Lanterns are the perfect way to get mood lighting outside without wires. There are so many cozy outdoor living areas and they all have one thing in common – lighting. Lanterns can also work indoors for a festive holiday table.
I am so happy to be hosting a Creative Craft Blog hop today along with Chloe from Celebrate & Decorate. Be sure to check out the all the other great crafts at the bottom of this post for more ideas.
If you’ve got lanterns, here’s a fun way to make them look shiny and new with a unique twist. They don’t have to be new. You can recycle old rusty ones with this lantern DIY craft.
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use a home-made stencil to transform your lantern into a star spangled light.
supplies needed to make a summer lantern
To make your festive star-studded lantern you will need these supplies.
- Lanterns – You can transform old or new lanterns. If they are new you can just paint the stencil. Mine were thrifted and dirty.
- Spray Paint
- Cardboard – I like to paint on cardboard and I used cardboard for my stencil
- Candles – Faux or real
- Box cutter – To cut the star stencil
- LED faux candles (optional)
This post contains affiliate links. If you click & make a purchase, I receive a commission! Thanks! Read my full disclosure policy.
I love to use the LED lights inside the lanterns because they don’t make a mess and they look so real.
How to Make Your Own Stencil
You can buy stencils online, but they are surprisingly easy to make with cardboard. I chose stars because they could work for July 4 and Christmas. If you don’t have a lot of room to store holiday decor, double duty is the way to go.
You can make your own stencil of any shape. For example, you could do a four leaf clover, hearts, flowers or anything you can think of. A easy to cut because there are all straight lines.
- Find a pattern you can use to trace the outline of your shape onto a piece of cardboard.
- Lay your pattern over a thin piece of cardboard or other stiff backing. You could also use a manila folder. You want something a little more hefty than just paper.
- Trace over the pattern with a pen, pushing down to make an impression on the cardboard.
- Remove the pattern and use a cutter to cut along your traced lines. I used a box cutter, but you could use an X-Acto knife. You might have to cut each line multiple times. Be sure to cut on top of a surface that you can’t damage.
How to Update a Lantern
The lanterns I found were green and pretty dirty. If the lanterns you get are all metal they are easy to spray paint and they are like new again.
The first step with any painting project is to clean whatever it is you are about to paint and let it dry.
Most lanterns have removable glass inside. If your lanterns don’t, this would require lots of taping to make sure you don’t paint the glass. I removed the glass panels and set them aside. Then I went to work spray painting the metal. Be sure to spray inside and out.
Let your lanterns dry before you try to put the glass back inside.
The final step is to paint your stencil onto the glass. Stencils work really great with spray paint if you DON’T want really clean lines. This was the look I was going for. You just place the cardboard over the glass and spray.
Once your glass is dry, it’s time to put it back inside the lantern.
Using Lanterns Inside and Out
Lanterns can be used for table decorations both inside and out. They can even make a cute centerpiece like this one.
I love to use them because I don’t have a lot of outdoor lighting. The faux flicker candles are the best invention since sliced bread. I remember when I first saw them at Pottery Barn. Theirs look so real because they have wax on the outside. I found less expensive knock off candles on Amazon.
Now it’s time to get more craft ideas. If you are following along your next stop is Cecilia at My Thrift Store Addiction. She’ll be showing us how to make a rosy posy.