Make Wooden Lanterns for Under $10

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Learn how to build a rustic wooden lantern perfect for your Fall porch decor for under $10!

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

When I saw some beautiful but simple wooden outdoor lanterns at an expensive store, they inspired me to build my own. These rustic lanterns look beautiful on either side of my door, and they cost me less than $10 each to make!

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

I only used 2 1/2 pieces of 2x2x8 spruce wood to make each lantern, and they came together quickly and beautifully. I love how they look with pumpkins inside, and they also look lovely with flameless candles and faux flowers.

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

You could make these with hand tools, but they come together so easily with the help of a mitre saw and nail gun. They’re a great beginner’s woodworking project because they’re so simple!

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

Ready to build one? Use the directions below, or watch the video at the bottom of this post to learn how!

For this project, I used 2 1/2 pieces of 2 x 2 x 8 spruce wood for each lantern.

Cut List:

(All 2 x 2 spruce wood)

  • 11 x 7 1/2″ long
  • 2 x 10 1/2″ long
  • 4 x 21″ long

Other tools & supplies:

  • mitre saw
  • stain or paint
  • foam brush
  • sanding block
  • wood glue
  • nail gun
  • old wire clothes hanger
  • pliers

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

First, cut all of your pieces of wood with a mitre saw. Once cut, give each piece a quick sand to smooth it out.

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

Stain or paint all of your pieces. I used Varathane’s Weathered Wood Acceleratorย (given to me by Rustoleum Canada).

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

Once the stain is dry, place 7 of the 7 1/2″ wood pieces in a row and sandwich them between the two 10 1/4″ pieces as show above. Use a finishing nail gun to nail the pieces together. I nailed through the long pieces into the ends of the short pieces. This creates your lantern base.

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

Next, put the base on its side, and position one of the 21″ wood pieces to one of the corners of the base, squaring it with your work surface and the base. Nail the two pieces together with the nail gun, through the bottom of the base into the end of the tall wood piece. Repeat this step for all four long pieces.

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

Then, put some wood glue on the ends of the remaining 7 1/2″ long wood pieces, and place them between the top ends of the vertical 21″ long pieces as shown above. Secure them together with the nail gun. I added glue to these pieces so that they wouldn’t spin.

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

Finally, create a handle by cutting the end of a wire clothes hanger off with wire cutters, bending it into a handle shape, and wrapping each end around the top sides of your lantern. Use pliers to twist the ends together to secure the handle.

DIY Rustic Wooden Lantern for Under $10

Decorate the lantern as you wish with seasonal decor like pumpkins, or with lanterns and flowers.

Watch my video below to learn how to make this beautiful, rustic DIY wooden lantern for under $10:

Happy building!


  1. Hey Christina,
    Unbelievable! what a stunning look but under $10. I appreciate your DIY concept and your organized presentation. Make wooden lantern was a great learning experience.

  2. I know I’m really late to the party here, but wondering how they held up with the nail into the end grain for the vertical posts? I was thinking about doing this, but was concerned about the sturdiness and longevity of the lanterns.

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