Photo Lanterns

Published July 19, 2012

Photo Lanterns If you have a family or friend’s celebration coming soon, you may want to try this great centerpiece idea. Spend some time locating some wonderful photos of the guest of honor and give yourself a day ahead to assemble the frames.



  •  3-sided hinged photo frame (or cardboard photo mats available at Michaels)
  • Glue and Glue Gun
  • Vellum Paper (available at Michaels)
  • Photographs (digital are best or regular 4 “x6”)
  • Computer and Printer (if available)
  • Sharp Scissors


If you cannot find a 3-sided hinged photo frame, the cardboard mat frames work just as well. They can be attached together at the end.

Look for vellum paper that has an old appearance. Perhaps something in a shade of brown or gold would be the best. The darker the paper the more effective the lantern will be. Load your photos one by one into your computer and print them on the vellum paper. Doing this process one by one is a good idea. If you do not have access to a home computer you can take your photos to a photocopy center and have them transfer the photos to the vellum.  Be sure to measure the size of your window in your photo frame to ensure the photocopied photo is the right size to fit in the space correctly. You may want to do a test copy first on regular 8.5” x 11” paper.

Once your photo is transferred to the vellum paper carefully cut it out with a sharp pair of scissors to fit the inside of the photo frame leaving a small margin for gluing. Glue the good side of the photo to the wrong side of the photo frame. The photo should be facing outward. Repeat this on the remaining other two photo frames.

Fold the frame together to form a triangle and place a small, glass votive inside. Light the candle. The photo will glow from the inside.

Alternatively, run a small amount of glue along the long edge of the photo mat and attach the other mats to form a triangle. Place the glass votive inside.

These lanterns look stunning as a group of 3 or 4 scattered down the center of the table.