I’ve been wanting to make a bamboo lantern for a while. Ever since the sun made its first tentative appearance a few months back. This idea wasn’t quite fully formed and there was a long period of thinking (staring into space was probably involved) to come up with a DIY lantern that anyone could recreate at home without having to visit Japan to learn how to split bamboo.
So no fancy materials. Just… Bamboo skewers! The plain and simple wooden skewers you use for the barbecue. Grab a bunch of natural raffia from Amazon and you’re half of the way there. This makes for a pretty cheap lantern since I must have used less than $10 worth of material. The CANDLE was actually more expensive…!
If you’ve never weaved before, rest assured the braiding is as simple as wrapping raffia around the bamboo skewers. Scroll down for the detailed step-by-step!
This post contains affiliate links to products I recommend. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and supplies I love and may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through my links.
To make this DIY Lantern, you’ll need…
- Bamboo skewers
- Natural raffia
- Dowel rods
- Round wooden board
- Metal hoop
- Wooden beads or small furniture feet
- Glue gun
Step 1: Create the lantern structure
Before you start, cut a wooden disk the same diameter as your metal hoop. Mine are around 6″, but you can use this tutorial to create a DIY lantern whatever size you wish!
To create the structure for the DIY Lantern, cut the dowel rod into 3 pieces that are 1″ (2.5cm) shorter than the bamboo skewers.
Next, nail the dowels to the side of the wooden board, making sure that they’re spread apart evenly around the edge of the board. The end of the rod shouldn’t be flush with the board: leave 1/2″ (1 to 1.5cm), like in the picture above, so that you can weave raffia around the end of the dowel rods.
Then, glue the metal ring so that it rests on top of the dowel rods. Bear in mind that hot glue cools down very quickly once it touches metal.
Step 2: Glue the skewers around the DIY lantern
Before you glue the skewers, create some marks around the edge of the wooden board to make sure the skewers are spaced evenly. There’s obviously no maths involved 😉 I started by marking the middle between 2 rods. From then, I eyeballed the quarter-way points and continued dividing every section until I had marks every 1/2″ (1.2cm).
To glue the skewers around the lantern structure, first, add a dot of glue on the edge of the board and press the end of the bamboo skewers into the hot glue. Like with the dowel rods, the skewer end shouldn’t be flush with the board but you should leave 1/2″ (1 to 1.5cm) poking out to weave raffia around. Next, add glue to the metal ring and press the top of the skewers into the glue.
Step 3: Braid the top of the lantern
To hide the metal ring, insert a strand of raffia under the hoop between the 2 skewers.
The weaving pattern is very simple: cross the raffia over a skewer then bring it down to cross it under the metal hoop. Repeat this pattern around the hoop then tie raffia and apply some glue to secure it in place.
Finally, finish the braid by wrapping a single strand of raffia around the skewers. This will completely hide the metal hoop.
Step 4: Braid the bottom of the lantern
To hide the edge of the wooden board, take a strand of raffia and wrap it around one end of the bamboo skewer. Move onto the next skewer and wrap the raffia around the opposite end. Continue this zig-zag pattern until you have gone around the whole lantern. Now, take a new piece of raffia and repeat this weaving pattern by wrapping it on the opposite side, like in the picture above.
Now that the top and bottom braid are complete, feel free to decorate you DIY lantern with more braids!
Step 5: Weave raffia through the skewers
To strengthen your DIY lantern, you’ll have to weave through the bamboo skewers. Anything goes, so if you want to try out fancy weaving patterns, go for it!
I chose a simple braiding pattern. To start, I glued 2 lengths of raffia behind a dowel rod. Then, I brought the raffia over the next bamboo skewer, looped them around each side, like in the picture above.
Step 6: Attach the DIY lantern feet and handle
To finish the DIY lantern, glue some feet under the wooden board. I used some large wooden beads because I’m a bit obsessed with ball feet, but wooden blocks or small furniture feet would work as well!
Next, create a handle. Use any material you want: rattan, like I did, a thick raffia braid or even some jute rope.
Cut a 10 to 12″ length (25 to 30cm) and use a length of raffia to wrap the end, leaving a long tail of raffia. Glue the end onto the top of the DIY lantern and wrap the tail of raffia around both the skewers and the handle to secure the handle. Tie the raffia and add some glue to finish it off.
Finally, if you want a more boho aesthetic, brush some wood stain over the whole lantern.
And voila, place a large glass into the lantern and insert a pillar candle. This lantern is right on time for balmy summer nights on the terrace!