How to Make a Wood Lantern

Paula Skulina
by Paula Skulina
9 Materials
2 Hours

Making a wood lantern is an easy woodworking project and the end result is a lantern that can be used for home decor in any season. Grab a few supplies and before you know it, you’ll have a lantern to use and enjoy. Get more ideas for woodworking, crafts, and home decor on my blog, Sweet Pea.

For this project you will need:

  • 1” x 6” board cut to 5 1/2” x 5 1/2” – Need Two
  • 1/2” dowel cut to 10” – Need Four
  • 4” x 4” Wood Pyramid Post Cap
  • 1 1/2” Wood Cabinet Knob
  • Circular Saw or Sliding Compound Miter Saw
  • Random Orbit Sander or Sandpaper
  • Drill and/or Drill Press with bits
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps
Cut the Lantern Top and Bottom

Using the 1” x 6” board, cut two pieces 5 1/2” x 5 1/2”. Use a chop saw or sliding compound miter saw for this step.TIP: Set up a stop block so that you only have to measure 5 1/2” one time.

Cut the Dowels for the Sides

The next step is to cut four dowel pieces 10” long. I moved the stop to 10” for this step.

Drill Holes for the Dowels

Use one of the 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" pieces for this step.The dowel placement will be 1/2" in on both sides. To mark the holes, use a carpenter's square to draw a line 1/2" in on all sides, then use the carpenter's square to draw a line from corner to corner.

Drill Pilot Holes

Use a drill or drill press to drill pilot holes.I made three lanterns, that's why you see three lantern bases in the picture.

Drill the Holes

Switch the drill bit to a 1/2” Forstener bit and then drill the holes on all four corners.

Drill Lantern Top Pieces

I made three lanterns, so that’s why there are six pieces shown in this picture.For the lantern top pieces, using the 1/2” Forstener bit and drill press, drill holes 1/2 " deep.Note that the lantern bottom pieces have holes drilled all the way through and the top pieces have holes drilled 1/2” deep.

Attach the Knob to the End Cap

Mark the center of the end cap, then use an aul to make an indentation, then drill a pilot hole for the screw. (Detailed picture on my blog post.)Screw the knob into place.

Assemble the Lantern

Start by doing a dry fit of the pieces to make sure that they fit together perfectly. After a successful dry fit, glue the dowels into place starting on the lantern bottom.Tip: Keep a damp rag nearby to wipe up oozing glue

Continue Assembling the Lantern

The next step is to glue the top to the dowels. Finally, glue the end cap in place.

Paint the Lantern

After the glue dries, paint the lantern. I used Benjamin Moore White Dove in semi-gloss that I had leftover from painting the trim in my living room. It took three coats to fully cover the raw wood.

Display the Lantern

I used quart sized Mason jars for my lanterns with 50 count copper mini LED lights inside. The lights use two double A batteries which I hid behind the lanterns on my mantel.

I would love for you stop by my blog, Sweet Pea, for the full tutorial as well as to sign up for my latest creations, posts, recipes, exclusives, and more including access to my free printable library.

Resources for this project:
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Paula Skulina
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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