to brand for individual matte colors that I might need
- Stardream Metallics Line – For paper crafts, the Stardream line is the go to for a metallic shimmer finish. It is the perfect sheen to make any project pop. The core is also colored is which hard to find for metallic paper.
- Assorted Pink Set from Paper Paper – This is a must-have for paper flower makers. The variety is perfect to create a bouquet.
- Assorted Purple Set from Paper Paper – This is another must-have for paper flower makers. I love the variety of finishes in this pack.
- Metallic Variety Set from Paper Paper – I don’t know any avid paper crafter that doesn’t use Stardream metallics line of shimmer paper. It is the only metallic cardstock line that I know of that has such variety and has colored cores.
Glue or Tape – You can either glue the seams together with Tacky Glue or a glue gun but I find tape to create the cleanest look.
Template – This rose patterned and snowflake luminary SVG are both available for free in my resource library.
Tips for Making your DIY Paper Luminary
I find the blue mat is sufficient for most designs but if the paper starts to snag, you might want to switch to a stickier mat like the green one. I would also check to make sure your blade is clean and hasn’t picked up too much lint.
To clean up all the paper scraps, my recommendation is to use a lint roller. It makes it go soooo much faster.
Adding a Layer of Vellum to the Paper Luminary
If you prefer a more opaque look, try adding a layer of vellum to line the inside of the design.
I like to place the cutout design on a scrap magazine or piece of paper and then rolled glue rolls on it. Then I cut a piece of Vellum to size and place it on top.
Assembling the Paper Luminary
When assembling the luminary, I like to just tape it from the inside. I find this creates the cleanest edges.
My template has only the individual size panels. Depending on your cardstock, you could also weld the SVG panels together and create a continuous piece.