At a glance, construction paper might not seem like the most versatile item in a happy home, but you might be surprised by how many different things you can do with it. Instead of buying expensive light fixtures to create atmosphere in a room, you can use construction paper to make colorful DIY lanterns. Once you’re finished brightening up your space, grab a pair of scissors and use it to create a kaleidoscopic menagerie of paper pets. After you’ve set up your miniature animal kingdom, you can further spruce up the space by using the leftover paper for assorted floral decorations. Keep reading to find out how to indulge your family’s creative streak.

This is 20 percent thicker than the standard, and its vibrant hues won’t lose their luster. Neenah

If you live with children, you might not want to invest in pricey, breakable lamps. Using colored construction paper over LED lights, the kids can help create DIY lanterns that look expensive and won’t hit the ground in tiny pieces. Design possibilities run the gamut from simple and minimalist to intricate and ornate, but either way, if you want your lanterns to look gorgeous longer than one season, get light-stable, fade resistant, acid-free or lignin-free paper to prevent loss of color.

500 pieces for 500 bright ideas. Pacon

Break out the scissors and glue to make life-like animals and then build a colorful home for them using stacks of paper cubes. Thick but not ultra-heavy-duty sheets that fold easily, cut cleanly and tear without strain yield superior results. Flimsier sheets that are slightly thicker than the ones you’d use in a printer are best for creating a garland of paper chain animals, snowflakes or dolls.

Each sheet is 18” X 12” and all are bound together into a pad for easy use. Crayola

Quilling uses twisting, rolling and glueing to turn construction paper into cool flower-like designs. If your children aren’t into quilling, they can use colored sheets to create floral arrangements that will never wilt and die. For sunflowers, they should trace their hand on paper seven or eight times, cut out the images and glue them around a paper plate with the center painted black. They can use brown tissue paper for the seeds and green paper for the stems. Voila! Instant sunshine!