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How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns

These DIY wooden lanterns drew so much attention on our Instagram preview that we’re so excited to share them with you here! We built these rustic farmhouse wooden lanterns for our sunroom refresh.

We wanted to get out the old blue lamps and replace with something fresh. If you’re interested in recreating, scroll down and learn how to build DIY wooden lanterns yourself!

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted

I love how simple it is to build these DIY wooden lanterns. I was honestly nervous about it and this project turned into a very simple one. 

Aspects of the Project

The easiest thing for this project was to make all the cuts first, then assemble.

There are multiples of a lot of the pieces which makes it best to set your saw and cut them all at once.

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted

The measuring, cutting and sanding of this project took about an hour, then the build itself took less than half an hour.

Add some staining and the project is done in under two hours.

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted

You’ll notice in the plans that I only used a brad nailer to assemble these DIY lanterns.

Since these are decorative and won’t have any day-to-day wear, they don’t need to be fully glued or screwed together.

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted

When these rustic lanterns were done, I used wood filler over all the nail holes and the cracks to make them seamless.

Then I stained them dark walnut.

This matched our bar on the other side of the room and counterbalanced the new geometric coffee table and waterfall side table that I just built for the room.

Be sure to check out our Dark Walnut by Minwax wood stain review!

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted

The piece that really brings this lantern together is the giant ring on top. That’s actually a towel ring that we got from Liberty Hardware.

The towel rings are perfect for this project because they have a flat area to glue onto the lantern that would normally be flush with a wall.

In oil rubbed bronze, these really round out the look.

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted

We also had quite the discussion on lights for these wooden lanterns.

We talked about adding a light kit, but we didn’t really want them to be so functional as we will later use them as decor somewhere else.

You could put a real candle (as long as the flame is low enough from the top), or a mason jar with a tea light.

For functionality, we decided to go with simple touch lamps that look a little like candles themselves.

We like that these are easy to use and provide enough light to accent the room.

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted
How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted


I also think there there are some great ideas for decorations for these lanterns, outside of your home.

Honestly, these lanterns are simple enough to make that they would be great for a wedding centerpiece.

Putting a small vase of flowers in them would be an amazing touch for an outdoor wedding especially.

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted

Below you’ll find the full step-by-step instructions for how to build DIY wooden lanterns.

These rustic lanterns are perfect for lots of spaces. You can print the instruction card and make them yourself!

Please let us know if you build them by tagging @CharlestonCrafted on your Instagram post about them!

How to Build DIY Wooden Lanterns - Charleston Crafted
Yield: 1

How to Build Wooden Lanterns

Prep Time: 1 hour
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Medium
Estimated Cost: $10-50

These rustic farmhouse wooden lanterns are perfect to fit in several decor schemes. These wooden lanterns are easy to build and can be customized with any paint or stain.


  • One 2"x4" board
  • One 2'x2' piece of 1/2" plywood
  • 1" and 2" brad nails
  • One towel ring
  • Glue


  • Miter saw
  • Table Saw
  • Brad nailer
  • Measuring tape


  1. Start off by cutting your 2x4 into 1"x1" strips.
  2. Next make all the following cuts, then sand:

Bottom Plywood (1)- 12"x12"

Top Plywood (1)- 12"x5"

Plywood Ring Holder (4)- two 3 1/2" and two 2 1/2" long, all by 1 1/2" tall

Legs (4)- 22" with parallel 10 degree mitered ends

Bottom Supports (4)- 10", two with 10 degree mitered ends to 9 3/4" and two without

Long Top Supports (2)- 10"

Short Top Supports (2)- 3 1/4", with 10 degree mitered ends to 3"

Legs (4)- 1"x1"x1"

  1. Nail two legs into opposing corners of the bottom plywood, with their angles facing each other. Then nail one of the angled bottom supports in between them. Repeat on the opposing side.
  2. Nail in the two straight sided bottom supports on the other two sides of the bottom plywood to secure all the legs together at the base.
  3. Nail the top plywood onto the top of the legs at the corners.
  4. Nail in the top supports, using the long top supports on the long side and the angled short top supports on the short sides.
  5. Nail the four feet into the underside corners of the bottom plywood.
  6. Nail together your ring holder by nailing the short pieces to the interior edges of the longer pieces. Then attach centered to the top of the top plywood.
  7. Fill and sand smooth all nail holes and edges, then stain or paint.
  8. Use glue to attach the towel ring inside of the towel ring holder.


  • Measure the diameter of the base of whatever towel ring you select. You may need to adjust the interior dimensions of your towel ring holder based on that. The interior dimensions of this is 2 1/2"x2 1/2".
  • Use 2" nails to attach the legs to the top and bottom plywood and the feet into the bottom. Use 1" nails to attach everything else

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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    I am so in love with this design! I can't wait to whip a few of these out just in time for summer.

    Hi there,

    My name is Melissa and I am a fellow blogger at and am the administrator of a successful tribe on Tailwind. I love your work and would love to invite you to be part of my tribe. I was one of the first DIY and Crafting tribes on tailwind and have currently had a reach of over 10 million viewers on Pinterest. Here is the invitation if you are at all interested! Cheers.

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