One of the things that I love about the town that I live in all of the streetlights that are reminiscent of the last century. I am especially fond of them during the holidays when the town pulls out the seasonal decorations. This is what led me to build my own DIY Christmas lamppost complete with lantern.
Another thing that helped with the decision is the cost of purchasing one. Most of the reliable brands are well over $100. I definitely knew I could build one for much less..
The only purchase I made for this was the post, the acrylic, and the paints. The rest of the materials were pulled from my scrap lumber bin or were things that I already had from previous projects.
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Materials Used to Make the Lantern
- 4 @ 1″ x 9″ (actual)
- 8 @ 1″x 4 1/2″ (actual)
- 1″ (actual 3/4″) scrap boards to make top/bottom
- 1″ wide x 1/4″ (actual) thick strips to use as framing for the glass
- 4 pieces of acrylic @ 7 1/2” x 4 1/2″
- 1 1/4 pocket hole screws
- wood glue
- Acrylic plastic – You can find these at your local hardware store, but if ordering online, these are good* for crafts.
- Frost Glass Paint – I used Rust-Oleum’s Frosted Glass Spray* for this project.
- JB Weld* – A good strong adhesive is necessary to keep the glass secure during storage and all the shuffling around that the lamppost will receive. I know this one works because I have used it many times in the past.
- Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint* – I am using a paint and primer combo spray paint to make quick work of the finish.
- LED Puck Light* – The one that I use comes with remote control and can be dimmed, brightened, and set to run for up to 2 hrs. These offer much more light than a battery-operated candle, and the remote makes it convenient to run. I also use these in my Halloween lanterns.
Materials Used to Build this Lamppost
- 8’ Porch Post – I picked up a basic porch post for this project because I wanted the option to make the lamppost as tall as I wanted. However, you can use any post – deck, 4×4 cedar, etc.
- Scrap 2×4 sections – 4 pieces cut to 12” each.
- 3/4″dowel rod @ 12″ length
- 2″ deck screws
- Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint
Tools that I Used:
You can get away with using any saw, even a simple hand saw. I chose to use my table saw and my miter saw for this project. These will make the build easier, but is not required.
I also used my Kreg pocket hole jig but a nail gun can be used if you are not planning on adding the glass. Both will make this build quicker, but you can use whatever joinery technique that you like.
Making the Christmas Lamppost
To create the lamppost, I first cut my post down to 60”. I thought that a final height of around six feet would be perfect. By the time I add the lantern to the post, it should be right around that height.
Next, I cut down my 2×4 scrap to 12” and clamped the post down to my portable workbench. I left the bottom of the post hanging over the edge by about 6” to leave plenty of working room for attaching the feet.
Then, I clamped one of the 2×4 sections to the bottom of the post. Using 4 deck screws, I attached the first foot.
For each consecutive foot, I rolled the post towards me, clamped another 2×4 section to it, and screwed it in place. Repeat for each foot and then check to make sure everything is level. Make adjustments as needed to get the post standing straight and level.
Next, I drilled a 3/4″ hole, through the center, about 2” from the top of the post. Then, inserted the dowel rod through the hole. You can either glue or screw the dowel in place.
Paint the Christmas lamppost and allow it to dry while you move on to building the lantern.
Making the Lantern:
For this part of the project, I needed 1×1 inch pieces. I ripped these out of some leftover poplar but any wood, even 1″ square dowel rods, will work.
Then, I cut four pieces to 9″ each and eight pieces to 4 1/2” each. These will become the frame as detailed below.
I drilled a pocket hole in both ends of each 4 1/2” section using a Kreg pocket hole jig. You can skip this step if you are planning to use a different jointing method.
Just keep in mind that using pocket holes will require the glass (below) or plugs to hide the holes. If you do not plan to include the glass panels, I would skip using the pocket hole jig and go with another method.
To build the frame for the lantern, I applied glue to the ends of two of the short sections. Then, I placed them between the ends of two of the longer section. (Don’t skip the glue. It keeps the short sections from rotating).
Make sure the pocket hole faces the interior. Use a 1 1/4” pocket hole screw to attach the sections and use a clamp to hold it in place while installing screws.
Build the second side of the frame by repeating the previous steps. Then, connect the two frame sections with the remaining short pieces.
Next, I cut, the 1” x 1/4” strips to fit along the interior edges of the lantern frame. This will provide a frame to which I can adhere the glass.
The trim can be as decorative as you want. I just used some plain trim that I ripped down from the scrap wood that I have. Glue it and clamp it in place. Allow to dry.
If you don’t have a table saw, you can get very thin trim at Home Depot. I recommend using something similar to the Home Depot trim that I used on my antique mirror build.
Once the frame is complete, I cut out the pieces for the top and bottom. For the bottom, I measured my frame and made the cuts to fit the exterior dimensions. Glue and clamp in place.
The top of the lantern is removable to allow lights and electric candles to be placed inside. It is made up of four different pieces that are assembled into one.
The first pieces sits inside the lantern and holds it in place. Measure the interior of the top of the lantern and cut this from the 3/4” wood.
The next piece is cut to the measurements of the top exterior. Center the first piece onto the second and attach them to each other. Test to make sure the lid fits correctly and aligns properly with the top of the lantern.
The angled section is the final piece. For this I used some of the leftover 4×4 post. You can do this on a table saw if you prefer, but I used my miter saw. Set the angle to 30 degrees and make a cut on each side.
Attach this to the previous two pieces using wood screws placed through the bottom. Make sure that all three pieces are centered and that everything fits/looks correct on the latter base.
Paint or stain the lantern as desired before moving onto adding the glass.
To Make the Lantern Glass
The acrylic glass used in this project can be cut with either a table saw or a jig saw. As long as no deviations are being made to the above instructions, the glass sections should be cut to 7 1/2” x 4 1/2″.
Test the fit. You may need to shave off a sliver from the the width to get an easy fit. Just make sure that your glass sections rest nicely against the trim and does not overtake the space needed for the recessed lid.
Place the glass sections face down on protective surface. Clean them using either vinegar or alcohol with a lint free cloth. Make sure that each piece is perfectly clean and streak free.
Lightly spray the back of the glass with the frost paint. Hold the can about 12” away from the glass and make light passes. Allow the paint to dry. Spray again if the finish is not even or if you want a more opaque look.
Note – The frosted glass paints can be very temperamental. If you have problems with the spray coming out evenly, you are not alone. However, it is very good at leveling off, and mistakes can be removed with acetone. (practice on a scrap piece)
Run a very thin bead of the JB Weld along the inside of the lantern trim. Press the glass into place. Allow to dry. Repeat for the remaining sides.
To attach the lantern to the post, I first attached a square piece of wood to the top of the post (with a 1″overhang). Screw it down with wood or deck screws.
Once the paint was dry, I screwed up through the wood into the bottom of lantern. This keeps the screws hidden.
For the paint finish, I chose to use an oil rubbed bronze spray paint. The metallic flecks make the wood look like a real metal lamppost. You can’t tell in the above images because of the lighting used, but in real life the wood grain can’t be seen until you get up close.
Once dry, you may decorate and place a battery-operated light inside the lantern. Obviously, you should only use battery-operated/no-heat lights in these. I used puck lights but if you want standard sized lights, these remote controlled lights* are nice.
Time needed: 2 days.
DIY Christmas Lamppost and Lantern that is perfect for the holidays. It even looks great for Halloween!
- Cut post to desired height and attach post feet
- Build lantern frame using the provided cut list and details.
- Cut, frost, and insert glass.
- Paint post and attach lantern.