Ducks 'n a Row: DIY Lantern

27 October 2013

DIY Lantern

Guest Post by Krista from While He Was Napping

Do you love easy and frugal decorating ideas?  Well then, here is a post for you.  I keep seeing those gorgeous old-timey lanterns in catalogs and on websites like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel.  I am so in love…. until the price tag catches my eye.  Move that puppy to the “I wish in a million years” list. 
This simple design is $40 from Crate & Barrel.  FORTY BUCKS!  That’s almost a month’s worth of diapers in this household.  Not a splurge I can justify or even bring myself to contemplate. 
This baby is $80.  Are your eyes popping out of your head yet?  My jaw fell promptly to the floor when I saw that price tag.  These pieces are gorgeous, but no where near my budget.  So, I set out to make my own.

DIY vintage lanterns

This is my DIY version.  Cost me nothing, as I had everything on-hand already.  Much more manageable.

Here’s the How:

1)  I took four 5x7” picture frames (from the Dollar Tree) that I already had, removed the glass and spray painted the frames black.  Give ‘em a good two or three coats.  You can also do a clear sealant over them, but I didn’t and have had no problems with scratches.  My paint was a matte finish, it’s what I prefer.  A glossy finish may give it a little “newer” look, if that’s the look you like.  Make sure you paint both sides of the frames.  Clean the glass while it’s out of the frames.

2)  After your frames are thoroughly dry, put the glass back in and wipe off any fingerprints.  Then, glue them together along the edges to form a cube, except the top and bottom are open.  I use LocTite glue.  E6000 and Gorilla Glue are other glues you could consider.  I did a thin strip of glue all the way down the edge of the frame.  Brace them while they dry.  Let them dry really well (like over-night, at least).

3)  I liked the lantern just like that.  But, I also liked the lantern from Crate & Barrel.  Yeah, the one with the $80 price tag.  So, I decided to take some vinyl and decorate the glass.  Vinyl is typically pretty easy to remove, so if I didn’t like it, I could take it back off.  I like it…

4)  I wanted to leave the top open so I could use a real candle in it without the worry of scorching anything.  I also decided to leave the bottom open for now.  If you want to close the bottom off you could use something as simple as a piece of cardboard painted black and glued to the base.  Or you could get a piece of plywood and cut it to the dimensions of your lantern, paint it to match and glue it to the base.  You could also consider putting a wire handle on it too.    


A couple of weeks ago I found this idea on Remodelaholic.  Kari from The Sunset Lane did a similar project, but she made a chandelier with it.  It’s too cool.  Check it out.

Krista While He Was Napping 
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Thanks so much, Krista! What a great project!

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