Inglewood Craftsman Home

Restoring our 1906 home in Inglewood CA on a budget

DIY Edison Bulb Lantern Light Fixture

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When we moved in, this shiny candelabra illuminated the front entryway. Naturally, it was one of the first fixtures to go.oldchandelier

I knew I wanted something more appropriate to the house, but I wasn’t sure what. The entryway sets the tone for a home, and the ceilings are high enough to have something hanging. I found a few craftsman-style chandeliers, but all were expensive and none stood out as THE fixture to add.

IMG_20130613_224251_948Then, during a Ross visit, I saw two wooden lanterns. Little black tea light holders at the bottom informed me of their intended use, but I immediately thought to make fixtures out of them. The larger lantern cost around $12; the smaller, $8. I believe both of them are cedar (sniff-test). This project ended up being more work than I’d expected, though; of course, no project comes without a surprise.

1) Disassemble lanterns and remove tea light holders. This was the kicker I realized after the first disassembly- the glass panes aren’t exactly uniform, meaning each one is specific to the side it came from! Make sure to label the sides as they come out, especially if they’re cheap. For these, the disassembly simply meant delicately removing all the screws with a drill.

2) Stain all lantern parts, even the small pieces that hold in the glass. Do everything both inside and out- and don’t forget the bottom, since you’ll see it when the fixture is hanging! I used a dark stain for the lantern I hung outside, and a reddish stain to match the interior for the entryway lantern. Again, as these appear to be cedar, they’re quite thirsty. I didn’t wipe off as much of the stain as I normally would have, since it just absorbed in.

3) Reassemble lantern. If you didn’t follow the advice in step 1, you’ll have to do some trial and error putting the panes on the correct sides. Screw the little holders back in. If those tiny pieces of wood cracked upon removal, just make sure you’ve got the sides mostly covered. The glass won’t  exactly be bouncing around, so don’t worry too much. If you’re worried, get some small pieces of wood and stain them the same color.00920140324.205641_IMG_9948 copy

4) Build the fixture. We took 4 separate switchable light sockets from Home Depot and wired them together. We cut a piece of wood to fit the top area of the lantern, stained it the same color as the lantern, and used a cutting drill bit to put four holes in it that would fit the sockets. Then, we just screwed in the wood and dropped the sockets in. I chose and ordered some long Edison-style bulbs to complete the authentic look.

5) Connect and hang the fixture. We also had to purchase a basic light-hanging kit: it came with the ceiling mount and a chain, and we chose one close to the shade of the lantern. After we cut the chain to the desired length, we hung the lantern from its hook at the top and installed the light fixture like any other fixture.

Voila! A relatively cheap and easy light fixture that looks antique!

00820140324.210113_IMG_9983 copy

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4 thoughts on “DIY Edison Bulb Lantern Light Fixture

  1. My son saw this wooden lantern conversion and wants one. He asked his dad to try to build it out of wood, but we’re trying to locate the source for the lantern you used. Can you help?

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    • Hey Brenda, thanks for the question! It would be pretty tough to make one, since you’d have to cut the glass to fit. I got it at Ross, and unfortunately their stock changes so often I wouldn’t be able to track it down! http://www.Etsy.com has a ton of wooden lanterns, some of which are vintage/antique. I recommend hunting through Etsy!

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  2. Pingback: “Domestic Journeys”, or How to Make the Most of Unsolicited Opinions | Inglewood Craftsman Home

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