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Make an Anzac Day Lantern | Anzac Day Craft

This ANZAC Day you can help light up the dawn in remembrance with an easy at-home ANZAC Day lantern. RSL branches across the country are asking Australian families to take part in an ANZAC Day dawn service at 6 am on April 25th by walking to the end of their driveways, going out on balconies, or even staying in their own living room and lighting a candle in honour of our ANZACs.

Follow our easy step-by-step guide to creating a beautiful ANZAC Day lantern, and remember to save the cap as next week you can further recycle your lantern into a wild bird feeder – see below!

How to make your ANZAC Day lantern

Step 1

ANZAC Day Lantern step 1

Gather together what you will need. You will need:

  • A clean 2l or 3l plastic milk carton
  • Craft knife or sharp scissors
  • Coloured pens (permanent ink) or paints

Step 2

ANZAC Day lantern step 2

This step will need to be done by an adult.

Carefully cut a rectangle window into one side of the carton using the craft knife or sharp scissors. Leave enough depth at the bottom to add fire-retardant sand or soil later.

Step 3

Decorating your lantern

Draw and colour-in your ANZAC Day design. My daughter chose a field poppy design, or – depending on your skill level – you can create a silhouette of a soldier, write an ANZAC Day poem, or draw a poppy wreath. You can find lots of inspiration on Google. See how we didn’t plan very well and ended up with the use-by date on our design side? We covered that our own representation of a sprig of rosemary!

Step 4

Lighting your lantern

Insert 1 or 2 tea lights or candles in through the hole at the back of your lantern. The battery powered lights are great for safety if you have them. It is best practice to add a deep layer of sand or soil in the bottom of your lantern to embed the candles in; this adds stability and is a great fire-retardent. (This was a test photo – we will definitely have sand in there on ANZAC Day morning!)

Step 5

ANZAC Day Lantern step 5

Your ANZAC Day lantern is ready for your “Driveways at Dawn” service! PLEASE NOTE: If using real flame candles, the carton can become quite hot to touch. If holding the lantern, we recommend wearing gloves, but these lanterns look great on the ground lining your driveway!

ANZAC Day lantern inspiration

Our ANZAC Day lantern inspiration came from an original post by Tricia Preston on the Aussies & Kiwis for ANZACs Facebook page. We chose to keep the majority of our carton intact, including handle and bottle cap, to turn into a wild bird feeder after ANZAC Day. Keep scrolling down to find out how!

More ANZAC Day resources

You can find more ANZAC Day craft ideas and educational resources for kids under our ANZAC Day tab. Try these ANZAC Day favourites:

We also have ANZAC Day poems and songs, games to play on ANZAC Day, and a guide to explaining ANZAC Day to young children.

~ Lest We Forget ~

Converting your lantern into a wild bird feeder

Our lantern looked lovely lighting up the dawn on ANZAC Day but now it’s time to convert it into something the birds will love! Here’s how to turn your milk-carton lantern into a wild bird feeder.

Step 1

milk carton bird feeder step 1

Gather what you need. You will need:

  • Your lantern
  • An awl or small screwdriver
  • A craft knife or sharp scissors
  • A length of dowel or garden cane (optional)

Step 2

wild bird feeder step 2

This step will need to be done by an adult.

Using the awl, create some drainage holes in the bottom of the lantern. Make sure you add holes to each corner too where water could pool. Then, with the craft knife or scissors, carefully cut a new ‘window’ on the opposite side of the existing window – we don’t want any birds getting trapped inside!

Don’t worry about losing your original decoration – simply add more!

Step 3

milk carton bird feeder 3

This step will need to be done by an adult.

Using the craft knife, cut an X beneath one of the windows, big enough to push your dowel or cane ‘perch’ through. Repeat on the opposite side. Push the perch through completely from one side of the carton to the other to create a nice sturdy place for your birds to land.

Step 4

bird feeder step 4

Add your wild bird seed and your feeder is ready to be hung outside!

Step 5

The milk carton handle is ideal for securing your new wild bird feeder to a tree branch or fence post. We were lucky to have the perfect small branch to slide our carton straight onto, otherwise I would use rope or a bungy cord to secure our feeder to a tree trunk or post. Make sure it’s out of the reach of your pets so your wild bird visitors can dine in comfort, and attached tightly enough to not blow around in a breeze.

Now you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful array of wild birds visiting your garden.

Photo of author

Joanne Crane

Joanne loves speaking directly to people of all ages through the medium of writing, sharing tips and knowledge for families and kids to help everyone get the most out of life. Her focus is on the development of resilience, confidence and independence in children, and on helping families engage and create lasting memories. Self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth are vital skills that Joanne believes children need to learn early to help them grow as adults.

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