Sunday, December 17, 2017

DIY Wooden Lantern

The past few weeks have been super busy but I know a number of people have asked me about the decorative wooden lanterns I built recently so I wanted to share a quick post about them.   There are a number of different tutorials for variations of these lanterns which is what I shamelessly copied (like this one, this one, or this one) so it's certainly not my original idea, but I thought I'd just share how I built mine. :)

I decided to build two different sizes.  The larger one uses basic off-the-shelf lumber so is really easy to construct as they're all simple straight cuts on a miter saw.   I actually went through my scrap pile and used a lot of the smaller pieces I had so didn't have to buy anything for this project!  For the smaller size, I had to use my table saw and Microjig Gripper to rip the lumber down to much smaller widths before making the final cuts with my miter saw. 

I made sure to construct the lanterns so they are open at the top.  This allows me to use a real candle which I love the look of.

Measuring 7-1/2" wide x 17-3/4" tall, I'll show you how I created my large lantern.  The height of this particular lantern can be adjusted just by changing the length of the vertical 2x2's.  

(Mini lantern is 5" wide x 10" tall)

The following instructions are for the large lantern, but I have included the cut list for the mini lantern as well. 

Lumber List:

Miter saw
Kreg Jig (optional)
Drill & screwdriver or brad nailer
Wood Glue
Stain or paint

I've include all the measurements I used for the mini lantern in brackets.

Step 1:
To create the base, glue the 7-1/2" 1x3's together.   (5" - 1x3's)

Step 2:
Construct the two sides of the lantern with the 4-1/2" & 14" 2x2's.   (3-1/2" & 7-1/2" - 3/4"x 3/4")

Step 3:
Glue one lantern side to the base. I used my Kreg Jig and had drilled a single pocket hole in the end of each vertical 2x2, but using a nailer or a screw through the bottom of the base and up into the vertical 2x2 also works well.

Step 4:

Glue and nail the remaining 4-1/2" 2x2's (3-1/2" - 3/4"x 3/4") to form the front and back.

 Step 5:

Glue and nail the 2nd previously constructed side.

Step 6:

Glue the 3/4" 2x2 feet (3/4" - 3/4"x 3/4") to the bottom corners.  You could add a nail but I found the glue alone was adequate enough to hold them.

Step 7:

Glue and nail on the top of the lantern frame using the 4-1/2" & 7-1/2" 1x2's (3" & 5"  1"x 5/8")

Step 8:

Add the top of the lantern by gluing the remaining 4-1/2" & 6" 1x2's ( 3" & 4"  1" x 5/8") on their edge along the top flush to the inside edge. 

A couple tips:

Cutting as you go:  Because your 1x3's may not be EXACTLY 2-1/2" in width, you can adjust the lengths of the short horizontal 2x2's to match the base width before gluing it all in place.

I chose to sand and stain all my pieces before assembling it.  I found it so much easier to achieve a consistent stain colour without having to attempt to stain the tighter corners. :)

For my mini lantern, I constructed it the same way but only used glue and a few small pin nails.

I ended up building two of the mini lanterns and will be adding a glass holder and pillar candle in each to give them to my daughters teachers as Christmas gifts.  I think it would be simple to dress these up as centerpieces on a dining or console table.

There are so many ways to dress these lanterns up and customize them for your own home.  Definitely let me know if you have any questions and I would love to see your lanterns if you decide to build one!

Happy Building!


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