Window Lanterns

Make a colourful lantern display with ornamental silhouette shapes. During the month of Ramadan, streets and entrances to houses and shops are traditionally decorated with ‘fanous’ or ‘fanoos’ lanterns.

Window Lanterns

Skill Level

Beginner. Adult supervision needed

Time to Make

2 hours + drying time for paint

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. Place a paper doily coloured side up onto scrap paper or newspaper then brush black paint over top. After a few minutes carefully lift the doily up and place it onto a new piece of paper to fully dry.
  2. To make the top and bottom shapes for the lantern, cut a piece of A4 black card in half into 2 x A5 pieces. Fold one piece of card in half lengthways then cut it in half across the middle to make 2 x matching folded pieces. Use a light coloured pencil to draw out a half dome shape or a curve onto each of the folded cards.
    While the card is still folded, cut out small triangular pieces across the middle fold to make diamond patterns on the lantern. Or, cut away a larger area from the middle leaving a frame around the edge.
    Cut out both shapes then open out the cards into 2 symmetrical shapes.
  3. To make the side strips for the lantern, cut 2 x pieces from the remaining piece of A5 black card, 15cm long, 1.5-2cm wide. Stick a small piece of double-sided tape at both ends of both strips then peel off the backing paper. Stick the strips onto the top section of the lantern so they are parallel. Stick the bottom section of the lantern to the ends of the strips, trim the ends off the strips before sticking if they look too long.
    To vary the design, add 2 more card strips to divide the window into 3 sections on the lantern with small cut out card pieces to make points or arches.
  4. Cut out some pieces from the painted doily then carefully stick them onto the llantern. You could use small pieces at the corners or a bigger piece to cover a larger area of the lantern window.
  5. Measure and cut some cellophane pieces to cover the lantern holes. The pieces need to be about 1cm bigger than the windows to allow for sticking at the edges. Stick strips of double-sided tape or onto the lantern then press the cellophane on top. Try different colours or overlapping pieces of cellophane.
  6. Turn the lantern over. Stick card strips across the lantern and cut out circles at the top and bottom or add other details to the silhouette shape. Stick a long, thin card strip to the lantern top, which can be taped to a window frame to hang it up.
Window Lanterns Window Lanterns Window Lanterns

Top Tip

Stick the small cut-out doily patterns and cellophane pieces by very lightly brushing glue around the lantern frame then pressing the pieces on top. Use a tiny amount of glue applied with a thin brush or the end of a cocktail stick. Bigger pieces can be attached with double-sided tape. To make a lantern with a doily patterns at the top and bottom, cut away the middle area from the card shapes leaving a 2cm frame so the doily can be glued over the window.

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