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Revival Woodworks is dedicated to reviving wood to its true beauty. Through our sustainable designs from re-purposed materials like pallets, barn wood, and reclaimed materials often thrown out, we are able to create beautiful home designs that can be enjoyed! We believe that wood has a natural beauty that should be brought out and restored, not covered or thrown away.

How to Make Wooden Lanterns with Scrap Wood


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How to Make Wooden Lanterns with Scrap Wood

Adam Koons


DIY Wooden Candle Lanterns

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When working with lots of reclaimed lumber, there always seems to be scraps left over from jobs. I admit that I am a hoarder of wood, and can't seem to throw away or burn much of my scraps - I might be able to use is someday! However, the scrap pile is getting too big, and I am beginning to work through it and get rid of wood.

Pinterest is a great place for DIY woodworking project inspiration. There are tons of small projects and ideas that can be altered to work through the scrap pile. These lanterns are based on some of the inspiration on Pinterest, but I made them to the size of the wood in my scrap wood pile. Woodworking like this turn out some unique items, and optimizes the materials you have available. 

Here are the free woodworking plans and guide to building a free wooden lantern: 

Scrap Wood Lantern Plans  

The intent of this guide is to use the scrap wood you have on hand, left over from other projects, and not buy any new. Feel free to adjust the dimensions and layout as you see fit. 

Lantern Parts List

These are the sizes of the parts we used to make our lanterns. For the base and top, we had some 1x8" boards that were the perfect size when cut into a square (using 2 boards - side by side - would also work for a wide width). The posts were made by ripping 2x4s in half to create 2x2s (add to the length as a simple way to have multiple sizes of lanterns). Finally a combination of 1x2s and pallet wood were used for the feet and the side pieces. 

Step 1 - Assemble the lantern sides

To start assembly, glue the side pieces to the posts, and then toenail a brad nail through the side piece into the posts. We use 4 total brad nails in each side, 2 into each post.

In the example, we kept the sides flush with the edge of the post, but have others that are offset or centered. This adds a ledge on the lanterns for more visual appeal.  

Step 2 - Build the lantern "box"

Next, repeat the process by attaching the other side pieces to make a box. Glue and toenail just like you did before. 

Step 3 - add the top and the bottom of the lantern

Add the top and the base by gluing and brad nailing the pieces together. Apply glue to the top of the posts and the sides. Once the glue sets, it will keep the lantern from twisting and moving. 

Step 4 - Add the lantern feet

Take a look at your lantern "box" and decide which side will be the top and the bottom. Attache the feet to the bottom with glue and then 2 brad nails in each foot. 

Once again, putting the pieces flush, or setting them back slightly can have an impact on your finished style. 

Step 5 - Add the Lantern top

Lastly, add a top onto the lantern, where a handle would attach to if this were a real lantern. These can be any size, and attache with glue and toe-nailing it onto the top piece. In the example pictured on the left, a 4x4 post cut to 1.5" tall was used. On the right, 1x2s were used to create a box, and then it was attached to the top. 

Depending on the wood used, finish your lantern with paint or leave it natural. I like to lightly paint it white (not entirely covering the surface) and then sand the paint once its dry for a rustic pottery barn look. 

Add a candle or place it as is for a simple DIY wood lantern, made entriely out of scrap wood! 

Rustic Wooden Lanterns - White paint on scrap wood

Check out our other DIY woodworking plans and Builder Guides