Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Lantern (Tutorial)

The popularity of lanterns has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years. They are an instant centerpiece and easy focal point. I found one earlier this year at Home Goods, so I thought I'd show you how you can dress up a simple lantern and add some personality, especially for fall and the coming season.

Hunt and gather:

Fall leaves




assorted fall trimmings


Wire cutters


glue pan or gun


I love my wooden one but, but I've seen them in all kinds of finishes and colors. Don't have a lantern? Try this on the side of a decorative birdcage, or even a birdhouse. By the way, this is on a lazy makes arrangements easy to work on and spin around, this is not required. Unless you design for a living, then I recommend it. :)

I used burlap ribbon (I used something other than plaid!), but you can use any type that you have. I tied a bow, and using the wire, tied (wired) it on the top of the lantern.
This is the side view. I start with the bow first, because everything will be based around it. Also, I wanted this removable and the wire allows easy on and off.

Next, fall folliage acts as a base too, use the wire from the bow to wire on the leaves. On this particular lantern, there is a lot of space around the bow to add things.

Start filling in around the ribbon with berries and small leaves and grasses. Don't forget to fill in around the back too, you don't want it to be lop-sided and only pretty from the front.

Add in the pinecones and continue filling in

Once you feel like you've added just the right amount, add some candles. I have real ones in here, but I want to start using the flameless kind. The heat might loosen up all the work I just did!

Take advantage of the height of the lantern, allow the folliage and berries to cascade down the side of the lantern. The trick is to cut short and glue around the top and leave long around the bottom. It is all glued around the bow.

I hope you've gathered some tips and inspiration to create your own lantern centerpiece! If you have any questions leave them in the comments.

On a side note, have you seen the seasonal plates at Wal-mart? I picked this design out of a couple of different styles, I think they look very Pottery Barn-ish with the Wal-mart price. Have you seen these yet?

Need a design boost? For advice and guidance on style, contact me!


  1. Hi Michelle, What a wonderful idea. I love the way you dressed up the lantern for Fall...beautiful!

  2. Love the lantern, and yes those plates have a Pottery Barnish feel, I just got my catalog yesterday, and they had plates with a similar feel.

  3. that was beautiful, thanks for sharing~

  4. That is so pretty, Michelle! Thanks so much for the how to. I actually have some extra pinecones and leaves that I just threw back in my Fall decor box, but I think I'm going to look for my wire and do something with it!

  5. wow...this is a beautiful job! i do have a question, on attaching the additional items to the bow, did you leave a long amount of wire when attaching the bow that you then attached the foliage to? not sure how it is all adhered to the bow...but man do i love it! of course i love everything you do, you are such an inspiration to me! Donna Tullis

  6. Thanks for your comments!

    Donna, I didn't use any additional wire...It's just layer on layer on layer, all glued. It will just build up as you go, I'm not sure if that makes sense or not. I will try to get a picture of 'the machanics'

  7. I am a big lantern lover. This time of the year I love to dig them out of storage and spread them all over the house. it's magical.

  8. Very cute! I need to find me a lantern.

  9. Is there a concern that the candles would heat the top of the lantern and cause the ribbon, flowers, etc. to heat or catch fire (especially if a metal lantern is used)? How to avoid this?

  10. Anon, Yes, I would take caution with any lit candles. My suggestion is using flameless (battery operated) candles...most every store have them now, even Walmart!

  11. This is beautiful!... What is the height of your lantern?

  12. This is so simple but elegantly beautiful! I needed something for my dining room table, but didn't want to spend the money. After seeing your post I pulled things from my "supply" closet this morning ~ even the lantern! It came out beautiful IMO, LOL I posted a pic on my blog Let me know what you think!!

  13. thanks for sharing. I am going to try it tonight and yes, I have the plates, WalMart last year.

  14. My daughter is getting married next fall. I took one look at this and was completely thrilled. I'd like to make 10 of them to be used as centerpieces. It's lovely Michelle, and thank you for sharing your idea.

  15. Can the can the lantern swags be changed out each season without the swags coming apart? If so, how are stems secured in the swag to keep them together? Is there some styrofoam or is everything attached to the bow. It seems like a lot of embellishments to attach to the bow. Thanks Sara.

  16. Oh, Michelle

    Very creative idea, colorful for fall, lantern is perfect. Just Stunning!

    This is my first time to see your work and now I am excited to learn more from you and your designs.

    Thank You For Sharing Your Talents,

  17. Hello Michelle. Your lantern looks beautiful. I am wanting to do this for my centerpieces at our fall wedding this October. Did you really go out and gather everything for this swag? We have 44 lantern centerpieces so could you use like berry & fall leaf sprays from say Michael's or Hobby Lobby to do this? We've never made a fall swag before so do you have any tips or a more detailed description on how you made this fall swag lantern? Thanks! ❤


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