DIY Outdoor Lanterns

6 Materials
1 Hour

Let there be light, well the flameless candle outdoor lantern type light anyways. If you took a peek at our patio makeover design board you know I have been swooning over these wooden outdoor lanterns from Target! They are beautiful but I wanted two & couldn't spend $80 on them. So I decided to try & DIY them!

Is it crazy that these two lanterns only cost me $3 in wood to make?! That is a huge savings I can now put towards a new fancy outdoor rug 😉 The best part is that I was able to adjust the sizes to fit my space. So let me show y'all how I made both of these lanterns in less than 1 hour!


  • (3) 2x2
  • Scrap Piece of 1x6
  • Wood Glue
  • Stainable Wood Filler
  • 2" Nails
  • Paint/Stain
  • Plastic Shower Curtain Rings

The first thing I did was decide how tall I wanted the lanterns to be. I ended up with one 2ft lantern & one 1ft lantern.

Lantern Size

Once I figured out how tall I wanted each lantern I cut the legs (2x2 pieces) to the desired height minus 2in.

Cutting the base & topper

Next, I cut my 1x6 board into two pieces for my base & topper. My bases ended up being about 6in tall & wide.

Glue legs to base

After all my pieces were cut I started to assemble the lantern. I lined each leg up with the edge of the base piece & attached it with wood glue.

Topper Detail

Now its time to start working on the topper. I wanted to add a small piece of 1x1 to the topper for the handle to go through. Something like this ⬆️

Pre drilled hole for handle

Before I attached it to the topper I drilled a hole through the center where the handle will attach later.

Attaching detail

After the hole was drilled I attached the small piece to the topper with wood glue.

Attaching base & topper

Attach the top the same way as the bottom using wood glue. After all the legs are in position with the topper & base secure them with 2in nails. After you secure the top, flip the lantern over & nail in the base.

You could also use flat head screws but because its decor & not anything that Eli will be swinging around (hopefully) the wood glue & nails should be enough to hold it all together!

Filling the holes

Once everything was secured I filled in the nail holes with this stainable wood filler. It was my first time using this type of wood filler & it worked really well for the small nail holes!


After the wood filler has a minute to dry you can sand the entire lantern.


Now its time to stain (or paint) the lantern. I went with Minwax Classic Gray & gave each lantern 2 coats.

TIP: Wearing gloves while staining is always a must for me because I hate having my hands look yucky & dirty for 2 days!

Hot glue handles into holes

Finally, for the handles, I used leftover plastic shower curtain rings from the Dollar Tree! I simply spray painted them black & used black hole glue to secure them to the predrilled hole from earlier!


Easy outdoor DIY wooden lanterns for under $3 worth of wood! I am so happy with how they turned out & how budget savvy there were to create. The best part is it only took me an hour of working time (30-minute dry time) to make these beauties. Let me know what yall think & if we came close to our inspiration lanterns.

Want to see more of my DIY outdoor projects?! Head this way!

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


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3 of 33 comments
  • Cassie
    on Jun 30, 2020

    I love wood lanters, my daughter wanted to have wood lanterns in her wedding decor. She had a big wedding and she needed lots of lanterns. Well thats when we found out just how much it would cost to buy premade wood lanters. And wow it was a fairly big chunk of change. So I ended up making 100 wood lanterns saved a ton of money and Im not a expert at making wood lanters LOL... Your lanters look great you did a good job on them and Im sure the glue and nails will hold up just fine. Nicely done.

  • Tonya
    on Jul 16, 2020

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