Today I have a super simple [and I do mean simple] project: how to upcycle a vintage lantern into a farmhouse candle holder. It involves a special secret that will blow your mind it’s SO simple(!).
Note: This post contains affiliate links for [the same or similar] products used to complete the project discussed. This is both for your convenience as well as to support my website, since I receive a small compensation whenever you click on a link and make any sort of purchase, for which I thank you 🙂 See my full disclosure here.
What’s the Big Deal?
You might be thinking, “So what’s the big deal?” Just pop a candle into the middle of the lantern and call it done. But in fact, the center of the lantern is obstructed.
As you can see in this photo, there’s a bump where the wick comes up from the oil reservoir, and so a candle won’t sit flat. But I really wanted to turn this lantern into a cool rustic candle holder.
So I put on my thinking cap and imagined how I might be able to overcome this problem. Perhaps something could be put over that bump to create a flat surface for a candle. But what?
Interestingly, one of my first thoughts was a tuna fish can(!). So in that moment, I decided to have tuna for lunch.
I made a sandwich, washed the can, and placed it over the wick–perfect fit for this Dietz Monarch lantern!
The next problem I faced was how to make the exterior of the can look old and rusty, to match the lantern. I looked online and read several articles that said to apply peroxide and salt to the can and leave it over night.
In the photo above you see what the can looked like after sitting for 24 hours with this mixture. Clearly, it had no effect. But as it turns out, I had a back-up plan.
Materials to Convert a Vintage Lantern Into a Farmhouse Candle Holder
Aging the Tuna Can to Match the Upcycled Vintage Lantern
It was really just a matter of giving the can a coat of “Cinnamon” paint, allowing it to dry and then applying a very light coat of black paint, being sure to allow some of the Cinnamon “rust” to show through.
[Note: you may have noticed that I have shown two different cans of black paint in my photos. I actually have no idea which one I used. I have an area in my garage set up for spray painting and their are lots and lots of cans everywhere, LOL.]
The end result is pretty darn close to the same color as my lantern. Depending upon the color of your lantern, you’ll want to apply more or less of the black paint to create a good match.
I come across old rusty lanterns like this one fairly often at sales and they are usually pretty cheap since most people think of them as junk.
Mine was a $3 flea market find–a bit more than I’ve paid for many others, but well worth it because it turned out so nicely with the “tuna can fix.”
A typical 4″ pillar candle fits absolutely perfectly on the can!
Decorating with the Upcycled Vintage Lantern
It works well with some of my rattan covered bottles in this early fall display in my kitchen.
I hung a sweet berry wreath from a small smooth wire prong on the lantern, and now things are beginning to look festive!
I should add then when I bought the lantern, the surface was dry and chalky (see earlier photos), so I cleaned it up using all the tricks I’ve laid out in my post about cleaning and caring for rusty metal.
The surface looks more appealing now and none of the rust will flake off or leave marks on furniture.
The beauty of this antique lantern is that it can be accessorized to celebrate an assortment of holidays. I think it looks striking with a red candle and pine pick, perfect for Christmas, or even Valentine’s.
How would you use it for other holidays throughout the year??
Since all the parts on these antique Monarch lanterns are metal and they were created to contain fire, I can safely light the candle. It creates a soft mellow glow in the kitchen at night that is just lovely.
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