Here is a list of places to find lantern making materials and ideas. Take a look at some of the world's great lantern parades!
Great Lantern Parades
Lantern Supplies & Ideas
www.paperlanternstore.com is a great place to shop for a simple base lantern. Trick those out with colored tissue paper, drawings, streamers, cup cake papers, glitter, string, whatever is in your craft drawer! Get a bunch of them and be an ensemble caterpillar! Keep in mind they take a week to ship.
You can find paper lanterns at Richard's Variety Store in Mid-town Atlanta, Ikea, Ace Hardware on Highland Avenue, and Michaels at North Lake.
3-LED tap lights illuminate the volume of a 20" globe lantern nicely. Use clear packing tape to attach them. They typically can be found at Ace Hardware, WalMart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Dollar Tree, and CVS. Battery-Op string lights and others are all over the internet and prices vary wildly. You can usually find those at Michael's and often at Big Lots.
It is wonderful fun to build with flexible sticks and masking tape. I am using the flat bamboo of disassembled window blinds and willow. Sourcing the willow is a thing. Great Sticks & Tape Tutorial
Tip: If you build with sticks and tape, you can put plastic wrap all around your form and then you can glue (60/40 white glue & H2O) regular tissue paper to it. Or use long fiber fancy paper, wet strength tissue, or butcher paper.
There's a lot of DIY lantern references online. Tiny lanterns vanish in a parade scape. Go big! If you want to go really big, consider the parade puppet building tips at The Puppeteer's Cooperative and add lights!
Candles: Candles are lovely. I want to do a candle lit lantern parade! There is just so much ambiant light in our city that candles seem to vanish, and LEDs have greater dance-ability.
Get some more ideas from the Lantern Workshop Gallery!
No Flying Lanterns! They are beautiful but they set fires. One set a 6 million dollar 3-day long fire at a recycling plant in Smethwick, UK. A tear in the paper will cause them to list, catch fire, and not gain altitude. That is why their nick name is flaming litter. The fire fighters of the world are trying to ban flying lanterns.