Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Fire Wrapped in Paper: Make Your Own Paper Lantern

In the story called “The Girl Who Used Her Wits” (also known as “The Clever Daughter-in-Law”), two sisters are tasked to find fire wrapped in paper and are stumped. Luckily, on their journey to visit their mother, they meet a clever girl who solved the riddle and gave them fire wrapped in paper – a lantern!

Like the clever girl, create your own paper lantern and retell the Chinese folktale to your friends.


  • Two blank pieces of 8 ½-by-11-inch paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Cardboard box
  • Color markers
  • Glue or tape
  • Flashlight or flameless candle


  1. Fold one piece of paper in half lengthwise. Unfold.
  2. Along the folded line, cut the paper in half.
  3. Glue the two halves together to create one long strip of paper.
  4. Fold the paper into four equal parts; these will be the four sides of your lantern.
  5. Decorate each square with scenes or objects from the story.
  6. Cut four pieces of cardboard. The width should be about half an inch, and the length should be the height of the folded paper.
  7. Glue three of the cardboard pieces along the folds of the paper.
  8. Glue the fourth cardboard piece at one end of the paper.
  9. Fold the paper over the fourth cardboard piece at the end. Unfold. This fold will overlap the other end of the paper strip.
  10. Glue the ends of the paper together to create a cube.
  11. Trace the top of the cube on the other piece of paper and cut along your tracing. This will be the top of your lantern.
  12. Attach the top of the lantern to the cube.
  13. Place a flashlight or flameless candle under your paper lantern to simulate a fire.
  14. Now, retell the story with your new prop!