Nothing is better than soft, natural lighting while spending time outdoors in the evening hours. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my garden lighting to have some character! Lighting in the garden is really important if you spend any time outdoors after the sun goes down, and it should definitely be more than switching on a porch light. We found these projects that show us how to make a DIY garden lantern perfect for that spring night or that winter holiday glow, or any night in between!

How to Make a Garden Lantern

Recently we came across this great idea for using old insulators to create one of a kind garden lanterns at ‘Vintage Ambience‘, a vintage rental company in the Seattle area. We love these because of the soft color, the gentle glow, the re-purposing of the insulators and the easy and quick nature of the project itself! These old style insulators can be found at antique shops or architectural salvage. There are a few that have become collectable and are quite expensive, but you can still find plenty in the ten dollar range or less. Here’s how to make a unique garden lantern!

Step one: Using floral wire, encircle the middle of the insulator with a “girdle” of wire, twist to secure and then bend back the excess wire onto itself.

Step two: Create a large loop with the wire for the “handle” of the lantern. Attach to the wire on each side to the “girdle” , twist to secure, bend back if necessary.

Step three: Fill the opening with a little sand, then drop a votive candle into the top of the insulator. Hang and light! Easy, unique way to add wonderful garden lighting for any time of year. We love this project!

Ananda at ‘Piece of Rainbow‘ has a complete tutorial for her faux metal star DIY lanterns. These lanterns are made from card stock! She has a complete downloadable pattern for this project for you too. Obviously, these can’t be left out in the weather, but can you imagine them for a party or BBQ? Love these! Reading this post on how to make a garden lantern isn’t the same old boring ideas, right?

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These Pottery Barn inspired DIY garden lanterns from Lo at ‘A Lo and Behold Life‘ have a really cool coastal vibe, but I think they would fit into a lot of garden spaces. The rope gives it an organic feel, and the project is easy enough with good directions and photos! Check out her home tour while you are there… Pretty!

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So any of you who have been around for awhile know that we love a good glass of wine out in the garden. Preferably red, from right up the road here here in Washington state, but hey, that’s another subject! So when we saw this hanging wine bottle garden lantern from ‘First Step Designs‘ on Etsy, we were quite ready to have some shipped right out. (And still may, BTW! Great price for these!) If you want to try your hand at DIY’ing this, try this tutorial on ‘Instructables‘.

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These candle DIY lanterns from ‘Made in a Day‘ are an inexpensive project. Use vases you already have or grab some cheap ones from ikea, they’ll look great no matter what. This post has great instructions and photos to go along with this fun DIY project.

three rope lanterns with candles and a Seastar inside for decor

Finally, we love these Pottery Barn knock off sea glass hanging votives from Johnnie at ‘Saved by Love Creations‘. She made these for $3! Since PB’s version costs $60, I think this is a tutorial well worth popping over to, don’t you?

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Did you enjoy learning how to make a DIY garden lantern? Perfect! Then jump on over to our posts on DIY Tabletop Fire Bowls and Garden Containers you Never Thought Of!

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  1. vu January 3, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Very creative .I will do it.

  2. Mary October 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I also wired several of these insulators and love the tea lights in them. You can also take the tops off of those small solar lights. They fit right on top of the insulator. If you have them in the sun, in a garden, they will charge during the day and glow at night. So pretty!

  3. Julia September 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I had one of these insulators on hand, and found two more at a garage sale yesterday. I wired them and hung them on our front porch eaves last night. I also wired up a couple small mason jars to go with. We sat out there and enjoyed visiting by candle light. Very nice ambiance. Thanks for sharing that idea!

    1. Kathy Woodard September 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Glad that idea worked for you!


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