Welcome back. I have a great project for you today, outdoor porch lanterns. I love the tall lanterns that you find in the the home decor stores but have always found them rather pricey, often $100 or more. Well, I’m here to show you that you can make your own lanterns for a fraction of that price.
These are the supplies that I thought I would need for this project. I had a good idea how I was going to construct this thing but you never know when something doesn’t go as planned.
Because I wanted these lanterns to sit on my porch I wanted to use mostly treated wood. That’s a 2×10 cut into 4 square pieces, 8 deck spindles 24 1/4″ long…just a bit taller than the 24″ glass cylinder (my cylinders were from Michaels, make sure you use a coupon!) and of course, pallet wood. I did use a few more items but these will get you started.
Of course the deck spindles I actually used for this project are a bit taller than those pictured above (these are just my leftovers), they are just acting as stand-ins while I measure and cut my pallet wood around the glass vase.
To make 2 porch lanterns I needed 16 pieces of pallet wood, mitered at the ends then nailed together to form 4 frames.
With a nail gun attach your frames to the 24″ deck spindles. For a little added interest I left a 1 1/2 inch gap at the top and the bottom.
I did all my nailing without the vase inserted, it’s only inserted here to make sure it still fits.
I didn’t give myself a whole lot of room for error.
Now is a good time to paint, before the whole thing is assembled. I used an exterior semigloss black paint.
Mark where the spindles hit the 2×10″ base and screw together.
For the top, I used 4, 6 1/2″ spindle pieces mitered in the corners.
With a jigsaw I cut out a hole in the top 2×10″s, slightly larger than the holes created by the spindles. This hole is for heat and smoke to escape if you’re using a regular candle. If you are going to use electric candles you could skip this step.
Finished painting the tops and sanded all the edges. The sanding gets rid of any hardened wood fibers, softens the edges and I love the worn look.
The top does not get screwed onto the base. I thought that it would be easier to light candles and insert stuff if I left it unattached.
Those freshly sanded edges were a little too white so out came the vintage stain to darken them up a bit.
Can you guess what household item I used for feet? Those are some of my kids old building blocks screwed into the corners of the base.
Every good candle burning lantern needs a vented top. I tried three ideas before finally settling on a piece of pallet wood.
First up was a piece of rusty corrugated metal. When I tried to bend the metal it cracked…I’m supposing it was a bit too rusty. I have used corrugated metal before for a vented top, you can find that project here.
Second try was a baked bean can. I even made a pot of baked beans so I could use the can. That’s the can in the picture above. You can see where I poked holes to screw it onto my lantern. It would actually work great but I wasn’t loving it.
Moving on, I also tried 4 pieces of spindles with another piece of wood on top. I thought it looked too busy.
My fourth try was just a plain old square of pallet wood hinged to the top. I loved the simplicity and I was running out of options.
To get the pallet wood top to vent I screwed in this piece of a drawer handle. The screw is just loose enough to allow the piece to move easily. When a candle is lit, the top is easily propped open.
When the candle is unlit (which is probably the majority of the time), the piece easily moves out of the way.
I also finished the top with a dark walnut stain and varnish combo.
I purchased the handles from Hobby Lobby.
And the blue block feet were painted black to match the rest of the lantern.
Hope you enjoyed. I’m already thinking about how I’m going to decorate my new lanterns for upcoming holidays.
Have a fantastic week. Stay inspired.
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