The wait is over. A huge thank you to all the readers for your continued support for my wood lantern centerpieces project post. It’s been one year since my friend’s wedding when I made the lanterns and I am finally sharing the free plans for all four sizes of wood lanterns.
A DIY tutorial to build wood lantern centerpieces. Free plans for four sizes of wood lanterns perfect for your party table decor and reusable too!
These wood lanterns make the perfect centerpiece for a wedding, bridal shower, anniversary or any party. In addition they are beautiful lanterns to use as home decor especially around the holidays. The open wood frame concept allows you to use a real candle with a glass hurricane and gives space to add floral or other decor items around the base.
I made 48 lanterns last winter in four sizes for my friend’s wedding table centerpieces using both 3/4″ square dowels and 1″ dowels. The plans down below are for 3/4″ square wood dowels as they are a bit less expensive. However, I highly recommend making a variety of sizes using both dowel sizes because it feels more natural once they are all grouped together but of course that’s totally up to you. The beauty of DIY is you get to make the design decisions!
In regards to cost, because I know a lot of readers want to plan a budget for their centerpieces, I hesitate to give a set price due to lots of variables. First of all the cost of lumber varies greatly so please check your sources. Secondly, the glass hurricanes and candles are priced better in bulk so base your centerpieces in increments of 12.
On average 12 medium lanterns will cost about $270 which comes out to $22.50 per lantern:
- lumber & hardware: $130
- 12 – 4″ x 10″ glass hurricanes: $70
- 12 – 3″ x 6″ pillar candles: $70
Depending on your table size you may be able to get away with just one large lantern in the center. My friend’s wedding reception tables were for 12 people so we did three lanterns. Also we had oodles of guests taking the wood lanterns home with them so they are extremely reusable and look lovely on your mantle.
LANTERN PLANS BASICS:
I have the plans below for four sizes however you really can make the wood lanterns any size you like following these basic rules:
- Cross supports no shorter than 5″ long. This gives space for the 4″ diameter glass hurricane which fits the 3″ diameter pillar candles (sources down below).
- Base: use 1x boards (1×8, 1×10, etc) and cut into square pieces. Example: A 1×8 cut at 7 1/4″ long makes a perfect 7 1/4″ x 7 1/4″ square. From one 1x8x8 pine board you can get 12 bases.
If you want to see the construction process in action check out this video:
In the plans you will see the cut list for four lantern sizes. The construction process is the exact same regardless of size.
Click here for free printable plans.
Be sure to work on a hard flat surface when assembling the pieces.
To finish I used Minwax early american stain. Good luck with your wood lantern centerpieces and be sure to share and tag me on social media.
Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook / Youtube / Twitter
GLASS HURRICANES (recommend 4″ diameter):
BULK CANDLES (recommend 3″ diameter pillar):
SHOP THIS PROJECT:
María Inés Urraburu says
Hello! Sorry for my primitive English. I discovered you recently and by your name I thought you were a man haha !. You are my soul mate and I am very happy to find you. I also have children Santiago de 22 and Clara de 20. I now have more time to devote to my manual skills. Now I work in wood and also upholstery.
From Uruguay I send you a warm greeting
Gloria Westerman says
These look so pretty on the tables…thank you so much for sharing this with us…I know it was long getting the plans but so worth the wait…thank you…
Thanks Gloria, checking off that to do list 😉
Hello I know you have great directions but I’m not sure if the dowels used on all four sides are the same size dowel just cut in different sizes? Can you pls let me know what dowels you used.
Hi Sandy, Yes for each lantern the dowels used are all the same thickness. Some lanterns were made using 1″ thick dowels and some were made using 3/4″ thick dowels. It’s our preference. Good luck!
I saw your post about making your own lanterns- my question is how did you cut the wood? What tool did you use?
Jane Rutzler says
Good job Jaime! I love them. I love them grouped on the table, and along the mantle…I am definitely going to work on making them.
Thanks Jane, they’re so versatile for many purposes. Do share once you get them complete 🙂
My son’s Kinder teacher has a few potted plants that could use these candle holders as their new little cradling nest! Thank you for sharing your plans for a very versatile project!
Angie from Northern (way Northern!) California….HUGE fan.
Love hearing that, such a great idea. Thank you Angie.
Love the simplicity of these lanterns and the natural beauty of them! Thanks for sharing! From a cost perspective, you can order 3.25” x 9” cylinder vases online from the Dollar Tree for $1 each! While a little smaller, definitely makes the project that much more affordable. Just thought I’d share.
