For those of you that follow along on Instagram have seen that one of my projects was recently published in the latest issue of DIY Weddings Magazine, yahoo!  If you haven’t been able to check out the project yet, today is your lucky day!  I am sharing the step-by-step process for this months Monthly DIY Challenge!  This months challenge is all about paint, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share my painted photo lantern with everyone!

DIY Photo Lantern

DIY Photo Lantern

I made this lantern a few months ago for my moms 60th birthday party.  When I made this lantern I didn’t have weddings on my mind, but rather a surprise 60th Birthday party. I knew that I wanted something unique but also that had special meaning as well. And there lies the beauty of this project, is that you can easily modify it to change and match whatever occasion. I Used photos of my mom and her family, mixing a nice blend of distant past with her parents, her kids ( Hi mom! )  and the future with her little adorable grandson. Did I mention he is adorable? I painted it a softer blue as my mom enjoys beach and water, and did not want the harshness of the original black. However the possibilities are endless as you can also fit photos with patterns, black and white, or more vibrant colorful motifs. So get busy and start your photo lantern and Brighten  (literally and figuratively) up someones day!


  • lantern (I found mine at Michaels)
  • Premium Translucent Vellum Paper (I found mine at Office Depot)
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in desired color
  • Americana Decor creme wax
  • paint brush
  • painters tape
  • waxing brush or lint-free cloth

DIY Photo Lantern supplies

Step 1:

Tape around the glass with painters tape, then paint your lantern using two coats with your Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in color of choice.

DIY Photo Lantern step 1

Step 2:

While the paint is drying (the nice thing about this paint, is it dries very quickly!) print out your desired images in black & white on the premium translucent vellum paper.  You will want to measure the area at which your images are going to be placed, then print out your images in the correct measurements.  Once you have that all figured out, and believe me it takes some trial and error.  Cut out the image.

DIY Photo Lantern step 2

Step 3:

Using your waxing brush or lint-free cloth, dab a little bit of the creme wax on the ends of your brush or cloth and apply wax to painted area.  Wipe back any excess wax.  Depending on the type of sheen you are looking for, once the wax is dry you can buff the area with a lint-free cloth or cheesecloth until you have reached your desired sheen.  Another great option, if you are looking for more of an aged look you can apply Deep Brown Creme wax over the dried Clear Creme wax, and wipe any excess.  Or you can achieve an aged look by using a sanding block and sanding the desired areas.

DIY Photo Lantern Step 5

Step 4:

Once you have achieved your desired look, all you need to do is simply place the images that you printed on vellum paper inside the lantern and tape them to the inside using clear scotch tape.

Now your lantern is complete!   The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to these gorgeous lanterns.  Create these photo lanterns to use as centerpieces at your wedding, line them up down the aisle for a beach wedding, or have them displayed anywhere your heart desires for your special day or any special occasion.

Photo Lantern

Easy painted phot lantern

DIY Lantern

DIY Photo Lantern centerpiece

I still grin like this from ear to ear when I open up the issue of DIY Weddings Magazine and see my picture and project in it!  As we all know It feels great to have your projects or accomplishments recognized, and this is no exception 🙂  I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

happy -diy wedding magazine

DIY Photo Lantern-DIY Weddings Magazine



Photo Lantern-DIY Weddings Magazone

Speaking of weddings, I am off to celebrate a decade of marriage with my main squeeze!  You on the other hand should stick around to check out all the other amazing projects using the power of paint!

13 DIY Paint Projects

36 thoughts on “DIY Photo Lantern – Monthly DIY Challenge

  1. Kendra @

    So beautiful Tara ! Love the idea of adding the pictures and candle! Congrats on the feature… so happy for you! Enjoy your day! xo


    1. Tara Post author

      Yes, it definitely would! I could think of so many things you could use these lanterns for weddings, parties, showers, etc… Thank you so much!


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  4. Saara John

    Hey Tara, I stumbled at this amazing post of yours and I really liked it! First of all congratulations for getting featured at DIY Weddings Magazine, Yahoo! I can feel your joy when you open the magazine to watch yourself again and again 😀

    Few words about this craft –
    1) It is nice indeed. But not everyone will be having such a precious old Lantern thing to renovate. So I would love to see you making something purely from scratch (I know I am demanding too much!) However it is required for people like us who could get to build it from zero.

    2) The idea of lighting from inside the lantern is simply amazing. It gives the Photos awesome glow look.

    Hope to see more of such amazing crafts from you in future too. Cheers!
    Saara John recently posted…DIY Project Ideas : How To Make  Multicoloured Paper Peacock for Home Decor!My Profile


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  6. Selena

    Doesn’t the tape show through?
    I’ve been using vellum with adhesive on the back, but if I can use tape it will be so much easier! When it has adhesive it’s hard to line up correctly on glass that isn’t removable.


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