How to Make an Easy Wooden Candle Lantern {From Scrap Wood!}

In this post, I’ll show you how easy it is to make your own DIY Wooden Candle Lantern with just two tools and some scrap wood! These make excellent handmade Christmas gifts, too!

Simple modern DIY scrap wood lantern with battery candle--great for centerpieces

I recently built a friend of mine a huge wooden lantern and while it was pretty, it was INVOLVED. I thought about sharing the tutorial with you guys, but I think halfway through, most people would be a little put off by all the details.


SO, instead, I decided to take a few minutes, make this easy little scrap wood lantern and share it with you instead.

RELATED: Check out a HUGE DIY wooden lantern tutorial from a few years ago here.


It’s tall, skinny, and the PERFECT size for a little battery powered candle or a small vase. Paired with some greenery, it would make a nice centerpiece lantern, too *wink wink*

RELATED: Check out how to make a Christmas Lantern Post here.


Anyway, the build is SUPER SIMPLE, so I’ll jump right in 🙂

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For these Scrap Wood DIY Wooden Candle Lanterns, You Will Need:

Step 1: Shop Your Scrap Wood Pile for Supplies

I used some scrap walnut I had leftover from some past projects for this wooden lantern build, BUT, I cut them down to standard lumber sizes to make this easy.

scrap walnut pieces used to build easy scrap wood lantern for battery candle

So I took this pile above and cut it down into:

  • (2) 1×8 squares (7 1/4″ square)
  • (1) 1×6 square (5 1/2″ square)
  • (1) 1×4 square (3 1/2″ square)
  • (4) square dowels (cut to desired length)

So basically, if you have 1×8 scraps, you can cut two 7 1/4″ pieces. If you have 1×6 scraps, you can cut a 5 1/2″ piece and if you have 1×4 scraps, you can cut a 3 1/2″ long piece to get what you need.

Wood cut list pieces used to build easy DIY wooden lantern

If you have a table saw, you can rip your own square dowels (3/4″ or 1″ square work well for this), or you can purchase some here. The length of your dowels depends on how tall you want your lantern.


I made mine about 16″ long, but if you wanted a taller lantern, you could cut them longer.

Step 2: Add Decorative Edges (OPTIONAL)

Before assembling anything, I used a router and a chamfer bit to cut a chamfer around the edges of all the square pieces.


This step is totally optional and you can leave them as is. BUT if you like the detail, but you don’t have a router, you can use a jig saw with blade tilted 45 degrees and cut along these edges OR bevel a miter saw blade 45 degrees and cut these edges, too.

RELATED: Want to know more about routers? Check out my detailed router guide here.

Edges of scrap wood lantern pieces chamfered

Another option is just to sand the corner edges kind of rounded instead of cutting them.


ALSO NOTE: the 1×4 block is fairly small, so be careful if/when cutting the edges. I ended up having to screw it to the workbench in order to route it because it was too small to clamp. That’s why you see the screw holes in the top of it. I’ll cover those later.

Step 3: Attach Wooden Lantern Sides to Bottom

Now everything is ready for assembly. I simply used wood glue and 2″ wood screws to assemble this wooden lantern.


I was sure to predrill before driving the screws to avoid splitting the thin dowels. I lined the dowels up on the corners of one of the 1×8 squares inside the chamfer, and attached through the bottom like shown.

Attach wooden candle lantern posts onto bottom panel with screws

Step 4: Attach Wooden Candle Lantern Top

Once the bottom was attached, I flipped it over and did the same at the top with the other 1×8 square. (Side note: See that crack? I just left it to add some extra character.)

Attach top wooden candle lantern panel to posts

Now, how much the top needs to overhang the corner posts here depends on how much you routed or cut (if you routed or cut) from step 2.


This isn’t the most important thing in the world. You can measure the bottom overhang and match the top, or simply eye ball it. If you’re off 1/4″, likely no one is going to notice.


Once the top piece is installed, I just glued the 1×6 on top.

Glue decorative top plates onto scrap wood lantern
Clamp top plate onto scrap wood lantern

And once that was dry, I glued the 1×4 on top of that. Side note: if you don’t have clamps, You can use painters tape to hold the pieces while the glue dries.

Glue top piece onto scrap wood candle lantern

Step 5: Finish DIY Wooden Candle Lantern

The last thing to do is finish and attempt to cover the screw holes I made at the top on the 1×4 piece haha.


I gave the lantern a coat of Walrus Oil Furniture Finish (you can stain, paint, poly, or use another type of finish as desired), then attached this little handle on the top. (I found it at Hobby Lobby.)

Finished wooden lantern with top handle attached

I threw (okay, I gently placed, I didn’t THROW haha) a simple candle in and now it’s ready to enjoy 🙂

How to build a simple modern DIY wooden candle lantern

This is literally one of the most satisfying and simple projects that works great for centerpieces, holiday decor, gift ideas, etc. I really enjoyed making it while waiting for the glue to dry on another project I was working on.

Battery powered candle in scrap wood lantern

So I really hope you enjoy making one (or a few), too 🙂 If you liked this project and want to save it for later, be sure to pin it! And if you want to be the first to know about new projects as they are posted, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below.

Scrap wood DIY lantern collage for pinterest

Until next time, friends, happy building 🙂

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