Introduction to the Dupe
This Pottery Barn inspired wooden lantern is my first dupe. I haven’t really done a “dupe” post before. If you are not familiar with the concept, it’s when we crafty bloggers (and you tubers) take a product from a high end company and make a cheaper version that when finished costs substantially less than the name brand product. Quite often these dupes are done with supplies from the dollar store. So I specifically went looking for something to dupe and I found these really beautiful lanterns from Pottery Barn, which are made from mango wood. I think one of the things that makes them so beautiful is their simplicity.Funny thing, when I first looked these up, I thought it was $90 for the whole set. But nope, that is just the cost of the smallest one! The whole set will run you about $440, and that’s on sale!!! And in US dollars, since I’m doing mine in Canadian coin.
So my task is to replicate these wooden lanterns, using easily attainable supplies for a fraction of the cost of the high end version, then you can have them in your house for a fraction of the price AND you can make them yourself!!!
This is such an easy project. NO REASON you shouldn’t have these in your house or on your deck right now. Let’s DO THIS!
Wooden Lantern Supplies
Here are the small amount of supplies you will need to complete this project
Wooden box with lid (dollar store)
Cinnamon Brown Craft Paint (dollar store)
.75″ x .75″ wooden trim – 12′
Foam brush (dollar store)
Wooden Embroidery Hoop
Dupe vs Inspiration
Although this wooden lantern project started out as a dupe, I may have strayed just a tiny bit, because the little wooden boxes that I picked up at the dollar store were so pretty that I just couldn’t cover them up with a solid piece of wood, to keep them looking exactly like the pottery barn version. Also, I didn’t realize how large the originals of these were ,until after I had made mine. But that’s okay. They are still really stylish and work well for the house or the deck. As a matter of fact, my finished set now has a place of honour on my living room coffee table.
But I digress, you haven’t even made your set yet, so let’s do that now.
Components and Preparation
Here is the lid of the box that I used. I got this one at Dollarama.The dimensions are 6″ x 6.” It’s such a pretty little box for only $3.50. Since the box has a latched lid, the first step was to remove the latches, using a tiny screw-driver. and then do a quick sand to remove any raised areas. The bottom of the box will still be the bottom of your lantern, but we will be flipping it upside down, so that the open side is facing down. I kept all of the latches and hinges, for some future project 🙂
One of the things that makes these lanterns so pretty is the mango wood that they are made from, which gives it such a beautiful colour. In order to get a similar tone on our dollar store box, I have used craft paint in a shade called cinnamon brown. Then I just mixed the paint about 50/50 with water, so that it acts more like a stain than paint. If we just painted over the wood instead of doing this pseudo-stain application, we would have a solid colour, and would not get the grains from the wood showing through.
Mix up a 50/50 mixture of paint and water in a bowl and apply it to the top and bottom of the box using a foam brush. If the paint is too opaque, add a bit more water. You want the wood grain to show through. You will need to apply stain to the top of the box on both sides and the side pieces cut from trim, as well as the embroidery hoop
The box provided the top and bottom of the lantern body. For the sides of the lantern, I went with a piece of wood that I purchased from the lumber store. It is a 11/16″ x 11/16″ piece of wood trim. I bought a 12′ length for about $20, it was about $1.70/linear foot. You don’t need to use this exact size, it would work fine with 1/2″, 3/4″ or even 1″. Just go and see what you can find at the lumber or home improvement store. Check for cheaper off-cuts.
