Dodecahedron Star Lantern Tutorial

A Dodecahedron is a fancy name for a 3-D pentagon and they happen to make one beautiful lantern. 

  • Watercolor paper. Our paper was 90 lb in weight and is sized 9 1/2" X 12 1/2" 
  • Water color paint of your choice
  • Paintbrush
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or pen


Paint TWO sheets of watercolor paper (whatever color you would like your lantern to be) and allow to dry (ours took about 15 minutes but we did not use the wet-on-wet technique we simply painted onto dry paper). I painted mine orange on the bottom and yellow at the top and blended in between. I really liked this effect when it was finished, but do whatever makes you happy.    

Create a pentagon template. Our pentagram was 4" from the highest point to the bottom. Exact size doesn't matter as long as each pentagram is the same size. 

Now trace your 4" pentagram that you just cut out, and cut a second pentagram. On this second pentagram you will mark the midpoints of each side and using a straight edge, draw a smaller pentagon inside. Now cut the smaller pentagon out. This becomes your small pentagram template. Reserve this for Step 5.

Using your LARGE pentagon template, trace 11 pentagons on the back of your watercolor paper. Cut the 11 pentagons out.


Trace a smaller pentagon inside the 11 pentagons you just cut out, by using your SMALL pentagram template. The points of your smaller pentagons should be at the midpoint of each edge as shown above. These will be the folding lines to make your stars (see below).

Fold along the edges and your pentagons should look like this. 
See the stars? It's starting to shape up! 


To attach the pentagons, line up the edge of each pentagram with the other and attach by gluing one triangle edge to the other pentagon. One triangle will be inside, one will be outside. There is no right or wrong on this. It is easiest to work from the bottom up. We laid one pentagram down as our bottom piece and worked up from there. If you don't have patience to wait for the glue to try, you can paper clip the tabs down. Keep building until finished.  You can see from mine; some tabs are inside, some are outside. 

Once the glue is dry paint the outside with oil. Be generous with the oil, you want the paper to soak it up so that it becomes transparent.

Once you get that down you can make a moon and stars one by cutting out a moon shape with an exacto knife. By using step three above create a smaller pentagon with yellow watercolor and glue that inside your blue pentagon. This is really cool because when lit it has both moons and stars! 


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