Brighten up your Decor with DIY Wooden Lanterns

Home decor

Inside: Brighten up your Decor with DIY Wooden Lanterns in just a few easy steps. These work both indoors and outdoors and are a great beginner woodworking project. 

For this month’s DIY Challenge, we are using 1×2 boards from the hardware store….and I decided to whip up a couple of DIY Wooden Lanterns… Lanterns that can then be used outside once the weather warms up!!

If you’re here and interested in these types of projects, make sure you check out my other easy wood working projects such as how to make simple wooden trees for your walls, how to use an old fence and also how to add pattern to wood using paper napkins.

Supplies to make DIY Wooden Lanterns

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How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns

January and February are tough months. I always feel like we are in a state of transition and ‘waiting’ because we can’t really get outside to do things and larger projects in the house feel harder to tackle during the winter. Nevertheless, we try to brighten up the house a little bit with candles and lamps and cozy blankets. (Did you read about my Quest for Hygge? You should!)

I built these lanterns using the plans available on House of Wood. I thought I was going to want to modify the plans to make the lanterns smaller – but then I realized it would be basically impossible to put a candle inside them if they were shorter. So I stuck almost exactly to her sizing, but made a few small modifications to the plans. (She has a list of cuts on there too that you can follow.)

Build a lantern with 1x2 wood

I made all my cuts for both lanterns in one go and then assembled them in pieces. I used my Kreg jig with 1″ wood screws to build the base of the lanterns.A drill and kreg jig

You don’t need a Kreg jig to do this, but it makes it so much easier. I love this thing. Essentially, it allows you to drill a pocket hole so that you can attach two pieces of wood and have them sit flush. I have big plans for a few projects coming up that will rely heavily on the Kreg – so I hope to write a little more in depth about it then. Using a Kreg Jig to Build a Wooden LanternThen I assembled to “tower” part of the lanterns. For this, I just used wood glue and my nail gun, loaded up with 2″ 18-gauge brad nails. It’s important to get 2″ nails because if you use shorter ones, they won’t go thru!Clamp together the Wooden Lantern

One modification I made to the plans was to drill through the both longer top pieces so I could lace some thick twine into my lanterns. All I did was line them both up, mark the (sorta) centre, and drill a hole straight through them both. Drill hole for twine on wooden lanternThen I used the same glue + brad nail method to assemble the top, and I glued it to the top of my tower. Unfinished Wooden Lantern

Then came the agony of deciding what to do with the lanterns! Paint? Stain? A combination? I just couldn’t decide. Since I used a lot of scrap wood, it seemed like staining wasn’t an option, especially if I wanted a uniform look – and then Dan convinced me that wood filler + paint covers really well. But then I was like – do I go dark (I’m really digging charcoal tones these days) or do I go light (which I sorta feel is the safer option).

GAH! CHOICES!!! 😉Use outdoor lanterns for greenery

In the end, I decided to go dark! And you know what, if I hate them in the summer when we want to put them outside? I’ll just repaint them! No biggie, right? I mean, it’s just a coat of paint – it’s not like it’s a crime or anything.Tutorial and VIDEO to make your own wooden lanterns

Rustic Wooden Patio Lanterns

Rustic Nautical Outdoor Lanterns

I feel like Kim Mitchell would be proud of me… (Holla! If you get that joke fellow Canucks! haha) I cannot WAIT to put these out on the deck this year. I plan to do a lot of just sitting out there with Little Bird…Make your own rustic wooden lanterns for a patio

DIY Outdoor Wooden Lanterns


Alright, you fine folks! Don’t forget to check out all these other members of Bloggy Tribe who also made fabulous things with 1x2s!!


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