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Rustic Wood Lanterns

  • September 24, 2015

Her Tool Belt
Her Tool Belt
Her Tool Belt
Her Tool Belt

I love the rustic charm of decorating with lanterns, and you know what they say ‘Go big or go home!’ Doesn’t everyone need a giant wood lantern for their front porch, wedding or party decorations??? I think so. These easy to build rustic wood lanterns make a statement and you can easily change the decorations according to the holiday or occasion. Plans are provided for two lantern sizes: 34" and 21".

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  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      Large dc2c4a08 317d 4aeb 8d27 1de99626d66a

      Make the cuts according to which size of lantern you are making. See steps 2 and 3 for detailed views of the legs and rails. You might find it easiest to sand all of the pieces before assembling the lantern.

    2. Step: 2

      Large dd44430b ffd9 4c51 aea1 37da24c59370

      Using a compound miter saw, cut the 4 legs (18” or 30”) with a 5 deg miter angle and 5 deg bevel angle (head tilt) on both ends of the legs.

    3. Step: 3

      Large 4da0d882 8c64 40a1 a93c 509acdbc25de

      Cut the horizontal rails with a 5 deg miter angle on each end, the miters need to be opposite direction from each other, making a trapezoid. It is best to trim the two corners that will face the inside of the lantern. I set the miter saw at 45 deg and removed about ¼” of the corner material.

    4. Step: 4

      Large 85ca4617 7163 4e59 8a83 a1e69d4fe994

      The lantern top is made from the 4 shorter rail pieces and the short 1x4’s (7 ½” & 6” or 4” & 2 ½”). Center a 1x4 piece on a short rail piece, making the bottoms flush and glue and nail into place. Repeat for each rail. Glue and nail the four 1x4’s together making a box.

    5. Step: 5

      Large d985c977 44f5 447c b3f0 88d063517c30

      Assemble two legs to a long rail. The rail bottom and leg ends should stay flush. I prefer the outside top corner of the rail to be flush with the outside face of the leg, purely for looks. Apply wood glue then clamp a leg to a rail, predrill a hole and screw the leg to the rail. Repeat for each leg.

    6. Step: 6

      Large ce780a3f 2d8d 42b5 954e c02f2a9cc43f

      Attach the two leg assemblies the same way as the legs are attached to the rails. Apply wood glue then clamp a leg assembly to a rail, pre-drill a hole and screw the leg to the rail. Repeat for until all four sides are secure.

    7. Step: 7

      Large b8400bee ff69 4798 a975 1535e2292245

      Attach the legs to the top. Apply wood glue then clamp a leg to a short rail, predrill a hole and screw the leg to the rail. Repeat for each leg. I decided to drop the top about 1/8” from the top of the legs to add variation.

    8. Step: 8

      Large 4ea1ef0e 26ee 4068 bc70 5031ad3e07ee

      Turn the lantern upside down and layout the planks (10 3/8” or 16”) for the lantern bottom. Trim the 1x4 planks as necessary, I left about 1/8” overhang around the bottom. Apply wood glue and nail the planks to the lantern base. Attach the feet to the bottom with wood glue and nails.

    9. Step: 9

      Large 95816555 70da 460f a083 bcf84e01ef85

      Sand the lantern until smooth, finishing with 120 grit sandpaper, always finish sanding in the direction of the grain. Apply wood conditioner and stain to the lantern. Once the stain is dry, you can distress the finish as desired.

    10. Step: 10

      Large 7fa17bb1 14cb 4acb aefe f15ee952b811

      Drill 2 holes through the top 1x4’s. Thread a rope through the holes and tie knots on the inside of the top. Add decorative nails if you want to cover up the screw heads.

Comments (3)



  • These are really nice. I believe my wife and mother in law would love them.
    By John Card, on November 23, 2016

  • Made one this weekend.  It turned out great.  So happy with it. Going to tackle the smaller one next!
    By JRolMcc19, on May 21, 2019

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Rustic Wood Lanterns

by Her Tool Belt
Sep 24, 2015
Medium 85595816 d4e1 418e bfd5 44d988d54ee2

I love the rustic charm of decorating with lanterns, and you know what they say ‘Go big or go home!’ Doesn’t everyone need a giant wood lantern for their front porch, wedding or party decorations??? I think so. These easy to build rustic wood lanterns make a statement and you can easily change the decorations according to the holiday or occasion. Plans are provided for two lantern sizes: 34" and 21".

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1
    Huge dc2c4a08 317d 4aeb 8d27 1de99626d66a

    Make the cuts according to which size of lantern you are making. See steps 2 and 3 for detailed views of the legs and rails. You might find it easiest to sand all of the pieces before assembling the lantern.

  2. Step: 2
    Huge dd44430b ffd9 4c51 aea1 37da24c59370

    Using a compound miter saw, cut the 4 legs (18” or 30”) with a 5 deg miter angle and 5 deg bevel angle (head tilt) on both ends of the legs.

  3. Step: 3
    Huge 4da0d882 8c64 40a1 a93c 509acdbc25de

    Cut the horizontal rails with a 5 deg miter angle on each end, the miters need to be opposite direction from each other, making a trapezoid. It is best to trim the two corners that will face the inside of the lantern. I set the miter saw at 45 deg and removed about ¼” of the corner material.

  4. Step: 4
    Huge 85ca4617 7163 4e59 8a83 a1e69d4fe994

    The lantern top is made from the 4 shorter rail pieces and the short 1x4’s (7 ½” & 6” or 4” & 2 ½”). Center a 1x4 piece on a short rail piece, making the bottoms flush and glue and nail into place. Repeat for each rail. Glue and nail the four 1x4’s together making a box.

  5. Step: 5
    Huge d985c977 44f5 447c b3f0 88d063517c30

    Assemble two legs to a long rail. The rail bottom and leg ends should stay flush. I prefer the outside top corner of the rail to be flush with the outside face of the leg, purely for looks. Apply wood glue then clamp a leg to a rail, predrill a hole and screw the leg to the rail. Repeat for each leg.

  6. Step: 6
    Huge ce780a3f 2d8d 42b5 954e c02f2a9cc43f

    Attach the two leg assemblies the same way as the legs are attached to the rails. Apply wood glue then clamp a leg assembly to a rail, pre-drill a hole and screw the leg to the rail. Repeat for until all four sides are secure.

  7. Step: 7
    Huge b8400bee ff69 4798 a975 1535e2292245

    Attach the legs to the top. Apply wood glue then clamp a leg to a short rail, predrill a hole and screw the leg to the rail. Repeat for each leg. I decided to drop the top about 1/8” from the top of the legs to add variation.

  8. Step: 8
    Huge 4ea1ef0e 26ee 4068 bc70 5031ad3e07ee

    Turn the lantern upside down and layout the planks (10 3/8” or 16”) for the lantern bottom. Trim the 1x4 planks as necessary, I left about 1/8” overhang around the bottom. Apply wood glue and nail the planks to the lantern base. Attach the feet to the bottom with wood glue and nails.

  9. Step: 9
    Huge 95816555 70da 460f a083 bcf84e01ef85

    Sand the lantern until smooth, finishing with 120 grit sandpaper, always finish sanding in the direction of the grain. Apply wood conditioner and stain to the lantern. Once the stain is dry, you can distress the finish as desired.

  10. Step: 10
    Huge 7fa17bb1 14cb 4acb aefe f15ee952b811

    Drill 2 holes through the top 1x4’s. Thread a rope through the holes and tie knots on the inside of the top. Add decorative nails if you want to cover up the screw heads.