Last Minute Floating Water Wish Lanterns

Floating Lanterns

Two days before New Year’s Eve Party:

Gary: Can you get some of those floating water lanterns for New Year’s Eve?
Shannon: Sure. They’ll be here in about a week and a half and we can store them until next year.
Gary: Well, can’t we buy them somewhere here in Syracuse?
Shannon: We live in Syracuse.  And I’ve looked before. Maybe Party City? [checks Party City website while speaking] Nope, Party City doesn’t have them.
Gary: I’m sure they do. What’s the number, I will call them.

Shannon provides magical phone number to magical elves at Party City.
Magical elves at Party City disappoint Gary.
Shannon makes quick trip to Michaels and purchases the following:

2 Pieces of Birch Plywood 1/4 x 12 x 12 inch ($3.99 each)
16 1/8 Dowels ($.29 each)
12 White paper lunch bags ($.39 each)

Shannon wanders through the house collecting these items:
Cordless drill/screwdriver with 1/8 drill bit
Scissors
Glue gun and glue sticks
Black india ink (any type of black paint would work)
Paintbrush
Bag of tealight candles

Shannon does the following (or would have done the following in the methodical way outlined below if she had thought about it ahead of time – organization is inherent in hindsight):
Step 1: Mark the birch wood into 6 sections (divide the 12 x 12 in half, rotate and divide into thirds to end up with 6 sections of 4″ x 6″).

Step 2: Using a chop saw (or hand saw or circular saw) to cut the birch wood into sections.

Step 3: Drill holes into the four corners of each section of birch wood. (note to reader: it is not recommended you drill these with a towel or other fabric under the birchwood because when it goes all the way through the drill catches on the towel forcing you to extract it by reversing the drill. Definitely don’t do it twice. You’d have to be stupid to do it twice.)

Step 3: Cut your dowels (scissors work fine) into chunks 1/4″ larger than the length of your paper bags.

Step 4: Glue one tea light onto the top side of the birch wood.  Burn yourself on the glue gun tip (optional, not recommended).

Step 5: Squeeze a small amount of hot glue into each of the four drilled holes in the birch wood and insert a dowel into each one.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6 (optional): Using the internets, find Chinese characters representing the wishes you would like to make (like the ones on this site).

Step 7: For each wish, write the English word on the bottom of the lantern and using the india ink (or black paint) and paintbrush transcribe the Chinese character onto the front of the paper bag.

Step 7

Step 7

Step 8: Cut a big rectangle out of the bottom of the bag and snip a hole in each of the bottom corners of the bag.  Snip your finger (also optional, also not recommended.  Especially not recommended if you are following this project up with another project involving squeezing limes.) and try not to bleed on the lanterns.

Step 9: Lining up four holes in the bottom of the bag with the dowels, slide the opened paper bag onto the dowels until almost touching the birch wood base.

Step 9

Step 9

Step 10: Hot glue the bottom of the paper bag to the birch wood base.

Step 10

Step 10

Step 11: Line them all up and admire your handiwork.

Step 11

Step 11

Step 12: Schlep all the lanterns to pre-arranged state park over a huge snowbank where you discover the body of water in which you were planning to float these biodegradable wish lanterns is frozen.

Step 13: Get shooed out of said state park by a police officer looking for unruly hooligans setting off rogue wish lanterns at state park.

Step 14: Shlep the lanterns back to the car while making disparaging remarks about the police officer and drive them back home where you line them up on the front sidewalk.

Step 15: Toast the new year with great friends.

Step 16: Ask husband to proof blog who continues to state that the correct use is ‘internet’ not ‘internets’.  Reply by stating ‘internets’ is funny.

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