Paper Lanterns On-Line Class

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Paper Lanterns

Join me in this six-week class and create six innovative paper lantern structures as we:

  • Delve into a variety of techniques (paper cutting, weaving, tessellations, pop-ups, & more)
  • Explore a unique selection of papers and lighting mechanisms
  • Discover a variety of fasteners for bringing paper into the round
  • Get inspired to go beyond the course with ideas for variations on each project

During the six week in depth experience into illuminated paper structures, we will make six projects, the equivalent of a weeklong workshop with me in person. Work from the comfort of your own home or studio while sharing ideas with an on-line community that we are building, one-sheet at-a-time.

Dates: September 20 – October 25, 2017: Each Wednesday, a new lesson will be added to the on-line classroom that you will be enrolled in when you register for the class.

Course Outline:

  • Week 1 (September 20) Pop-Up Lantern: Pleat, cut and assemble this light-throwing lantern and explore a variety of ways to expand upon the pop-ups that cast light in interesting ways.  
  • Week 2 (September 27) Vellum Votive Cover: Illuminate this colorfully translucent vellum by creating a cylindrical form. Add dimension with deckled edges and punches while exploring heights and slit patterns.  
  • Week 3 (October 4) Tesslating Tyvek: Explore this strong and fibrous paper-like material. Bring out its texture by staining it and explore the wonder of paper tessellations.
  • Week 4 (October 11) Inflatable Egg Lights: This structure is created flat and then filled with air and inflated like a balloon. Yet unlike rubber balloons, this one can be partially filled and shaped, since the paper isn’t elastic and can hold its shape. Or, fill it with birdseed or rice to make a paperweight (or a sculpture that isn’t likely to be blown away or knocked over).
  • Week 5 (October 18) Shadow Lantern: In the 1640’s, a German priest living in Rome developed the magic lantern, which cast shadows from glass slides onto a screen, a precursor to modern cinema. This shadow lantern works on the same principle. A light source inside casts the shadow from a stencil onto a paper screen. And it’s reversible!
  • Week 6 (October 25) Woven Paper Lantern: Weaving paper is much faster than weaving cloth, and with so many decorative papers out there, it is both fun and easy to come up with a multitude of paper combinations. You’ll learn a woven paper hinge that completes the cylinder too!

What You Get:

  • Step-by-step video tutorials for each lesson
  • Printable step-by-step instructions for each project
  • Templates
  •  A comprehensive resource list plus a list of suppliers
  • A private community for sharing your work with Helen and the group as well as a forum for asking questions and an option for personal feedback.

How it will work: 

  • When you register for the class, you will receive information about creating a unique login for my online classroom and an invitation to join a private Facebook group.
  • Each Wednesday, beginning on September 20th, a new lesson will be available in the online classroom with a step-by-step video tutorial. You will also receive a pdf instruction sheet with step-by-step photos and instructions that you can download and print.
  • As a student you will have access to all lessons, support materials and videos until August 31, 2018.

Register Now!  $195


$195.00 Add to Cart

Materials: It is now too late to order a supply kit, but you are still welcome to join us and procure your own supplies. You will find a link to a complete list of supplies below.

I’ve put together a substantial supply kit plus a list of suppliers for all of the papers and specialty parts you need to create these projects. I highly recommend that you order the kit from me because you’ll get the best price and save yourself from having to place orders with several suppliers. The kit includes: papers for each project (plus extra paper for most projects), a super cool glue applicator,  a couple of types of battery-operated lights, balsa wood, velcro dots and more. (Click here to view Supply Kit contents) Please register early to make sure that you receive your kit before class begins!

Purchase Supply Kit Now! Supply Kit fee: $75 plus shipping & handling
Receive a FREE 2017 Twelve Months of Paper Calendar when you order the supply kit (while supplies last)! The calendar features 13 paper projects – a great way to warm up for the class!


$75.00 Add to Cart

Other Materials: There will be a short list of additional materials that you will need for the class such as scrap paper, tubes of paint, foam brushes and a few other items that will be listed in the individual lessons.

Tools: You probably have most tools on hand, but here’s an idea of what we’ll be using: pencil, ruler, scissors, cutting mat, craft knife, eraser, glue brushes, bone folder. Optional tools: small hand saw or craft knife attachment for cutting balsa wood (recommended for the shadow lantern).

