Our DIY lanterns are incredibly quick to make and can save you loads of money by making your own instead of paying much more at the store. This DIY lantern decor tutorial will show you step-by-step how to make your own! Read on to learn how to make your own custom lantern to add to your home decor.
Wooden lanterns are very popular right now, but there seems to be a lack of DIY lantern tutorials out there. No worries – I had the plans all in my head after scouring photo after photo of beautiful farmhouse decor on Pinterest.
DIY Lantern Materials
If you’re like me you have a huge pile of scrap wood you can use to make these, without spending an extra dime. The 1/2″ x 1/2″ pieces are actually parts from our cribs that we ripped down on the table saw so I could repurpose them into these DIY Lanterns! These were completely constructed from the scrap pile. I love frugal DIY projects like this!
Materials for each lantern:
- 2 square pieces of the same dimension
- 1 smaller square
- 4 lengths of 1/2″ x 1/2″ of the same length
- 4 lengths of 1/2″ x1/2″ of the same length
- 3 pieces of scrap wood for the tops
- 3 pieces of rebar tie wire (because that is what I had on hand)
I made 3 lanterns of different sizes.
- Tallest lantern measures- 16 inches
- Medium lantern measure – 14 inches
- Shortest lantern measures – 12 inches
My dimensions for the square pieces remained the same for all three of my DIY lanterns as well as the short pieces of 1/2″ x 1/2″. They were as follows:
- 6 larger squares – 7″ x 7″
- 3 smaller squares – 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″
- 12 1/2″ x1/2″ – 5 1/4″
- 3 top pieces- 2″ x 2″
The 1×1’s for the DIY lanterns heights were as follows:
- tallest lantern 1/2″ x 1/2″ lengths – 13 1/4″
- medium lantern 1/2″ x 1/2″ lengths – 11 1/4″
- shortest lantern 1/2″ x 1/2″ lengths – 9 1/4″
Tools used for building the DIY Lanterns
For this project, I used a variety of tools however you can use whatever you have with a few modifications to your technique.
How to make your DIY Lanterns
Cut out all the wood pieces
First of all, you need to get all of your wood to the proper size. If you plan to have lanterns the same size as mine, use the measurements above. If you are changing sizes, adjust measurements accordingly.
We ran all the square pieces through the table saw to add a bit of detail. Simply adjust the blade to cut on an angle and trim all four sides. If you are not well experienced with a table saw, I would suggest asking for assistance as small pieces are more difficult to handle. You could also use a router if you like.
Once all of your pieces are cut, just give them a quick sanding.
Assemble the Lanterns
Starting from the bottom, using your stapler attach one of the longest 1/2″ x 1/2″s to the base. Then attach one short 1/2″ x 1/2″. Then the next long, then next short until you have all four long and all four short in place.
Next, you will attach the top, again using your stapler. I did not find it necessary to add any short 1/2″ x 1/2″ spacers at the top because these are mainly decorative and not needed for structure.
Once the top is secured, add on the second top (which is the smaller square) and secure with the stapler.
I had a little bit of wood leftover from the corbels that I used the router on in our mudroom, so I used that to make my very top pieces. Simply attach yours to the center of the small square top.
Sand away any blemishes on the Lanterns
Now that the lantern is assembled, it is time to give it a good sanding. Some of my pieces were previously sanded from past projects, but I brushed over all of the pieces to be sure there were no splinters.
This also a good time to test fit the faux handles, but no need to attach them yet. (I got a bit ahead of myself and attached the handles at this point. I had to remove the staples so that I could paint, oops.)
Paint the Lanterns
Now is the time to paint the lanterns. Oh my goodness I honestly really had a hard time choosing a paint color, and ultimately decided white would be the best.
I swayed back and forth between white, black and sea mist. Now just thinking about these options of paint colors I want to make a few more sets! I might need to make some mini ones for our Farmhouse Laundry Room.
Spray paint works amazing for getting all those hard to reach corners, nooks and crannies. I prefer to use spray paint over brushing for many reasons:
- I can’t stand brush strokes.
- Spray paint is applied faster.
- It dries quicker.
- It gives amazing results.
I used to be hesitant about spray painting because I had no experience whatsoever, but now it is my favorite method! Here are some of my best tips for all your painting projects!
Be sure to pin it for later!
Attach the Faux Handle to the Lanterns
Once the lanterns are all dry, use a pair of pliers to bend your rebar tie wire into a handle shape. I did not need to twist the ends or anything because that is how rebar tie wire comes, woot woot, bonus!
Simply use your stapler to attach the wire to the very top (2″ x 2″) of your lantern. Now your gorgeous DIY lantern is ready for display. Add some candles and stand back and enjoy. These are simple yet stunning and so quick to make.
Easily make seasonal decor with your DIY Lanterns
Displaying our DIY Lanterns alongside our Farmhouse Christmas wreath was a great way to enhance the holiday cheer. All it took was a simple red bow attached to the top of each lantern and turning on the no flame candles. they look amazing
If you love our DIY Lanterns You are sure to love these DIY Projects:
Checkout our Repurposed Picture Frame Lantern
This picture frame lantern requires just a few supplies and tools and is a great beginner project for the novice crafter. They look amazing in any room with a simple candle or filled with your favorite loose decor.
Cheese Grater Up-Cycle
Let’s just say in my house I’m not exactly trusted with cheese graters because I somehow have an overwhelming talent of breaking them! However, I have found a great way to make use of those old cheese graters and give it some purpose too! Our vase/ towel hanger cheese grater is so simple so go and check it out!