DIY Balsa Wood Lantern

5 Materials
1 Hour

Hello summer! This year I have been determined to make my outdoor back deck the ultimate hangout space. I added some great comfy furniture, plants and flowers, and colorful throw pillows, but there was one thing missing: mood lighting! My favorite time to hangout on the deck is right as the sun sets, so we definitely needed some cozy lighting. I decided to DIY some lanterns that would not only fit our decor, but that would also be easy to accomplish. Today I am sharing the balsa wood lantern, inspired by some lanterns that I saw at my favorite home decor stores.

Watch the video above to see how you can easily make your own, or keep reading for step by step instructions. Enjoy!

I started by cutting my 36 inch balsa wood strips into 3 pieces, 12 inches each. Balsa is really easy to cut and is slightly flexible, so I just used an X-acto knife.

I cut about 25 strips as an estimation of how many I would need. For the base of the lantern, I used a terra cotta planter base. These come in all different sizes, but the one that I used had about a 26 inch circumference.

I made a pencil mark every inch on the base, so that I would know where to glue my wood pieces.

I added a bit of glue to one of the wood strips, and glued it on top of one of the pencil marks. I continued this process all the way around the base.

Once I had all of my wood pieces glued to the base, I took a wood floral/craft ring and repeated the process on the top of the lantern. I specifically chose a circle that was smaller than my base so that the wood would pull in slightly, which is another benefit of using a flexible wood like balsa.

At this point, you can leave the lantern as is, or you can add a decorative trim at the bottom which is what I chose to do. I wanted to add a bit of extra contrast to the lantern and also cover up the area where I had glued the wood to the base. I chose a leather cord and simply wrapped it a few times around the base, gluing it intermittently.

Last but not least, I added a decorative handle to complete the look. I slid some wire under the wood circle at the top, then twisted it around itself to keep it secure. I brought it over to the other side and repeated the same process.

I added a battery operated candle and set it out on my deck for the perfect extra lighting! It looks super stylish during the day and gives a warm glow at night. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this lantern and I hope you’ll try it out too! If you like this project and want to see more, visit my  YouTube Channel

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Katie Bookser

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Caseyem11
    on Aug 5, 2019

    How do you remove the candle once it is finished?

    • Thea
      on Aug 7, 2019

      You could also fix the bottom pieces to a separate wood ring that fits into the base instead of the base itself. But then you would have to move the handle.

  • Patti Murphy
    on Aug 23, 2019

    What kind of glue did you use for the clay and wood material?

    • Katie Bookser
      on Aug 23, 2019

      I just used hot glue and it’s held up well, but E6000 would give a strong hold if you’d prefer that!

Join the conversation

2 of 36 comments
  • Lori Schroeder
    on Aug 6, 2020

    I cant wait to start on this. Im going to paint mine white! Or maybe one silver and one gold!

  • Pam-ella
    on Aug 6, 2020

    That is very pretty! I'm definitely going to pin this one, thank you for sharing!

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