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Party lanterns for a festive Fourth.

These columns of color and light combine images of a festive Fourth with the translucence of Japanese shoji screens. Using embroidery hoops as rims for sturdy fiberglass sheets, you can make several lanterns quickly and inexpensively. For illumination, set a cylinder over an existing garden light fixture or suspend it around a hanging fixture (detach lampshielding shades for brightest effect; fiberglass doesn't burn). Or, for freedom of placement, construct a plywood base fitted with an electrical socket and bulb; see page 87 for directions and safe use. To find the fiberglass shoji-screen material, look in the yellow pages under Plastics-Fabricating, Plastics-Products, or Screens Decorative; dealers usually sell one sturdy weight. Japanese hardware stores sell many weights; buy the heaviest. Each lantern with the circumference of a 12-inch embroidery hoop requires a sheet measuring 39 inches (trimmed from its 48-inch dimension) by your chosen height. You'll need to buy 1 yard for a 3foot-tall lantern, 1 2/3 yards for a 5-foot lantern (the tallest we made), and so on. The fiberglass averages $8 to $9 a yard. Other materials cost less than $20, but some, such as markers and glue, can be used for more than one lantern. You'll also need jumbo-size permanent felt markers (one will color about two lanterns), two 12-inch embroidery hoops, 5-minute-drying epoxy, 20 spring clothespins, scissors, and rubber gloves fiberglass can irritate your skin). Buy rust-resistant size 10 eye screws; screw three into the bottom rim (and plywood base, if used; see page 87). To anchor a lantern to the ground, use tent pegs as shown above. On freestanding lanterns like those in a wind-protected patio at right, wire pairs of eye screws together to hold a lantern to its base.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1991
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