Craft for the Feast of the Assumption- August 15th
Here is a great floating lantern craft depicting Mary, Mother of God, being assumed into heaven:
We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” With these words, Pope Pius XII formally declared, in 1950, the bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven to be a dogma of the Catholic Church.
Those of us with original sin do not take our bodies to Heaven. However, Mary, Our Mother, was conceived without sin and reigns in Heaven as Queen- in both body and soul.
When we die, our bodies will remain here until the last day of this earth. When Mary’s life here on earth ended, the body of Our Blessed Mother was not allowed to become corrupt. She was taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven. Though she was human too, she has no grave here on earth. Her body is not here.
This year on the Feast of the Assumption, lift Mary up to Heaven with our floating paper lantern project!
You will need:
- 8 sheets of tissue paper, any color
- 1 sheet of black tissue paper
- Mary template
- fire retardant spray
- 2 sticks of balsa wood- 1/16 in. x 1/4 in. (each 24 in. long)
- wire cutters
- rope or clothesline
- 8 sheets of cardstock or a large piece of cardboard
- craft glue
- strip of cotton fabric- 10 in. x 4 in.
- candles (different color than fabric)
- fishing line
- jar lid or tin foil
To successfully and safely launch your lantern, there are some precautions that are necessary to take. The first is to use fire retardant spray. This can be purchased online or in fabric stores.
Hang all the sheets of tissue paper on a rope or clothesline and cover them with the spray. This will prevent your lantern from burning both before it is launched and while it is flying.
Ideally, it is best to spray the sheets outside. However, if it is windy, the sheets will tear and tangle when wet. Find the best place to spray the sheets and do not remove them from the clothesline until completely dry.
Once the sheets are dry, they can be glued together. Lay a sheet horizontally and put a line of glue along the bottom edge. Lay a second sheet on the glued edge, overlapping the two sheets about 1/4 in. It is important that there be no holes or gaps in the sheets, otherwise your lantern will not fly. The new large sheet should be at least 35 in. x 22 in. Repeat this process with the rest of the colored sheets until you have four large sheets. These are the walls of your lantern. Let these walls dry completely.
While the walls are drying, make your silhouette of Mary using black tissue paper and our template. Cut out the template, cutting carefully around the rays and Mary’s halo. Trace the the template onto the black tissue paper with a pencil and cut it out carefully. The Mary silhouette should be glued to one of the four walls of your lantern. We attached our silhouette to the lightest colored sheet so that she could be seen from the ground when in the air. We also did not glue down the rays from her hands, but kept them free from the wall.
Next, make a template that will be used to trace onto your tissue paper- to make the “walls” of your lantern. Use cardstock or cardboard to create a template that is 6 in. on the bottom x 35 in. long x 11 in. at the center.
Fold each of your “walls” in half vertically and trace your template onto each one with a pencil. The flat edge of the template should line up with the folded edge of each wall. Cut out each wall carefully. Repeat this with each sheet until you have four shaped walls.
Open up one of the walls and lay it out flat. Line the right side only from top to bottom with glue. It is important that you only glue one side and do not glue the bottom. Taking a second wall, lay it on top of the first sheet, lining up the sides. Press the right sides together, making sure there are no holes or gaps. Fold the second sheet in half, folding the free side over on top of the glued side.
Line the second sheet with glue in the same way as the first. Glue the right side from top to bottom. Attach the third sheet to the second, lining up the edges. Fold half of the third sheet over, folding the free side onto the glued one. The fourth sheet is the only one that can be glued on completely. Apply glue to the edge of the third sheet as well as the edge of the unfolded half of the first sheet. Lay the fourth sheet on top, lining up the edges so that the fourth sheet is attached on all sides except the bottom. Set aside, allowing the lantern to dry completely.
Make the wooden frame using tape and balsa wood. This frame will attach to your lantern walls and support the flame of your lantern. Tape the two pieces of balsa wood together, overlapping them no more than half an inch. Bending the wood gently, from a circle and tape the opposite ends together, as well.
Use wire to create an “X” on the wooden frame. Wrap the wire securely to the sides of the frame.
Once the walls are dry, they can be attached to the wooden frame. Open the walls gently. Working on a small section at a time, line the inside edge of the walls with glue and attach the wooden frame. Press the glued wall to the frame firmly, making sure there are no holes or gaps. Continue all the way around the walls until the entire frame is attached.
While your lantern is drying, work on your fire source. Fold your strip of fabric in half and tie it in a knot, making a small bow. Place the knot on a jar lid or foil. Drip wax from a lit candle onto the knot until it is completely covered. Depending on the size of your candle, this may take more than one candle. It is helpful to use a wax that is a different color from your fabric, making it easier to see how much fabric still needs to be covered.
Attach the wax-covered bow to the middle of the wire “X” on the frame. Use plenty of wire to secure it.
Light the end of the fabric to launch the lantern. It takes a few minutes for the lantern to fill with hot air. Do not try to force the lantern up. You will feel it lift upwards when it is ready.
- Use fire retardant spray on both sides of each piece of tissue paper.
- Launch lantern in an open area away from trees and buildings.
- If you prefer to bring your lantern back down after it burns out (some areas do not allow floating paper lanterns), use fishing line. Attach the line to the wood frame and fly it like a kite.
- When lighting the fabric to launch the lantern, be sure to light the end of the fabric. If you light your fabric in the middle, the ends may fall off as they burn.
- Only allow adults to light and launch the lantern.