Note: This is not a lantern made out of candy cane pallets. Unfortunately, they do not make pallets out of candy canes. But that’s probably a good thing, since you can’t really ship freight on a giant candy cane. What if it gets wet? Everything would stick to it, and don’t even get me started about the ants. Wait, where was I going with this?
Oh, right. This is actually a lantern made from pallet wood that has lights that make it look like a candy cane. Or a barber pole. But seriously guys, this is Christmastime, not Barbermastime, okay? Get it straight.
So I made this lantern out of pallet wood, which isn’t always a standard size (the boards I was using were something like 3 3/4″ wide, for example). So I’m going to translate the measurements down to standard lumber size so you can build this out of wood you buy at the lumberyard or Home Depot or whatever if you want.
Stuff You’ll Need
1×4 – 4ft
1×2 – 10ft
Plastic light ballast cover (like we used for our pallet lightboxes, link in the post)
2.5″ finish nails
Table Saw (as usual, these saws can be substituted with cheaper tools like hand saws and jigsaws, but these make it a lot easier)
Hammer or Nail Gun
2 – 7″ lengths of 1×4
2 – 5.75″ lengths of 1×4, cut down to 2 7/8″ width
2 – 2.5″ lengths of 1×4, cut down to 2.5″ width
8 – 12″ lengths of 1×2
8 – 2″ lengths of 1×2
4 – 2.5″w by 9.5″h pieces of plastic light ballast cover
Put It Together
Start by making all your cuts. Take 2 of the 12″ lengths of 1×2 and 2 of the 2″ lengths of 1×2 and form a rectangle with them and glue and clamp:
Now do this 4 more times for all your lantern sides. Once those are dried and solid, you can use contact cement to add the plastic onto the backs of them. I’ve found contact cement is the best adhesive to use for this stuff because the plastic is rigid and brittle, so nails, staples, etc will just split it. Hot glue and super glue don’t hold well to the wood, either, and wood glue doesn’t hold well to the plastic. I found all this out via trial and error so you don’t have to! I know, I know. You’re welcome.
Now glue all these together in a box. This is how I did it to start with:
You can do it this way if you like. Once it’s clamped good you can tap in some finish nails to make it solid. Personally I didn’t really like the rectangle set of it. I really wanted it square instead, so I pulled it apart and cut a 45 degree bevel into each side with the table saw.
Then put it back together:
Now take your two 7″ lengths of 1×4 and put them together. This forms a perfect 7″ square base.
Set your base on your lantern box and glue and nail (this will hold the base together too).
Now to make the top. Take your two 5 3/4″ lengths and put them together. These need to be trimmed down to a width of 2 7/8″ to make a square like the base. I did this on the table saw but these are short enough that you can do it with the miter saw or a jigsaw. Make sure you use clamps to hold it to keep your fingers safe. Same thing for the 3″ squares we’re going to use. Speaking of those, center one on the base you made and glue and nail. Then flip it and do the same with the other 3″ square on the other side. After that I drilled a hole through the center to run wire into it for a hanger.
Sand it all good (not too good, it’s supposed to be rustic, remember) and then you’re done! Stuff the lantern with red and white Christmas lights and you’re set. You might consider cutting a slot for the wire in the back up at the top so the lid will sit properly.
Also take care with the lights – LED lights are going to work best. Incandescent Christmas lights can get pretty hot (like so hot you can’t touch them) when stuffed in such close quarters without airflow. LED lights emit a lot less heat. If you do use incandescent lights, just keep an eye on them like a lit candle.
Here it is finished!