Beyond the class: The skills you acquire will have multiple applications for sculpture, book arts and lighting as we explore paper as a material and the various ways that it can be manipulated and illuminated. Take what you learn beyond class as you add additional sculptural ideas for working with paper to your repertoire.

Registering for the class: Please register by September 1st to insure that your supply kit arrives before class starts on September 20th. If you don’t register by September 1st, not to worry; I just can’t guarantee that you’ll get your materials in time, but the lessons are independent (i.e. you do not have to do them in order) and will be available until next fall, so you’ll have time to catch up!


Helen is a skilled, generous, and very organized teacher. I enjoyed every aspect of the  online Paper Illuminated Class, from the clear video and written instructions, to the community feel, to the ability to work at my own pace. The projects and materials were lovely. The online format made it possible to benefit from Helen’s vast expertise without the time and cost of travel.  Thanks Helen! S.E., MA

The class, “Paper Illuminated,” was my first ever online class. The needed materials arrived in advance so I could become acquainted with them. The videos for each lesson were very clear and easy to follow. I appreciated having the pdf directions to refer to when I had a quick question. It was fun to see the results that other participants posted. I found the interactive communication with you helpful and delightful. Thank you! I look forward to another online class taught by you! B.H

The class certainly met my expectations and while I hadn’t intended to purchase the supply kit, I did and found it worthwhile. It was great to have access/exposure to a variety of papers and I’d encourage you to push that aspect of any future supply kits even further as a learning/sampling opportunity for students. Also saved much time in sourcing everything, even with supplier links…and thank you for supplier links! I’m in British Columbia and my supplies arrived in great time without any additional duties or charges so thank you also for sending them via USPS!

About Helen: My initial interest began on a trip to Japan 30 years ago when I was inspired by light filtering through traditional shoji screens. I soon began developing workshops combining book arts, papercraft and lighting techniques which led to my book Paper Illuminated (now out of print). I’m the author of four other books about paper crafts and papermaking, and recently published the Twelve Months of Paper Calendar, featuring a how-to paper project for every month. I am a Colorado artist who constructs installations, sculptures, films, artists’ books and works in paper. I teach, lecture and exhibit my work internationally and have an extensive network of paper colleagues around the world. My interest in how things are made (from paper) keep me up-to-date on current paper trends, which I write about in my weekly blog, The Sunday Paper. I hold an annual paper retreat in my Red Cliff, Colorado studio each September.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do I need to register by September 1st if class doesn’t start until September 20th?
I need to know how many people are ordering the supply kit before I order parts from the various suppliers. I estimate it will take them about a week to pack and ship to me, at which time I’ll still have to assemble, label and send them to you. If you aren’t ordering the supply kit, you can register up to the last minute!

Why an Online Class?
I’ve taught these projects to hundreds of students in person over the past twenty years, but since I can’t travel all the time (and perhaps you can’t either) I decided to develop this on-line content. This is an extension of the numerous how-to projects I’ve written about in my books and the Twelve Months of Paper calendar, but they are a bit more in-depth and elaborate, featuring skill building as well as creative ideas.

What kind of experience is required?
This class is for all levels but expect some challenges. I have taught all of these projects to beginners and experienced artists with success. You should definitely be comfortable using an x-acto knife.

If I’ve taken a class with you, will this be redundant? 
I haven’t taught several of these projects in many years, and I rarely teach more than two of these in one workshop. Most likely there will only be one repetitive project,  but featuring a new paper of course! In addition, I’ll show variations for each project.

What if I miss a lesson? 
Not to worry! The lessons are independent and can be done in any order, so if you miss one during the class, you can just skip ahead. All of the lessons will be available to you through the August 2018.

Try me! Here’s a link to one of my on-line how-to guides, a Stitched Paper Pouch that you can download to familiarize yourself with my teaching style. Please note that the on-line class will be different, in that it will also include instructional videos.

Cancellation/Refund Policy: Register by August 15, 2017 and receive early bird pricing of $175 (price goes up to $195 on 8/15/17). You will receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee for cancellations prior to the start date (September 20th). No refunds after class begins.