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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

DIY Lantern

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 catalogues 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.


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.


  1. I saw that post too! What a great idea. I love the vinyl on yours!


  2. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [10 Aug 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  3. I love these lanterns, too but find them pricey. This is definitely going on my to do list.
    Love the chandelier idea, too!


  4. I love it, what a Fabulous Thrifty Idea! Off to find some frames to make my own! Thanks

  5. Love this idea. Wouldn't one look nice as a Holiday Centerpiece when it is too cold to be on the deck? Now...I am off to the dollar store. Thanks for giving me an excuse!
    Your blog is inspiring!

  6. You are so creative! I never would have thought of that! I love lanterns too and will not pay much for them either! Wow! I am in awe with this! I have a party going on over at my blog if you want to join! I'd love to have you! Check it out under the "Stache Party" page on my blog: mylilpumpkinpatch.blogspot.com

  7. This is so awesome! I love it!

  8. Love your lantern, especially the price of it :)

    I picked up a couple of lanterns at Ikea for about 7 or 8 dollars each, not bad!

  9. Great project, I'm going to give this one a try soon. I think I have everything I need in the craft room too.

  10. Different size frame lanterns would look great side by side.

  11. This is such a cool idea! I will be featuring it tomorrow at Creations by Kara. :)

  12. This is genius! I just tweeted your post! I think this is awesome!!!

  13. Looks great--and I love your addition of vinyl on it! I've had fun poking around your blog here, and I'm a new follower :)

  14. Great idea to use the frames! Thanks for linking up with DIY under $5!

  15. Wow that is really neat! I would love it if you linked this up on my blog carnival Family Time Tuesday! You are so creative! I need to try this. :)


  16. This is sooooo cool! I love it! I may have to "steal" this idea! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Stephanie @ Ladywiththeredrocker.wordpress.com

  17. Great idea. $80 for a lantern is way over the top.

  18. Yours is GREAT and super creative.. well done, indeed.. stand up and take a bow~!

  19. Very creative! I have a lantern on hand and maybe put it into use one of these days.

  20. Loving this! So clever. I featured it at my blog: http://squarepennies.blogspot.com/2012/11/diy-inexpensive-decorative-lantern-from.html



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