I have been meaning to share this paper lantern jellyfish tutorial for a while now, so thank you to those of you who have been patient with me!
Two years ago I put together a pretty Under the Sea party for my daughter’s birthday, and I have gotten a lot of great feedback from the party, as well as lots and lots of visitors to my blog. I have received countless emails and comments asking how these paper lantern jellyfish were made, so I wanted to put a tutorial together for those of you who have been wondering how I made them.
It may look like there is lots of sewing involved in the long strands coming from the jellyfish body, but I promise you, no sewing machine is needed to make these. Woo hoo!! You’ll actually be amazed at how simple these really are to make.
These paper lantern jellyfish are just perfect for an under the sea, ocean, or nautical party, baby shower, etc. They’re even great just to make with your kids for fun! We’re going beach camping this summer, and I think I’ll let the kids make some of these for a fun craft. I bet the long tentacles will look amazing blowing through the wind like long kite strings.
Paper Lantern Jellyfish
- Paper lanterns (any size and color you would like- jellyfish are usually clear/white so I used white lanterns)- I bought mine from Consumer Crafts because they are very inexpensive and look great!
- CLEAR rectangular plastic tablecloth (I found mine at Party City)
- Tape, glue, or paper clips
Step 1. Cut a few long plastic strips a couple of inches wide out of the clear tablecloth. You can decide how long you want each strip now, or you can wait until after the next step. Either way works! Don’t worry about cutting each strip perfectly. These jellyfish are very forgiving!
Step 2. Starting at one end of a cut plastic strip, place both thumbs in the middle of the strip, one on top of the other (Use both thumbs, not like in my photo- it’s really hard to take a photo with both thumbs in it). Slightly pull your thumbs away from the center of the strip, slightly stretching the plastic. Doing this will cause the plastic to ruffle, which is exactly what will give the tentacles that ruffled, natural look.
Be careful to not pull too hard, because the plastic will rip. If it rips, though, it’s not really a big deal. Just cut that piece off, and keep going!
You’ll get the hang of it quickly, and in just a few minutes, you’ll have long strands of jellyfish tentacles ready to go. I’m not sure if it was my imagination or not, but it seems like I got better ruffles when the textured side of the plastic was facing down.
Step 3. If you haven’t already, cut each strand to the length that you would like the tentacles to be. Open your paper lanterns, but don’t put the wire piece inside. I’ve seen some people cut their paper lanterns to make these, but I think they look great without being cut- they naturally open part way, which looks like what a real jellyfish’s body looks like.
You could use anything to adhere the tentacles inside the bottom of the paper lantern jellyfish body, but I wanted to be able to use the paper lanterns again so I didn’t want to damage them. I just used paper clips to clip them inside the bottom, and you couldn’t see them at all. Staples, tape, or a strong glue would also work.
So there you have it! Impressive paper lantern jellyfish that are perfect for your next party or kids craft! Everyone at the party was asking me how I made the tentacles- they all thought I sewed the pieces together. Now you know the secret of how EASY these are to make!
Here are some more fun under the sea and ocean party ideas that you’ll love-
Thanks for reading!