May 21, 2019

Modern Art Paper Sculpture Lanterns

The exterior of The Broad museum has become one of the most distinctive architectural features — and selfie backgrounds — in downtown Los Angeles. Dubbed the “veil,” the honeycomb façade seemingly slides over the main structure of the museum, allowing light to filter into the exhibit spaces.

Inspired by The Broad’s exoskeleton, here is a project for DIY paper sleeves that slide over glass vases to create lanterns. Cuts are made in the paper and folded back, creating a modern sculptural form that pays tribute to the museum’s appearance. 

And, as with The Broad, the openings let the light shine through — as well as your creativity.

What you’ll need:

Colored paper or cardstock
Cylindrical clear vase or glass
Hobby knife
Cutting mat
Double-sided tape
Battery-operated candle

1. Cut a piece of paper or cardstock to fit around the vase, overlapping at the ends by about one-half inch. Although I used colored paper, white also looks striking and even mirrors The Broad façade. 

2. With a hobby knife (like an X-Acto knife), cut “u” or “v” shapes into the paper. Make the cuts over a self-healing cutting mat so you don’t damage your work surface. Don’t worry about all the cuts being the same size or perfectly lined up. And please be careful with the knife.

3. Now for the fun part. Bend the paper at each of the cuts to reveal the openings.

4. Wrap the paper around the vase, securing it with double-sided tape at the ends. Place a battery-operated candle in the vase. For this lantern project, I prefer not using real candles since there is paper so close to the flame.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at