Inside: Make these simple DIY lanterns using only scrap pieces of wood. A great way to clean out your scrap pile and add some beautiful decor to your home.
They say, “Go BIG or go home!”
Well, I went BIG and I have-been-home-a-lot (#covidpandemic). I made one BIG scrap wood lantern and one small.
These Simple DIY Wood Lanterns were part of a challenge (#buildfromscrap) I put out to readers to clear their scrap pile and build only from the wood they have from home while being stuck at home because of the pandemic. These lanterns are one of several projects like this DIY Dog Leash Holder, I challenged myself to complete over a couple of weeks.
*This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
*Before you get started make sure you have your Safety Gear. For this project, I recommend safety goggles, ear protection and optional N95 mask to prevent breathing wood particles during sawing and sanding.
TOOLS FOR DIY LANTERNS
- Measuring tape
- Saw – I use a Rigid Table Saw
- Miter saw
- Wood clamps
- Carpenter square
- Nail gun – I use a Ryobi Nail gun
SUPPLIES FOR DIY LANTERNS (LARGE AND SMALL)
I used scrap 2 x 2s and 1 x 3 for the large lantern and a 1 x 6 for the small lantern. Use anything you have on hand that would work. If you don’t have enough scrap wood then I have included what wood to purchase below.
- 2 – 2 x 2 x 8 (large lantern)
- 1 – 1 x 4 x 6 (large lantern)
- 1 – 1 x 8 x 8 (small lantern)
- 2 inch 18G brad nails
- 1 1/4 inch 18G brad nails
- Wood glue
- Wood filler – I use Elmer’s Wood Filler in Natural
- Sander or sand paper
- Paint – I used a flat black spray paint (large lantern)
- Wood stain – I used Varathane Antique White and Mixwax Dark Walnut (small lantern)
- Sealer – I used this one
CUTS FOR DIY LANTERNS
The large lantern measured app 25 1/2 inches tall by 10 1/2 inches wide. The small lantern is 15 5/8 x 7 3/8 size. Keep in mind that all wood depths aren’t the same. Your measurements may be different from mine due to variations in the thickness of the wood.
- 4 – 2 x 2s cut at 21 1/2 inches (vertical side supports)
- 8 – 2 x 2s cut at 7 1/2 inches (horizontal top and bottom supports)
- 4 – 2 x 2s cut at 1 1/2 inches (feet)
- 3 – 1 x 4s cut at 10 1/2 inches (bottom)
- 2 – 2 x 2s cut at 9 inches (long pieces of crown)
- 2 – 2 x 2s cut at 6 inches (short pieces of crown)
To build the small lantern, I used one 1 x 8 x 8 and ripped cut 1-inch strips, except for the bottom.
- 4 – 1 x 13 inches (side supports)
- 4 – 5 3/8 inches (horizontal top and bottom supports)
- 1 – 7 3/8 inches square (bottom)
- 4 – 1-inch square (feet)
- 2 – 6 5/8 inches (long pieces of crown)
- 2 – 5 1/8 inches (short pieces of crown)
STEPS TO MAKE DIY LANTERNS
Unless specified, I attached all pieces using wood glue and 2 inch 18G brad nails.
Step 1) Start out by assembling the two rectangular sides. Attach two sides to a top and bottom piece. It helps to use wood clamps to hold it in place. This will create a rectangle. Repeat this for the other side.
Step 2) Connect the two rectangular sides together using the eight horizontal top and bottom 2 x 2 pieces. This will create a rectangular box.
Step 3) Add the bottom pieces and feet. Attach the bottom 1 x 4s to the bottom of the rectangular box using wood glue and 1 1/4 inch 18G brad nails. Then attach the feet to the bottom 1 x 4s.
Step 4) Add a final few pieces of wood (crown) to taper at the top. Draw an outline on the top where you want your crown to sit. I marked about halfway in from the outer edge of the top and then attached it.
Step 5) Sand and fill any holes with wood filler. Apply your chosen stain or paint. I used a flat black spray paint (see picture below) and finish it off with a sealer. I used a spar urethane sealer.
* I used wood glue and 1 1/4 inch 18G brad nails to attach all the pieces together.
Step 1) Create the sides by attaching two vertical side pieces with a top and bottom horizontal piece. It helps to use wood clamps to hold it in place. Repeat this for the other side to make two rectangles.
Step 2) Attach the two rectangles to the bottom piece.
Step 3) Attach the horizontal bottom and top pieces in between the two rectangles. I attached the bottom horizontal pieces by nailing through the bottom piece. I attached the top horizontal pieces by nailing through the sides. Now you have a rectangular box.
Step 4) Add the feet.
Step 5) Add the crown. For the crown, I marked halfway in from the edge of the top to get my measurements for my cuts.
Step 6) Sand and fill in any holes with wood filler. Apply your chosen paint or stain and protect it with a sealer. I used black flat spray paint for the larger lanterns and layered Varathane Antique White and Mixwax Dark Walnut for the smaller lantern. To add a rustic worn look, sand your lanterns after you stain or paint them. Then I applied a spar urethane sealer.
As an option add handles. You can either use wire, a chain, or a very long gummy worm. I made rope handles and attached them to the crown of the lanterns. Then I placed them by my front door.
Such a cool idea, they look awesome!
We have some leftover wood in the shed so I’m gonna try my husband to make these haha!
Then I just need to get some rope.
Thanks Tiffany 🙂
Happy to hear this! Enjoy your project.
Brenda Rooney says
Thank you. Love these and my husband is the process of making 2 sets. Can you direct me to the tutorial for the rope handle. I purchased 1/2 inch so hope it works but wi t open package until I receive your response.
I apologize as I haven’t gotten around to posting on how to make these yet. I will do my best to do that in the next couple of days. In the meantime, the I used is 3/8 inch sisal rope. To make the handles, I folded the rope at the ends, applied Gorilla Glue and wrapped jute around it to secure the ends, applying glue as needed. If your rope is too think it will be difficult to fold it over and keep in place. I hope that helps some while I work on getting the post completed. I got it done and here is the link to the rope handles.
Curious to know the technique used when applying the antique white and dark walnut stains. Did you layer? Thanks!! They looks great!
Yes, I layered the stains. Layering is something I tend to do a lot when I stain wood. I like to see a variety of different tones…generally brown and gray and I can achieve this by layering. Sometimes it works better than others depending on the particular stain. Thanks for your question.