A single board of rough pine, a light-weight saw and you have the only known DIY versions of these rounded top Christmas lanterns anywhere on Pinterest!
I’ve got another Holiday decor item for you today!
This one I’m pretty excited about because I haven’t seen any other DIY’s anywhere – so I think that I’m the “first to market” per se.
Well, except for the giant manufacturing company that came up with the original idea and sells their version of “my” rounded top lanterns over on Raz Imports.
Unfortunately you can’t buy these in individual quantities as Raz sells to gift shops and retailers.
Do you love them as much as I do?
Just maybe not enough to buy a gross of them for more than a mortgage payment.
Time to DIY folks!!
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How to make rounded top lanterns
I started with 1″ x 12″ x 6′ rough pine boards. I thought I might make my rounded top lanterns a little more rustic looking (but ended up sanding them in the end). Regardless, rough pine is a much cheaper board to buy and for a project like this the sanding isn’t too bad.
I cut (2) pieces at 18″ long.
I went with my trusty “Tupperware bowl” technique, and traced the edge of a bowl onto the top of the boards and then cut with a jig saw.
Rough pine boards have a nominal width of 1″ – meaning they are actually 1″ thick and not ¾” like most lumber.
Knowing that, I drew a line 1″ in from the edges of my cut pieces. For the rounded section, I moved a ruler every ¼” under the cut (rounded) edge and marked a dot.
This step didn’t work all that well for me, but I’m showing it anyways in case you get the same bright idea to try…
Using a mitre saw, table saw or circular saw to cut the straight lines of your round-top lantern only works if you remember to stop cutting well before the actual arched section. The blade actually cuts further than you expect so cutting right to the line will mean you’ve cut into your arch – you’ll see in the upcoming photos.
It does however make the sides very straight – so there’s that. lol
I used a scroll saw to cut the rounded sections, but for a one-stop-shop-saw that would make this entire project start to finish – and the one I used for the second and third set of lantern arms – I suggest the WORX BladeRunner tabletop saw. It’s kind of like a table saw, jigsaw and scroll saw rolled into one and is less expensive than any of them.
I took the remaining wood, after I’d cut the first section out (left) and drew another line 1″ from the edge and cut a second pair of arms, and finally a third pair before I felt the lanterns themselves would be smaller than the candles.
(You can see below where the mitre saw – not its operator – cut too far into the arch)
Take one of each pair of lantern arms and cut out a 1″ section in the middle. This will be where the arms cross over in the middle.
I did my sanding here – since I also had a wood filler situation to hide – and then I attached my two arms at the centre point using wood glue.
Each rounded top lantern will be 1″ shorter than the one before it, so if you want a more noticeable difference in size, you’ll want to cut more off of the legs to lessen the heights.
To build the base of your Christmas lantern/s you’ll need ¼” plywood scraps cut to squares at 12 ½”, 10″ and 8″ (double check the distance between the lantern arms diagonal from each other before cutting)
Attach the plywood squares to the bottom of your lanterns with wood glue and a finishing nail or two up from the bottom.
The corner of the plywood will overhang the flat side of the lantern arm (we’ll cut this off later).
I used scrap wood to make the sides for the base and it was a bit of a shit-show of guessing and re-cutting however, each side should be cut on a 45° angle with one long side and one short side. If your wood isn’t perfectly straight or positioned perfectly on the base, then you’ll have to adjust on the fly. The easiest way to do this is to cut the first 45, tuck it between the lantern arms and then mark where the second cut should be.
Roughly (4) pieces at 8″ for the largest round-top lantern, (4) at 6 ½” for the medium and (4) at 4 ¾” for the smallest.
I used wood glue and finish nails to tuck each into place.
In case you haven’t heard me mention this before; sanding makes a WORLD of difference. It evens out lumps and bumps and chips and scratches and makes all of your cuts look almost perfect.
I used the BladeRunner to cut off the tiny points from the plywood base and then sanded
the hell out of each one.
Not bad at all!
I used an outdoor stain in taupe and then set to staging my brand-new-no-one-else-has-this Christmas lanterns.
I found this set of 5 Flameless candles with glass on Amazon and tucked several into each DIY lantern. I covered the rest of the visible base with a bit of moss and voila!
I’m crazy for these! Eat your heart out Raz Imports!
But 10 candles is a lot…. and at night my rounded top lanterns looked a little like the welcome path to the gates of hell.
Not quite the warm welcome I had hoped.
Okay, but bright.
I decided to half my candles (YAY! Now I have more inside) and create a softer look by inserting a piece of floral foam into the base of each Christmas lantern, pressing the candles into place and then poking winter greens around them to fill out the space.
A couple of pinecones and this look is perfect day or night:
Two to flank one side of my front door and one to flank the other.
I’m going to have to tuck some real greens into my DIY sled to make everything more cohesive – but for now just focus on the lanterns okay?
I really like the idea of them lining my steps, but (if you buy the same candles) you’ll need to cover the candles with a dollar store vase to keep the water out. It still looks pretty, but it leaves less room for the greenery.
You give a little, you lose a little.
If you aren’t headed to your local home improvement store to pick up a 1″ x 12″ x 6′ rough pine board then I haven’t marketed these to be nearly as gorgeous as they are!
Please, pin the hell out of these images and let everyone know that “I, Shelly of 100Things2Do infamy, have created the only known plans for these DIY rounded top lanterns anywhere on Pinterest!”
(Dumb luck folks, I faked it till I made it! lol)
For more DIY lanterns (clearly I have a small obsession) click any of the images below:
Have a great one!