You’ve found the ideal venue. You’ve decided on your color scheme. Now for the fun part:
Lanterns are essential – for the festive atmosphere they create, and the soft light that emanates from them. But how to light paper lanterns? That is the question.
Well, here are some answers. There are two main methods for lighting paper lanterns: paper lantern cord kits, and LED lights. We’ll take one lighting method at a time.
How to Light Paper Lanterns – Method #1: The Cord Set
Although less expensive than LED lights, using a cord to light your paper lanterns limits what you can do with them. You have to decide in advance how far apart the lanterns will be placed. Our cords come in different lengths with different spacings. The bigger the lanterns, the farther apart they need to be spaced.
Another limitation you will run into with lighting paper lanterns with a cord is that you must have access to an electric outlet. That’s pretty obvious, but it’s something that many forget when caught up in the excitement of the event, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of details to remember! So remember, when you’re in a tent in the middle of a field, there’s nowhere to plug in a cord! Also, if you have a large area to decorate, you will need multiple outlets. Check for cords that plug into each other, like strings of Christmas lights, so you will need fewer outlets.
Use lanterns up to 20 inches in diameter with 24 or 36 inch spacing on the cords. With 18 inch spacing use a lantern 16 inches or less in diameter.
The best bulbs are the C7 or C9 bulbs that come in torpedo (night light) and round (vanity) shapes. Use the C7 size with 16 inch lanterns, and C9 for any size larger than that.
As a general rule, do not plug more than 100 consecutive feet together.
How to Light Paper Lanterns – Method #2: Battery-Operated LED Lights
Using battery-powered LEDs will give you much more flexibility than cords. Paper lanterns can be suspended at varying heights with no limitations. They can be spaced apart at varying intervals. Since they last more than 15 hours, you can switch them on and hang the lanterns well in advance of the event. They come in 3 colors: Clear, Blue, and Red. They are also available with 1, 2, or 3 bulbs in the lighting unit.
The 3-bulb LED illuminates all of our lanterns up to 36 inches in diameter. When using LED lights with 24-inch-plus lanterns we recommend 2 or more lights per lantern for a brighter light. For 30 to 36 inch lanterns we recommend using 4 to 6 LEDs per lantern. If you’re decorating a dance floor with lanterns, get the flickering version of the 3-bulb LED!
How to Light Paper Lanterns – Alternative #1: String Light Paper Lanterns
String Light Paper Lanterns are small lanterns that are already attached to a cord. There is a small light bulb in each lantern. You do not need to purchase any bulbs to light theses lanterns – just plug them in and start the party!
How to Light Paper Lanterns – Alternative #2: Don’t light them at all!
From a writer on Yahoo Answers:
We used about 30 paper lanterns in lavender and white at our wedding. We had an evening wedding and did not light them. They hung in various lengths from the ceiling…we had candles in tall vases on the tables and some white Christmas lights around the bar and cake, and the overhead lights dimmed. The candle light illuminated the lanterns just fine without having to buy the cords and figuring out how to hang them and conceal the light cord.