How To Make Jellyfish Lanterns

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Knowing how to make Jellyfish Lanterns will make a big impact on your decor for a Mermaid or Under the Sea themed birthday party!

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Just a few of these Jellyfish Lanterns will make a big impact on your party decorating. They are perfect for any water, sea, or mermaid themed event. You can even fold them flat for easy storage and save them for another time.

For my daughter’s 9th birthday, we threw an Under the Sea themed party. Everyone who walked through our door commented on these Jellyfish Lanterns. Since then many people have asked me how to make them, so here’s the step-by step tutorial.

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Things you’ll need

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How to Make Jellyfish Lanterns

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Remove the plastic tablecloth from the bag. Don’t unfold the whole thing. It will be too big and awkward to work with.
Only unfold one section, then cut off a strip as pictured above.

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

When you unfold that strip it is really long!

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Here’s the trick to getting that ruffled look. Grasp the strip with both hands. Place your thumbs close together and give it a little stretch right in the center. Don’t pull too hard or you’ll put a hole in it. You can stretch it a little or a lot. Experiment and see which look you like best.

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Keep moving down the strip of plastic repeating that center stretch. See how it starts to ruffle? Create several ruffled plastic strips, varying the lengths for best results. Cut crepe streamers, ribbon and curling ribbon in varying lengths as well.

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Working from the bottom of the paper lantern, remove the paper from 3 horizontal rows of the lantern. Leave some vertical strips in tact so your lantern doesn’t fall apart. Tie the ruffled plastic strips, ribbon, crepe streamers and curling ribbon around the bottom of the paper lantern.

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Cut a wider strip of plastic to use as a skirt around the bottom of the paper lantern. This will hide all the knots used to tie on the streamers. Glue the top edge of the ruffled plastic strip around the bottom of the paper lantern just high enough to hide all your knots.

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

Here’s what it looks like from the bottom when it’s all done.
I pulled the skirt up a little so you can see in there.

How to make Jellyfish Lanterns.

And here’s the finished Jellyfish Lantern hanging up! Aren’t they so pretty?

You don’t need a lot of these to make a big impact. We made a total of 9 using a few inside and outside our home. Here are a few more pics from our Under the Sea party.


We put a couple out by the pool. Look how the sunlight brightens them up!


Another view of the Jellyfish Lanterns outside.


Here are all nine of them on my kitchen counter. We mixed and matched the streamers making each one a little different.


Three Jellyfish Lanterns hanging in the foyer.


And a couple in the living room dangling from the ceiling fan.

Even though they’re only made of paper and plastic, these Jellyfish Lanterns have been quite durable. I used them a few months later for a Baby Whale themed baby shower, and they still look great! This summer I will donate them our church to be used as part of our VBS decorations. This year’s theme is “Submerged,” so they will be perfect!

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How to make Jellyfish Lanterns. Step-by-step tutorial with pics.


  1. These are sooo adorable! I’m going to make them for my daughter’s mermaid party this weekend. One question, how do you hang them from the ceiling? Do you already have hooks?

    1. Hi, Bonnie!
      The paper lanterns come collapsed flat in a package. Included is a metal wire frame you insert inside them to keep them opened and round. There is a hook on that metal frame insert that sticks out the top of the lantern just a little bit. I tied fishing line to that and suspended them from our ceiling fans and light fixtures.
      I used 3 different sizes and made about 9 of them. They are easy to make and just a few is all it takes to make a big impact. I hope your daughter loves them!!!

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