Lantern turned Light Shade

Over the course of the last year, my boyfriend and I have been fixing up his condo.  When he moved in, the condo still had a lot of the original 1960s decor, with some 1980s “upgrades” thrown in.  The wall were pink, there was a ton of wallpaper, the floor was nasty old carpet and some tile, and the kitchen was a disaster.  I plan to show the finished photos of the DIY renovation we completed -there are just a few finishing touches to complete – today I want to show a quick, easy and cheap DIY for a light fixture!

One of the things we did while demoing the condo was to remove the front closet.  While this was a controversial choice -storage lost! EEK!- we went ahead with it to have a clean slate to figure out what works for us.  Not to mention the closet was MASSIVE, and had mirrored doors.  Not my cup of tea and we figured we could rebuild a closet later if we really needed one.  The front entryway is nice and open now and with the closet gone, we have two lights to illuminate the dark space (one was hidden in the nearly four foot deep closet).  The light in the closet was a pretty standard brass and glass globe fixture, but I wanted something that would be a bit more dazzling in the small space.

For a looooong time – longer than I’d like to admit – a light kit front Home Depot just hung there from the ceiling, waiting for a shade.  Yesterday I received an email about a lighting sale at World Market, and I figured I would stop in and see what shades they have in my very small budget.  Note- this budget is self imposed, I AM THRIFTY.  I will get it at a cheap price, I will not pay full price for anything!  I was determined.

None of the shades looked like they would fit my needs or they were too pricy – I’m looking at you beautiful hammered copper shade.  And a lot of the lights came with light kits, something I had already purchased and was not going to let go to waste.  So I did you do in World Market and I started browsing (so DANGEROUS).

My browsing paid off.  I found a selection of lanterns on sale (up to 50% off) and the wheels started turning in my head.  I’m thinking…

I’m crafty.

I’m skilled with power tools, if needed.

I could make one of these work.

BUT WHICH ONE THEY’RE ALL SO PRETTY!! (I had like 5 lanterns in my hands at the time, along with some vinegar and oil, totally normal).

I finally settled on the one that a) would fit the space the best, b) would be easy to modify and c) was inexpensive.

This is what I came home with.  Cute no?


First thing I did was attempt to undo the screws holding in the handle. Which was a total fail since the screws were actually glued.  So then I just used my brute strength to rip off the bamboo handle and made the executive decision to leave the screws there (which were tiny) to deal with another day.  Then I flipped her upside down and did this..

IMG_1991Yup, I used my kitchen scissors to cut a wonky hole in the bottom of the lantern.  The hole is about the same size as the hole needed for my light kit that was still just hanging from the ceiling with a bare bulb.  Some grunting and maneuvering of the lantern and light bulb later and this is what she looks like now:


Please ignore the nasty yellowed line on the ceiling.  That will be painted to match the rest of the ceiling soon.  The line is from where we removed the closet doors.

In general, I sometimes make things harder than they need to be, but I did pretty darn good on efficiency for this project.  Total time from start to finish (including attempting to remove those freaking screws) was about 30 minutes. Now we don’t have to look at a bare bulb!  I’m not embarrassed by my half finished project literally glaring me in the face when I walk through the door every. day.

Ahhh here’s to finishing projects and getting ish done.  Overall this project cost me about $26.  Not bad considering it’s custom.  The light kit was about $14 and the lantern was $12.50.  So that doesn’t include the cost of the bulb – which we had, so it was free..right?

That’s all for now – Major kitchen renovation reveal coming soon I hope – this project is helping to kick my butt in gear to finish lingering projects.



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