I started by cutting my 36 inch balsa wood strips into 3 pieces, 12 inches each. Balsa is really easy to cut and is slightly flexible, so I just used an X-acto knife.
I cut about 25 strips as an estimation of how many I would need. For the base of the lantern, I used a terra cotta planter base. These come in all different sizes, but the one that I used had about a 26 inch circumference.