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iconIn Taiwan, the number of professional lantern makers is decreasing, but with the advancement of technology, the types, materials, and production techniques of lanterns has gradually increased. Generally, the basic materials for traditional lanterns are the following: makino bamboo, silk cloth, cotton paper, PVC, and paints.
icon Makino bamboo: also known as spotted bamboo, May bamboo, and wheat bamboo; this name comes from the fact that it has the same growing season as wheat. Ancient books also refer to makino bamboo as ˇ§precious bamboo.ˇ¨ It can grow to 18m tall, 18cm wide, with sections of 40cm long.

Makino bamboo is widely grown in various places, and is a type of scattered bamboo that is grown in the flow region of the Yellow River, to the provinces south of the Yangtze River, as well as in areas with altitudes between 100 and 1500 meters in central and northern Taiwan. Among these places, Nantou, Hualien, and Jiayi are main areas of its cultivation. Makino bamboo grows quickly and there is high production volume, and is hard and flexible, with good tensile ability. It is a material that is suitable for the construction of scaffolds, or in weaving bamboo lanterns.

Makino bamboo: one of the most prevalent bamboos in Taiwan. It is tough and flexible, suitable for construction frames, bamboo-woven lanterns, and other items.

Bamboo strips: Cut the makino bamboo into strips, or ˇ§bamboo strips.ˇ¨ Punch holes in the top and bottom ends of the bamboo strips and string them with wire.

Bamboo base: at the makino bamboo nodes, carve troughs, fix them with thick wires to serve as the top and bottom of bamboo lanterns.

iconSilk cloth: better flexibility, good level of water absorption, but it is less good at resisting wrinkles. It colors well and has a good sheen, with water absorption rates of 11~12%. However, it has poor light resistance, and would turn yellow if exposed to strong light. The types are real silk, artificial silk, synthetic fiber silk, and cross-weave silk. When making lanterns, materials are based on needs at the time. One would use real silk for a gentle sheen with good translucence and flexibility; one would use artificial silk for bright colors. Synthetic silk and cross-weave silk are less often used in making lanterns.

iconCotton paper: cotton paper is firm and bright white, and has high tensile strength. It is flexible, not prone to color loss, can endure use, is corrosion-resistant and insect-resistant, making it a relatively permanent material. Thus, cotton paper is a good material to make traditional lanterns.

iconPVC (Polyvinylchloride): Lanterns made with PVC are primarily for commercial use. PVC is water-resistant, wind-resistant, and cheap, so commercial lanterns are generally made with this material. However, since it is difficult to recycle PVC, and because it may produce dioxin after burning, leading to environmental pollution, Taiwan currently lists PVC as a material that should be recycled. 

iconColoring: since lanterns tend to be three-dimensional with irregular shapes, it is difficult to concretely express the desired images and colors. Therefore, coloring lanterns is a difficult part in its production. Before coloring, one has to compose the three-dimensional draft, and design the images based on the curved covers of lanterns, and finally filling in colors on the images. Generally, paints differ according to the material of lanterns. For instance, cotton paper lanterns are generally colored with advertising paints or water colors, silk cloth lanterns are colored with advertising paints, because these raw material prices are cheaper and they are translucent, so that light can shine through after coloring is complete. PVC lanterns generally use oil paint and acrylic paint, but because these two paints are not translucent, light would not shine through, so these are generally used in commercial or outdoor lanterns. Colors of the paints are generally yellow, red, blue, green, black, and white.

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