diy outdoor metal lanterns

diy outdoor metal lanterns

Written By

Sarah Khandjian

Summer officially starts in two weeks, and for my husband and I that means we’ll be spending many evening outdoors. We love grilling and dining on our patio but we often have to retreat inside because the mosquitoes become so overwhelming. I decided make some simple lanterns that could hold citronella candles. The candles help fight off pesky mosquitoes while the lanterns add a stylish element to our table top. They’re like store-bought lanterns, and they make great patio table decor both during the evening and daytime.

To make your own metal lanterns, you will need a few supplies:

  • Steel snips, or similar tool that will cut metal
  • Glass hurricane vases (you can often find them at discount or second hand stores)
  • Aluminum sheet in any pattern you like (2’ x 3’ to make 2 large lanterns)
  • Thin, bendable metal wire
  • Citronella pillar candles
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or tape measure


  1. Gather your supplies. The aluminum sheets are sold at hardware stores and are often used to cover radiators. This project is a great way to up-cycle old covers!
  2. Measure the diameter of the hurricane vase. Use the formula circumference = 3.14 or pi * diameter to determine the width of the metal lantern. Who knew that formula you learned in middle school would come in handy while crafting? Take the circumference measurement and add 1”. This will allow the metal to overlap so you can construct the lantern. Mark the height and circumference measurement (+ 1”) on the metal sheet.
  3. Use the snips to cut the metal.
  4. Wrap the metal sheet around the hurricane vase. Then cut a small piece of wire and use it to hold the top part of the metal sheet together by twisting the wire. Trim the ends and bend the wire back. Repeat this step to connect the bottom part of the lantern. If the lantern is large, you may need to connect the middle section as well.
  5. Place the metal tube around the hurricane lantern. For safety, make sure the finished edge of the metal sheet is toward the top.
  6. Repeat the steps to make another lantern! When you’re done place a citronella candle inside.

Get ready for summer by creating these simple, stylish metal lanterns for your porch or patio! Then invite some neighbors over to help you usher in the season at your first summer bbq!