Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hanging Wood Lanterns

My daughter and I released ourselves of a weekend "cabin fever" stint and went to Lowe's on Saturday.  After returning from Lowe's, I tackled several mini-projects, including installing a small kitchen track light, repainting the legs of our herringbone console table to an off white color, cutting and assembling a "Wooden Lantern Tree," and finally, building and finishing 3 hanging wood lanterns, inspired by this photograph.  The lanterns are about 6" tall and 4" wide with a sort of rustic look that I enjoy.

All 3 hanging wood lanterns.
2 - 3/4" x 1" x 4' parting beads $4
1 - 1/4" x 4" x 3" pine board Already owned (scrap)
1 - pack of 3 paper lantern battery-operated lights $21 (purchased from Pier 1 when we bought the Papasan Chair)

Miter saw, wood glue (Titebond III), 3/4" wire bradshammer, Watco Danish Oil in Black Walnut, drill with 3/16 bit.  Already owned

The amount I paid is based on pricing in Hawai'i. 
These hanging wood lanterns cost $25.00 to build, with the bulk of the cost coming from the battery lights.

Current living room budget breakdown:
Still $175.00 left to spend to make a coffee table, sofa slipcovers, pillows, and decor.  I also want to build a media console, but I am not sure I could stretch our dollars that far.  :)

I cut 6" pieces (12) and 2.5" pieces (12).  I came up with these measurements based on how much material I had an a ballpark of how large I wanted the lanterns.
Using wood glue, I made 6 U shapes.  I used the 6 unglued 2.5" pieces to hold the shape of the top of the U frame.
When the U shapes were stable, I stood them up and used the 2.5" unglued top spacers to create the rest of the bottom frame.  Each lantern used 4 of the 6" posts and and 4 of the 2.5" stretchers/spacers.  (Psst: I highly recommend buying the 16 oz. Titebond III vs. the 8 oz. Titebond III.  At Lowe's, I saw that the 16 oz. was only about $1 more than the 8 oz.  Opportunity cost on the buyer's side!)
I cut the thin pine board to size, with 45 degree angled edges.  I originally was going to make triangular tops like the inspiration photo, but it was too difficult and time consuming for me to design on the fly.  The angled edges stayed, as it added interest to the top.  I screwed 2 holes at the top and used wire brad nails around the frame base and on the top to secure the pieces.  I did not countersink the nails, as I wanted the brad heads to show.  I also did not drill the holes consistently from one lantern to the next or evenly spaced, either.  It wasn't that important to me that they be perfect.
I discovered the beauty of wood glue when I made the herringbone top for our entryway/kitchen console table and used it generously for this project.
Since I designed these as I went along, based on what was doable in an afternoon and what materials I had on hand, I made a prototype of one of the lanterns and then "assembly lined" the remaining two.  Since I was using material available to me at home already, I could not have forced a plan for these lanterns.  The creative process is amazing, in that at the beginning of the day, I had ideas and at the end of the day after most of the ideas did not quite go as expected, I still had a product that I liked.
After 1 coat of Danish Oil was applied and dried, I attached the battery operated lights which came with white rope.  I double knotted each string, fed the ends through the holes from the underside, double knotted from the top of the screw holes, and tied the ends in a bow.  Now they are ready for our Wooden Lantern Tree, which I will hopefully finish painting tonight!

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