Thank you Erin, so wonderful of you to share the awesome vase find with others. I love when everyone helps and shares their tips. 🙂
Hi! These are gorgeous 🙂 Is the materials you listed the amount needed for 48 lanterns? Im getting married in 2020 and am anticipating having 20 tables…. so 60 lanterns! Just trying to figure out an estimate
Hi Michelle, in the plans I have listed the “Supplies for one MEDIUM lantern”. Hope that helps. Good luck with your wedding plans!
Chiquita Parker says
I was looking for a website to show how to make lanters. Thanks
Mary Airel says
LOVE the lanterns but I am not handy. My daughter is getting married in September in Columbus , Ohio . Would you be willing to make 10 sets to sell ?? Even if you did not assemble the sides , they would be easier to ship and I could finish ??
Thank you ! Mary
Did you end up buying making these? I am in Columbus snd need for wedding of 2021
Mrs. M says
I love these and I’m going to attempt to make them. When I see them pictured in you group of three as centerpieces for a wedding, are the green leaves real? I love that look and I’m wondering what they are and where I can get them if they are faux.
Thanks Mrs. M, the greenery in the wedding photos is real eucalyptus leaves. I’m positive you can get a faux version. Good luck with your lanterns!
Mes M says
One more question…did the height of any of these interfere with being able to see the people sitting across the table? That’s the bride’ only concern about the larger ones.
Hi Mes, It definitely didn’t pose a problem at the wedding. If she wants to be certain I would make them 14″ or shorter for clearance across the table. Good luck!
Sonia R says
Hi love the look of these lanterns and they seem like we could do them but I had an issue when putting in the 1 1/4″ inch screws on the bottom, They were cracking the wood. Is there any tips to avoid this or any idea of why this could be happening. Thank you so much for your help
Hi Sonia, You can predrill your screw holes with a countersink bit to help prevent cracking. The screws should be placed far enough away from the edge so it shouldn’t crack but predrilling will help. Good luck!
I see that you used different size candles and hurricanes for the different size lanterns. Could you tell me what sizes of each ii should be ordering for each size? thank you so much for your help
Hi Susan, the hurricanes and candles all vary in size. In the tallest lantern the hurricane is 12″h x 4″diameter and the candle is 8″h x 3″diameter. The hurricanes go down from there 10″h and 8″h. Most candles are 3″ diameter x 6″ tall but some are 2″ diameter.
Which lantern size do you think would best fit a quart size mason jar?
Thank you for posting these plans. I was looking for something simple. They worked out perfectly. My husband and I mass produced 24 lanterns for a function at church. I ordered my flowers from amazon and already had candles from our daughters wedding. Everyone loved them. They are being used for a wedding at the church as well. Now we are doing my lanterns for my dining room table. They will be perfect for fall and Christmas decor. Love, love, love these simple lanterns and the pattern made everything so easy.
Great news, thank you Lanier for sharing your project and success. I love hearing from readers who use the plans. So glad you were able to make the lanterns and get so much good use out of them.
Hi there! I am wondering how many wooden dowels did you end up using for all 48 lanterns! I am about to make 42 of them and wanted to know the exact amount of products you used…example: number of wooden dowels for 48 lanterns total and number of the bottom wood for 48 lanterns total!! Thanks!
Hi Kay, Depends on which size lanterns you are making.
Small, Medium, and Large! Just like your picture above!
Hi, Jaime: I just got a bunch of left over dowels from my brother in law, and was thinking about frames. Now, I know exactly what to do with them. Thanks for this great idea. I found you just in time.
Thanks Darlene. Good luck with your project!
These are beautiful! I would like to make these for my daughters wedding. Where did you purchase the square dowels?
Thank you. Lina
Thanks Lina, I bought the square dowels from Home Depot. Good luck with the wedding plans!
Carrie B. says
I love these lanterns! I tried making one this past weekend and had trouble “blowing out” nails on the 3/4″ dowels… I was using an 18-gauge nail gun that uses an air compressor. I am incredibly jealous of how easy you made the construction look in your video, ha ha. Wondering if you are just SUPER good with your nail gun, or if you think the cordless AirStrike might be easier to use & help me blow out fewer nails? Also, do you have the 18-gauge Air Strike? Thanks for the help and for being an awesome source of inspiration and project patterns! 🙂
Caitlin M. says
I love these lanterns and I would to incorporate a few DIYs into my upcoming wedding. Do you know about how much it cost to build one lantern? Thanks!!
