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That information and other handy tips are at the core of the annual lantern-making workshops soon to get under way in preparation for the 2014 Mid Winter Carnival.
Chief lantern tutor Phillipa Crofskey said they had three designs for people to choose from this year - ghosts, clouds and teddy bears.
The ghosts were the easiest to construct but you still had to get the basics right to avoid panicking hundreds of other paper-lantern-carriers who came to the festival.
''I do safety tests on everything, light them [the candle inside] and make sure everything is far enough from the candle.''
More than 400 lanterns were made and carried by the public last year and the workshops leading up to the June 21 carnival this year had been expanded to cater for demand.
Ms Crofskey said the workshops were quickly booked out last year and they were an important part of ensuring a lot of people took part in the procession.
This year's carnival theme is A Winter Dreamland. Members of the public are invited to make a lantern and join the carnival procession.
Two lantern artists were also creating something ''quite different'', with some huge shapes starting to emerge in the lantern-making warehouse, Ms Crofskey said.
Workshops will be held in South Dunedin, Northeast Valley and the central city on the three weekends before the carnival, which will take place on June 21.
To take part in the workshops go to www.midwintercarnival.co.nz.