This DIY lantern lamp is one of those projects that is both incredibly genius and incredibly obvious all at the same time.
Recently I replaced a bunch of candle lanterns on our porch with some fun string lights. Since I have an inexplicable need to repurpose all the things, I knew I needed to find a way to reuse some of the lanterns. That is when inspiration struck – turn one into a lamp! The basic idea is so simple. Take the candle out of an old lantern and put a light bulb socket inside instead. Simple. The only thing that is complicated is figuring out the actual details of how to turn a lantern into a lamp.
I’ve got all those details for you, plus, even better, I’ve also got 10 other DIY lamp ideas to share. I teamed up with some of my favorite creative bloggers to bring you Lamp-alooza! All the lamp inspiration you could need. But first, my genius/obvious lantern lamp.
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Materials for DIY lantern lamp
Light socket with lamp cord – if you buy a different one, just make sure it has a switch on the lamp cord, you don’t want to have to open the lantern every time you turn the lamp on or off
a strong glue – I used DAP RapidFuse All Purpose Adhesive
How to turn a lantern into a lamp
In order to get the lightbulb socket into the lantern, you have to do a little bit of work. And it involves messing with wires. That sounds scary and dangerous, but it really isn’t even that complicated. And it isn’t particularly scary either – the wires you are messing with aren’t even connected to an electrical source.
(Of course, as always, if you attempt this project, it is at your own risk. I am not a certified electrician. Be sure to take safety precautions. And definitely do not plug in the lamp while you are working on it!)
These directions work perfectly for sockets like the one I used. (If you would prefer to use a lamp cord and separate socket, you can use the directions found in this post.)
First you need to take the socket apart a bit. Use a flat head screwdriver to gently pop the socket apart.
Then unscrew the three sections.
Carefully snip each wire using wire cutters.
Strip a small section of the protective coating from each wire end. Slip the rest of the socket parts off the wire.
Thread the lamp cord through a hole in the top of your lantern. Even if your lantern does not look like mine, it almost certainly has some sort of hole in the top. (Assuming it was originally made for candles, the candle smoke had to have somewhere to go.)
Put the bottom socket parts back on the cord once it is through the lantern.
Reattach the two cords by twisting the exposed wires together. Completely cover all of the exposed wiring with electrical tape.
Pop the socket back together and the wiring is done. (That might have seemed like a lot of steps, but it was seriously less than ten minutes of work.)
At this point everything is all wired up, but the socket was just hanging loosely. Originally, I used duct tape to secure the socket to the top of the lantern. Take it from me, don’t do that. It only lasted about a week, before the tape gave out. Luckily I came up with a different solution that is much better.
I used a tiny Command clear decorating hook which is the perfect size for holding an electrical cord in place. Of course, I wanted to be sure everything stayed firmly in place. So instead of using the little adhesive strip that comes with the hook, I attached the hook to the top of my lantern with a strong adhesive. (I used DAP Rapidfuse All Purpose Adhesive, a really strong glue that will basically bind anything to anything.)
As for the cord to plug in the lamp, I used silver duct tape to attach it firmly to the back of the lantern out of sight. If you are using a different color lantern, just use the appropriate color tape to secure your cord out of sight.
My lantern also had a small metal spike at the bottom of the lantern to hold a candle in place. It wasn’t in the way, but it seemed like a bad idea to leave a pointy spike below a dangling lightbulb. I just snipped it off with my wire cutters. It took a bit of muscle, but wasn’t difficult.
And we had a lamp!
I really love this little lantern light. The Edison style light bulb is really important. A regular old light bulb would not be a good look. After doing some research, I chose an LED Edison bulb. The LED bulbs are more energy efficient, last longer, and from what I read, give out a less yellow light. I read tons of reviews (because I’m obsessive like that) and I have been very happy with the bulb I chose. It looks good both lit and unlit. The color of the light is similar to that of regular incandescent light bulbs (instead of overly yellow). And the amount of light it gives off is perfect for a lamp. It isn’t enough to illuminate a room, but is way brighter than a nightlight. Perfect for lighting a dark corner or lighting a hallway at night.
I tried it out in our foyer and it looked amazing.
But I actually made it to go in my son Griffin’s room, so I reluctantly moved it there.
Luckily it looks great in there too. And it is the perfect fit for his little explorer bedroom. I wanted to hang it on the wall next to his bed, but then I remembered he is a three year old and there is no way it would last a week dangling next to the bed.
So instead it is on top of his dresser. (His tall dresser). It is safely out of reach and he is more than happy to leave it that way as long as he can use the switch to turn it on and off whenever he wants.
I’d love for you to pin this so you can remember it!
And now you’ve got to check out the rest of lamp-alooza! There are 10 more awesome lamp makeovers to check out.
Casa Watkins Living: DIY Mud Cloth Lamp
Pocketful of Posies: Vintage Desk Lamp Revamp
Lehman Lane: DIY Hanging Light
One Mile Home Style: DIY Golden Atlas Lamp
The Twin Cedars: No Cost Lamp Revamp
Lovey Etc: DIY Lantern Lamp
This Is Our Bliss: DIY Color Block Lamp
Green With Decor: Old Lamp Update with Twine
DIY Beautify: Light Fixture Makeover with Mason Jars
Creatively Homespun: DIY Car Parts Lamp
My Life From Home: DIY Coffee Pot Lamp