9 DIY Lanterns to Illuminate Your Porch, Patio, or Garden

When the weather gets warm, outdoor living heats up, and porches and patios become the place to be. As your sunny days shift to balmy nights, add some atmosphere to your garden and yard with lanterns. Whether you want to make one lantern for a dining table, or a whole string of lanterns for the deck railing, there is a DIY lantern design to suit your needs and style. Fanciful and frivolous, or simply elegant, lanterns don't require much time or money to make, and they delightfully elevate the ambience of your outdoor spaces. Take a cue from one of these great DIY lantern ideas, and bask in the glow of gleaming light this evening.

  1. Tin Cans

    DIY Tin Can Lights

    Even a small supply of empty tin cans is just steps away from becoming a collection of DIY lanterns. Mark out a design with ink, and then fill the can with water and freeze it—the ice will give the can support during the next step. Punch the design out with an awl or metal punch. Spray it with paint or leave it plain, and your lantern will give you a starry starry night, no matter what the weather.

    Related: 16 Insanely Clever Ways to Reuse Household Junk

    WikiHow.com via How to Make Garden Lanterns under Creative Commons license

  2. Glowing Orbs

    DIY Orb Lanterns

    Bring together some thrift store globe shades and old Christmas lights for a knockout look in your garden. Click over to The Art of Doing Stuff to get the full tutorial. Use an outdoor-rated extension cord, of course, then kick back to enjoy the atmosphere.

    Related: 8 New Ideas for DIY Outdoor Lighting


  3. Wine Bottle Torch

    DIY Wine Bottle Torch

    If you are plagued by mosquitoes on your patio, put together DIY tiki torches using recycled wine bottles and a few supplies from a hardware store. Open flames create wonderful ambience, and they keep bugs at bay.

    Related: How To Turn Wine Bottles into Romantic Lanterns

    etsy.com via BottlesUncorked

  4. Paper Bags

    DIY Paper Bag Light

    Create beautiful luminaries with items that you probably already have in the house. Cut or punch designs into a lunch bag, then place a heaping cup of sand, rice, or beans inside. Set a votive candle inside, and light! The process is so simple and safe, even kids can take part in this project. Line a walkway, porch, or table with them for affordable and charming outdoor decor.

    Related: Upgrade Simple String Lights on a Shoestring Budget


  5. Doilies and Candles

    DIY Doily Light

    Bring some old-world romance to your garden party. Spray a lace doily with adhesive and place it onto a clean glass jar. Wrap the rim with burlap, ribbon, or twine. With a lit tea light or votive candle inside, it's utterly enchanting.

    Related: 5 Things to Do with Mason Jars


  6. Mason Jars

    DIY Mason Jar Light

    Put together these pretty luminaries from The Inspired Room in a quick minute. Pour Epsom salt into a mason jar and set a votive candle inside. The salt looks especially festive and snowy in winter, but these make a delightful display any time of year.

    Related: 10 Ways to Use Epsom Salts in the Garden


  7. Full of Color

    DIY Tissue Paper Light

    Cast a kaleidoscope of color around your outdoor space. Cut brightly colored tissue paper into small shapes and decoupage them onto a glass jar. If you don’t already have decoupage medium, a 50/50 solution of water and white glue will work just as well. Insert your favorite candle, and enjoy the colorful glow.


  8. Twine

    DIY Twine Light

    Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon and let it dry. Pop the balloon and spray-paint the twine sphere. Fill with twinkling string lights, and you have webbed lighting fit for a home design magazine.

    Related: 9 DIYs to String Together with Twine

    instructables.com via dbeylina under Creative Commons license

  9. Glow Sticks

    DIY Glow Stick Light

    Although any lantern can light up the night, those powered by glow sticks are especially fanciful. Creating your own glow in a dark lantern is as easy as 1-2-3. Check the tutorial at Creative Green Living for full details. These lanterns can last up to a week, depending on the strength of the chemicals and the temperature outside.

    Related: 9 Super Practical Products You Can Power with Sunshine


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