December 6, 2015

Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns {Home for Christmas}

Every year I fill our outdoor planters with a variety of natural evergreens and lighted branches.  It always looks so festive and welcoming. Thanks to the constant freeze and thaw that happens in our neck of the woods, by Christmas Day one strike of a match and they'd light up like a roman candle!

As any of you who use fresh greens know, it isn't easy on the pocketbook if you don't have an abundant supply in your own yard.  So this year I decided we needed to take a budget friendly approach to filling our planters but still have high impact.

When the invitation to join the Home For Christmas tour came, I decided this would be the perfect challenge to figure out how we could fill those planters, but with a goal that they cost next to nothing!

That is when I came up with the idea for these Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns.

Large DIY Outdoor Holiday Lanterns

Home For Christmas is a blog hop hosted by Hometalk.com and Country Living.com where several bloggers are sharing their Christmas-inspired Home & Garden DIY savvy skills.

Home for Christmas Blog Hop

I love those gorgeous tall metal lanterns you see this time of year at garden centers and home decor retailers.  I've wanted some for years, but I couldn't justify spending upwards of $100.00 each.  So using scraps found around the workshop and few purchased items, we made our own wood lanterns painted to look like hammered metal for a whopping

$66.50 for both!

If you follow me on Instagram you may remember a couple of weeks ago I posted this picture with the caption, "Hmmmm, what do I want to be transformed into?"

Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lantern Materials

...and the answer was these.

Large DIY Outdoor Lanterns flanking the front door for the Holidays

Materials List

*Rounded to the nearest dollar
  • 2" x 2" x 8' lumber - leftover from our DIY Patio Water Wall
  • 2 fence post caps - $6.00
  • trim - leftover from our 80's Wall Unit Hack
  • wooden pulls - leftover from a furniture makeover
  • 1 piano hinge - leftover from the Master Bedroom Built-In Window Seat
  • 1 sheet of 2' x 4' Acrylic Clear Prisma Square Lighting Lens Panels - $7.50
  • 2 cans Rust-oleum Hammered Metal Black Spray Paint - $24.00 
  • 2 sets Lighted Branches - already had
  • 2 rolls of wired holiday ribbon - salvaged from our Christmas Tree
  • 1 strand of faux pine garland - $12.00
  • 2 strands of frosted berry garland - $17.00 (we splurged but did get them 50% off)

Glass panels would have cost approximately $60.00. Plexiglass would have cost $80.00 so we needed a more cost effective alternative. That's when we found the next best thing at a cost of $7.50. It's called Acrylic Clear Prisma Square Lighting Lens Panels used for overhead fluorescent light fixtures and comes in 2' x 4' sheets.

How we made them

Step 1 - Dado cuts to accommodate the acrylic panels

Dado cuts to make Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns
  • 2" x 2" lumber cut 24" long
  • 1/2" deep dado cuts to accommodate 6" wide acrylic panels
  • Dados cut 1/2" from the outside edge with a table saw 

Step 2 - Attaching the base

Securing the base on the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns
  • The base is 3/4" plywood cut into an 8" square (we made one for the top as well)
  • Uprights attached to the base with wood screws

Step 3 - Building a decorative top

Building the top of the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns
  • Salvaged wood pulls screwed from the bottom onto each post cap
  • 7" square piece of 3/4" plywood screwed from the bottom onto the post caps
  • 8" square piece of 3/4" plywood screwed from the bottom onto the 7" piece of plywood
  • Salvaged trim cut at a 45° angle using a mitre saw
  • To allow clearance for the top to open we cut away the bottom half of the trim on the back side only
  • Trim attached to the 8" base using wood glue and 1 1/2" brad nails
  • Gaps filled with wood filler and sanded smooth once dry 
  • Piano hinge cut with a hack saw approximately 7" long
  • We needed to drill new holes into the piano hinge to line up with uprights
  • The piano hinge was attached to the bottom of the lid first and then to the uprights
Securing the top of the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns to swing open

Step 4 - Drilling a hole for Lighted Branches

Cutting a hole to feed Lighted Branched into the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns
  • Using a 2" hole drill bit, we cut a hole in the centre of each lantern base to accommodate the lighted branches

Step 5 -  Painting the lanterns

Using paint to give the Wooden DIY Holiday Lanterns look like Black Hammered Metal
  • Sprayed three coats of Rust-oleum Hammered Metal Black spray paint.  The wood was very porous and used more paint than we had anticipated.  

Step 6 - Installing the lights

Inserting Lighted Branches inside the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns

Tip for tall planters/urns
I filled our outdoor planters 2/3 full with pea gravel.  I use plastic pots filled with dirt as inserts for the planters.  It's so easy and convenient to decorate the inserts indoors in the winter or plant at a potting bench in the spring and simply carry them over to the outdoor planters.  
  • Branches pushed through the hole and firmly into the dirt
Pulling the LIghted Branches electrical cord to the outside of the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns
  • The electrical cord was pulled underneath the lantern and outside the plastic insert

Step 7 - Adding Acrylic Panels

I have to apologize for having no pictures of this step.  I was sure I took some but can't find them on any of my devices.
  • Using a straight edge and Exacto knife, the panels were cut to fit inside the dados (6" x 24")
  • Then we slid each acrylic panel into the dados

Step 8 - Securing the lantern to the plastic insert

Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns secured to the pot
  • Using #6, 3/4" wood screws, we secured the base of the lantern under the lip of the plastic insert
  • We repeated this step on all four corners to firmly secure the lantern so it doesn't topple over during strong winds

Step 9 - Adding a Bow to the handles

Holiday Wired Ribbon Bows attached to the handles of the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns
  • I made bows for each handle from salvaged wired holiday ribbon that used to wrap around our Christmas Tree
  • I'm all thumbs when it comes to making bows so I used an EZ Deluxe Bow Making Tool that I purchased at Michaels
  • I found a great bow tutorial on YouTube by Vicki O'Dell from The Creative Goddess that you may find helpful HERE.  

Step 10 - Decorating the base with faux evergreens

Faux Pine Garland and Frosted Berry Strands to wrap around the base of the Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns
  • We cut a strand of pine garland in half using wire cutters
  • Then we wrapped a strand of frosted berry garland onto each half and secured with floral wire
Inserting Large DIY Holiday Lanterns into the outdoor flower pots
  • We simply inserted the lanterns/plastic pot inserts into our outdoor planters
  • We wrapped the pine garland around each base and tied two branches together in the back to secure them in place
This is what the lanterns look like during the daylight hours. If you look closely at the photo you can see snowflakes. It started snowing as I was taking the pictures.

Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns during daylight

What a difference a few hours makes!  Here are the lanterns at night.

Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns at night

Close up of a lantern during the day.

Close up of Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lantern during daylight

Close up of the same lantern at night, after a snowfall.

Close up of Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lantern at night

I'm really pleased with how unique our lanterns look and they've certainly been getting attention in our neighbourhood.  I'm tickled pink about the price!

Large Outdoor DIY Holiday Lanterns made for the Home for Christmas blog hop
Make sure to check out the links below for more great Christmas Inspired DIY Creations.  Please Pin directly from their blog posts rather than the links.

Search the hashtag #HomeForChristmas on Hometalk to conveniently scroll through all the projects on the blog hop.


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