How to Upcycle a Light Fixture Into a Lantern

Hi there! I’m almost embarrassed about today’s post. Why you ask? Well, it didn’t involve a whole lot of craftiness or skill on my part. In fact my upcycle of an old French-style light fixture, into what I’m calling a “lantern,” seems kind of obvious, like any junker worth her salt would probably have thought up. I guess I’ll just have to show you and then you can tell me if it was all worth the hoopla of a post or not.

how to upcycle a light fixture into a lanternIt’s not a true lantern in the sense that it has a bottom or “floor” that you can set the candle on. It’s sitting over a candle sitting on its own base, more of a cloche idea, but with the look of a lantern.

French light fixture partsIt started life as a not terribly exciting light fixture, perhaps for a hallway. I paid two dollars for it at a garage sale and knew immediately that it would make a good lantern. In this photo, I’ve dismantled it, saving the finial, candle sleeves, and ceiling medallion for future projects.

Even the light bulbs still work and can be used for something else.

close up of french lantern
I washed the curvy brass frame and the glass panels.

vintage french style light fixture turned lanternAnd that, friends, is the full extent of this upcycling project(!). See what I mean? Super simple.

close up of lantern with clock in backgroundI considered painting over the brass, but decided to stick with the soft, aged patina.

I can easily pick it up by the round finial and move it from place to place.

muted silk rosesIt goes well with my monochromatic fabric roses.

French style lantern from an old light fixtureThe only special skill required for this project: having a good nose for junk, which I think over the past [almost] four years of blogging, I’ve proven I have 🙂

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how to upcycle a light fixture into a lantern

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  1. Hi Diana, Don’t ever knock the simple projects; it may start a beginner thinking! It might be lovely to enclose a figurine or doll, small plant or flower arrangement,etc. I can see it in one of your tablescapes with an upright bunny or bird’s nest on a small branch! Or a fistful of “snow” and a bottle brush tree! I’m glad you left it “natural”–the variety of the colors adds to the visual texture rather than a single color. Went to a new-to-me indoor flea market yesterday; lady marked a 9 cup teacup rack down to $10 from $25 for me! Hurrah! I need to display stuff better!

  2. I love this and your post was worth it for me because I have a few outdoor lights/sconces that I bought to resell. When I got them home there was this or that missing so there they sit. Now, I can repurpose them into lanterns and sell them that way in my booth! So, thanks!!

  3. That’s a perfect “cloche”. . .It can be used for so many things, too! I love it, and nothing wrong with the so-called simple projects. I’m sure that some people wouldn’t see the potential in something like this until we’ve seen what you did with it. Very clever, Diana!

  4. Well, it may have been simple to you, but I don’t understand how you got the rod and the base for the lights out. It must have been fastened to a cord? Or some electrical connector, right? Sorry to so dull! By the way, I think it makes a fabulous-looking lantern.

  5. You done good! The light fixture had great bones, and you used them to your advantage! Kudos!
    xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

  6. What’s wrong with simple? Looks good to me and very versatile. Add Christmas greens around the candle or other holiday decor as the seasons change.

  7. It may have been an easy project but you had the vision to know the old lantern could become something special.

  8. It most definitely deserved a post! I love it! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!
    xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

  9. Diana, it was totally worth writing a post because it inspires others, like myself, to look at old light fixtures through a different lens. Your expertise immediately saw a lantern but to the average eye, perhaps not. Pinned

  10. What a great find for $2.00? Wow… I love lanterns and even though you say it was a simple update, I love the change! I don’t know if that idea would come as easily to many that aren’t into re-cycling antiquey items:) Thanks so much for your post! Saw it through the vintage charm party!

  11. What a clever idea Diana. I love it! I have seen lights similar to this. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

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