While living in New Orleans, I became a little obsessed with lanterns. They are a huge part of design and detail there. Most homes have gas lanterns on the porches. A few homes have them as a dining room chandelier or as sconces. To me, lanterns are a great coastal design elements without going too nautical or beachy. They are classic and never go out of style.
I started shopping a lantern chandelier in New Orleans as soon as I found out we were moving back to Texas. Having a piece of NOLA in Texas was important to me. So I set out shopping with a reasonable budget and fount nothing. Everything was too expensive or gas when I needed hardwire, electric.
A few months before the move, I had seen Kristen from Lipstick and Sawdust do a DIY Lantern tutorial. It is brilliant! Check it out here. The concept is to take any lantern and make it a hardwire light but using electrical parts from another, older chandelier. Easy enough in theory and has the potential of being very cheap.
After not finding something to work within my price range, I decided a DIY project was the only way. I started shopping for a lantern with the above tutorial in mind. A lantern with character, that wasn’t too heavy, large enough to have lights put inside, and would look pretty hanging.
I had to have it. It was what I was looking for. It had character. It was coastal without being too nautical or beachy. It was blue and I liked the shade so I didn’t need to paint it. No one else would have one. It was perfect. I bought it that day and had it shipped to Texas.
When we got to Texas I started shopping for a chandelier I could tear apart. I found this beauty was hanging in a local junk store.
I brought it home and got to work. I took out the candle part, electrical wires, chain and other necessary parts. I used chrome spray paint from Lowes and sprayed all the metal parts.
The lantern I purchased was not meant to be a hanging lantern so my dad helped me add extra support to it. Between my engineer dad and my genius problem solving mind, we came up with a plan. The problem with my lantern was the way it opened and close/was designed was while hanging, all the weight would be put on the hinges and closure. I felt the hardware and wood couldn’t handle the weight. We added a support bar that is connected to the metal “guts” and extra closures to distribute the weight.
* If you decide to do something similar, be sure the lantern is supported and can hang safely and be mindful that the metal “guts” add a lot of weight to the already heavy lantern. Also, be sure to purchase a hook with a sheet rock bracket or a heavy duty ceiling anchor if you hang the light. I found one that holds up to 30 lbs. After two years, it is still going strong.
Here is what was hanging in the dining room before.
And here is my lantern!
IT IS PERFECT. One of my favorite projects in our home and it was extremely affordable!
Cost Break Down
Lantern – $90
Chandilier – $50
Paint – $10
Misc parts needed – $20
TOTAL – $170
That’s a big savings compared to the $600-800 lanterns at lighting stores. One of a kind for $170 is a great deal.