Friday, June 10, 2011

DIY: Owl Lantern


As promised, I am back with the DIY tutorial for the owl lanterns by Kat. She made this step by step tutorial with images specially for My Owl Barn readers. So please leave your comments letting us know what do you think and if you have an occasion in mind when you can see yourself making these little guys. May be, for birthday parties, weddings, etc.?

The following pictures and tutorial is by Kat.

Hi everyone, I had owl lanterns made for my wedding in March. Each owl was handcrafted using wire and beads. There are many wire crafters in South Africa, and we contacted one to have 15 or so owls made. Later my mom and I covered the owls in newsprint. They were made into lanterns that were used during my wedding weekend, held over 3 days at the Mvubu Lodge in South Africa. Each owl was gifted to a person or couple at the wedding, and they make such lovely decorations, lit or unlit. They were all quite large, between 30 and 40 cm tall.


I have created this DIY, to show how you can make your own little owls.

You will need:
* 2 types of metal wire. 1 thin and flexible, the other thicker and also flexible.
* 1 pair of pliers.
* small beads of your choosing. Make sure they can be threaded onto the thin wire.
* wallpaper glue
* newsprint or tissue paper


Start by forming the outline shape of the owl, and joining the two ends of the wire by twisting a length of thin wire around both, securing them together.


Attach a wire circle to the owl form, creating a 3 dimensional body and head. The number depends on the height of your owl. For mine, which was small, I created three. Secure each ring to the owl frame with the thin bendy wire. Create “supports” by linking up the circles with other pieces of wire that run vertically, from the head down. You can create as many circles and supports as you like, the more you have, the more sturdy your owl will be. You can see in the larger owls made for my wedding that the body form had more wire structuring. Create the eyes by spiralling the ends of a length of wire and attaching it across the front of the owl’s face.


To make the beak, bend some wire into a “v” shape, leaving a small length on each side. Thread the beads onto another length of thin wire, and weave it across the “v”. Attach the beak to the 1st circle of wire on the owl that forms its “neck”.



Now that you have completed your wire owl frame (don’t forget to make a tail out of one of the wire supports!) you can begin to cover it in paper. Prepare your wallpaper glue by following the instructions on the packaging.



Once you have the wallpaper glue ready, you can dip your paper in, soaking it, use your finger to scrape off excess glue and layer it over the owl frame.


Completely cover the owl, only leaving the eyes and beak exposed. Leave the owl to dry somewhere in the sun, or in a dry place. It may take a few hours, depending on how much paper you layered on, or how large your owl is.

Feel free to experiment, by adding on wings, and different shaped beaks. The owls were a big hit at the wedding, and they worked well as design elements during the night and day!

Thank you, Kat! I hope you guys enjoyed the tutorial. I see you on Monday. Have a great weekend!

9 comments :

pangaloon said...

Wow, I love the tutorial. I want to get on and make it RIGHT NOW, alas, I will have to go and buy myself some wire. A really good quality tutorial, thank you x

Helen Priem said...

Thank you Kat, this is something I have to try, it looks challenging but the result is fantastic!

Georgia said...

Congratulation! is beautiful !!

Lori-Lee Thomas said...

I love love love this! Gotta get me some wallpaper glue like, yesterday! :-D

Anonymous said...

These owl lanterns are fantastic! Thank you Kat and belated congratulations on your lovely wedding!!

If I may ask a question though, what did you use as a light source - is it a (tea)candle or an electric light? I'd really like to make and use the owl as an ambiet lamp, but am anxious to put a candle in it!

katcameronillustration said...

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all the comments! It is a challenging project but im sure you can all manage it!
Anon:
good questions!
The lanterns used at the wedding were quite large, we put candles stuck into sand, inside glass jars, which worked well. However your comment brings up an important note which I completely forgot until now! We poked holes into the paper of the owls in their eyes, this accomplished two things:
1. it allowed a flow of air into the owl which helped to keep the temperature stable and the owls did not catch fire or go out.
2. it created a great glowing effect in the eyes.

if you are making a small owl i would suggest rigging it with a tiny electric globe, i know for a little extra money you can buy globes that flicker like candles.

This is probably the safest way.

I think tea light candles would work, but i would only leave the lanterns lit if you or someone happens to be around, like at a dinner party or something. I wouldnt leave it unattended!

Hope this helps, im really glad you all enjoyed the tutorial.

Thanks shivani!!

Kimara said...

These are so cute. I'll be linking to them on Wee Folk Art's Facebook page. Must have been an awesome wedding celebration :)

Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks again for this great tutorial! I thought I'd show you how my owl turned out, so here's a link. Also, I made a hedgehog.

http://tinyurl.com/q6qutlo

My Owl Barn said...

Hi Tervel, The owl and the hedgehog lamps look super cute! Great job :)