I worked out how to get all 3 wooden lanterns out of the one piece of wood. So, I put on my math hat and came up with the follwing sizes for the 3 lanterns sides. Note that this is just for the “stick”portion that makes up the sides of the lantern
small: 9″ (9″x 4=36″)
medium: 12″ (12″x 4=48″)
large: 15″ (15″x 4=60″)
36+48+60=144″ or 12′
See! I worked that our perfectly for you, so that you don’t have to do math!! If you need to cut the wood to fit your vehicle, cut it at 5, 4 and 3 foot lengths. I cut these using a chop saw, but they could easily be cut with a hand saw. You need to make sure that they are all even, or the top of your lantern will be crooked. If you have access to a chop saw, cut them all to length and then cut them again all side by side and trim the ends using one cut so that they are EXACTLY the same size. You are just taking off about 1/8″
Putting Together your DIY Wooden Lantern
So at this point you will have your box stained and your side pieces cut to length and stained. Once everything is dry and stained to your satisfaction, glue the legs into the top portion of the box. Using E6000, add a drop of glue into the corner that will be tucked into the lid, and on the outside edges that will be touching the sides of the lid. Alternatively, you could apply the glue to the lid instead. Either way will work. Then press the sides into the top and use a clamp to hold it in place. I picked up a set of clamps at the dollar store and they were awesome. Once you have all of the sides glued in and clamped, as in the photo above, take a minute to place it legs down onto the base piece, just to make sure that you don’t need to make any adjustments. After making any necessary adjustments, just let it dry overnight. Once it’s dry remove the clamps, and apply a blob of glue to the ends of the sides/legs. Then attach this to the bottom of the box. Make sure everything is even, and then wipe off any excess glue. Weight it down and leave overnight to dry.
Applying Clear Coat
I applied 1-2 coats of Valspar Clear Gloss. Any clear gloss or Satin spray top coat will do. If you intend to use your lanterns outside, make sure you choose one that is formulated for exterior use. Although, I would only suggest using these in a covered outdoor space.
Making the Handles
To make the handles I used a small embroidery hoop. I bought mine a Michael’s for $2.50. Apply the stain to the hoop the same as you did to the rest of the wood pieces. Then using a piece of paper, trace around the hoop, and then use a ruler to mark the center. Draw a line across the centre, mark the cut lines on the embroidery hoop, and cut using scissors or tin snips if you have them. You will get a cleaner cut with tin snips or aviation snips. But scissors will do in a pinch.
Attaching the Handles
Take a half circle section of the embroidery hoop and decide where to attach it on the top. Then add a blob – that is the technical measurement term 🙂 – of E6000 to each end, and place it onto the top. Make sure it is entered and plumb (level vertically).
Watching vs Reading
If you are a visual person and would prefer to watch this one video click here.
The last thing you need to do is to add your candles. I would not suggest using real wax candles as it will probably burn the wooden of these wooden lanterns. I only use wax candles when these are indoors, for display purposes. A little advice, do not use wax candles outside, unless they are in a holder. I once had a wax candle sitting in a metal candle holder outside, and it melted all over EVERYTHING. Lesson learned!
A Few Disclaimers
Even though these are very light weight, I would not recommend carrying these by their handles. Also, if you are using these outside, I would use them in a covered area, and avoid exposing them to rain.
Here is the breakdown of costs
Wood: 36 x $1.7 = $5.1
.25 embroidery hoop =.$060
Total = $9.2
Wood: 48 x $1.7 = $6.80
.25 embroidery hoop =$0.60
Total = $10.80
Wood: 60 x $1.7 = $8.50
.25 embroidery hoop =$0.60
Total = $12.60
Total for the set $32.50. And honestly, I’m sure you could do it for cheaper, for one thing I’m in Canada, and everything is more expensive here – but we have free medical 😉 And you will probably be able to get cheaper trim wood than I did. I just went to my closest store, which in this case, is definitely not the cheapest one. Some days I’m just too lazy to drive for a bargain.
Here are some shots of them all done up in a few different settings. I loved these so much when they were finished that they are sitting on my coffee table in the living room. Look at me with my expensive Pottery Barn decor 😉
And here is my version
I hope you enjoyed this, I will definitely be doing more of these posts. Next week, I am going to be doing the look for less challenge, hosted by Yami the Latina next door, (I had better get crafting!!) on my youtube channel, so come and check it out!
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