Hi Caitlin, Thank you, I’m always so happy to hear from readers wanting to DIY wedding decor. The cost depends on the size but on average a medium lantern (including the hurricane and candle) is about $23 dollars. I noted in the post above: On average 12 medium lanterns will cost about $270 which comes out to $22.50 per lantern:
lumber & hardware: $130
12 – 4″ x 10″ glass hurricanes: $70
12 – 3″ x 6″ pillar candles: $70
Hope that helps. They are great to reuse as home decor later as well and give away as gifts to your guests. Good luck with your wedding plans.
Just finished assembling a few that I have made and wondering what type of stain and sealer you used? How did you
apply the stain and sealer, brush, cloth?
Hi Lisa, great to hear you’re making the lanterns. I used Minwax early American stain on these lanterns. No wood conditioner and no sealer. I use a foam brush to apply the stain to get in the crevices and then wipe off any excess with a cotton cloth. Let dry well and they’re ready to go. You could definitely use a spray poly to seal these up if you want a nicer finish.
These lanterns are beautiful thank you for the instructions. Where did you find the 7 1/4” bases? While searching at Home Depot everything was either 6 or 8 inches.
I’m getting married in February of 2021 and these would be beautiful center pieces!
Hi Jess, Glad to hear you’re making the lanterns for your wedding. The bases are 7 1/4″ x 7 1/4″ which is cut from a 1×8. A 1×8 is the nominal size, the actual size is 3/4″ x 7 1/4″ so yes you want the 1×8 boards. Good luck.
Hi! I love this project and would love to try it, but I am unable to download the plans. How can I get them?
Hi Marilyn, the plans are linked above but I will leave it here as well. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gT9FyiuPxczUuC-PQYjx2GUF0-kQhSO_/view
I love these lanterns! My family and I made 30 ea in 3 sizes for my daughters wedding reception. They looked as beautiful as I dreamed they would! Thank you so much for the tutorial.
Love hearing this Jodi! So glad they worked out for the wedding (any beyond!). 🙂
Peter DIYPD says
Oh my god! So many lanterns with different sizes and all the measurements in here it’s like heaven! The style with the Minwax early american stain finish is stunning! Thanks Jaime!
Thanks Peter, fun to make and even more fun in abundance.
Tami Chase says
This guy is using your post to get people to go to his Etsy (link removed by Jaime)
The Pinterest link shows him using your photo (link removed by Jaime)
Not sure how you can go about getting that removed, but just wrong.
Love your lanterns btw. Looking to make some for my son’s wedding 🙂 Thanks for the post!
Thank you Tami, argh it’s a never ending problem with shops stealing photos to use as their own. I will get it removed. (Note to add – I will remove the link to his shop in your comment shortly.)
Will it mess up the lanterns if you don’t use a glass Hurricane and just put a candle in it?
Hi Ronda, The hurricane is for fire safety to prevent the flame from ever touching the wood.
Kendra Burnham says
Hello, Can you tell me the dimensions of all the lanterns. I cant make them out on the plans. Thank you so much these are perfect!
Patricia Fraser says
How do I get plans for wooden lanterns?
Hi Patricia, the plans are linked in the post above.
Bryan Hinkle says
How were you able to hold the pieces and glue and staple them on without any movement
Hi Bryan, Wood glue and brad nails.
Wouldn’t it be easier to sand and stain the dowels and base before assembly ?
Just wondering why that wasn’t done first,
Hi Mandy, yes you can do it that way. No reason that’s just how I did it.
Bryan Hinkle says
What sizes candles and hurricanes did you use for smalls and large size lanterns and what was the website you got them from
Hi Bryan, the candles and hurricanes specs are listed above under Sources.
Hello! Love love love! What sizes are the candle pillars and hurricane glass in the small and large?
Hi Katelynn, I believe I used all 3″ wide pillar candles and they come in 3″h and 6″ height so it was all mix and match. The glass hurricanes are all 4″ wide and they come in 6″h, 10″ and 14″. So for the small lantern I used a 3″h candle with a 6″h hurricane. But the large lanterns can take 6″h candle with a 10″ or 14″ hurricane.
Crystal Collins says
These are beautiful and I am so thankful for the plans. What a blessing. Thank you! Did you seal them in any way? And can I ask why or why not?
Thanks Crystal, the wood lanterns are not sealed – no need.