DIY Galvanized Lantern Update

Paint your Own Galvanized Lanterns

Like lots of others over the summer, we are busy fixing up our outdoor spaces. We have a small front porch, the main back deck and a patio that need repainting and updating.  The costs add up so as usual, the plan is to use what we already have on hand, a DIY lantern project is exactly what we needed.

Outdoor lanterns for the front porch that have been updated a galvanized paint finish.  Lantern update, How to paint lanterns, DIY porch lantern

Slowly I have been collecting various galvanized containers in all sorts of sizes and shapes. The galvanized pots are going to become flower pots and servers. These DIY lanterns with their shiny metallic paint job will be a perfect match.

Galvanized painted lantern, how to paint a galvanized finish

Instead of purchasing new lanterns I worked out a way to refurbish some old fall lanterns that were no longer used or liked very much.  As you can see the paint finish is quite damaged from sitting outside in the fall weather.

Metallic Paint Supplies

Searching through Lowes we found some spray on metallic paints that would brighten up these old lanterns, but I wanted a more textured appearance than the spray on paint would give me.

Instead of using the spray paint I used DecorArt American Decor metallic paints from Michaels.  These paints come in lots of metallic colours, silvers, bronze, gold etc..  In Canada they were $10 for an 8 oz jar.  The three lanterns used 1/3 of the silver and hardly any of the sterling silver.

If you want a more rugged vintage looks you could use some use copper paint to add some rust.  I want these lanterns to look new and bright so I chose only two colours, Silver, and Sterling Silver.a

An outdoor porch lantern or patio lantern gets updates with DecoArt Metallic paints shown in photo.  How to paint a galvanized finish, DIY garden lantern, lantern update, DIY lantern


Painting the Galvanized Lanterns

Start by carefully removing the glass and set aside. Thoroughly wash and dry all the lanterns.

With a small brush paint, all the surfaces of the lantern with the Silver metallic paint until the original colour is covered; the orange took three coats to cover.  Make sure to let the paint dry well between each coat. Remember to do the inside of the roof, both sides of the tabs that hold the glass in place and the bottom of your lantern.  Once all the surfaces are painted the finish will look like this.  If you like the smoother texture you can leave it as is, or sweep on some sterling silver using an almost dry brush.  I added more texture.

The top of a lantern showing the brush strokes of the two tone silver metallic paints.   How to paint a galvanized finish, DIY garden lantern, lantern update, DIY lantern

To get the rougher texture lightly dip the end of the metal sponge into the Sterling Silver paint and dab it onto the surface of the lantern.  Use the dry portions of the metal sponge to dab off the access.  The streaks are long and thin, they aren’t round dots like you would get with a regular sponge.  The finish will look like this.

The speckled technique for painting a DIY galvanized finish.   How to paint a galvanized finish, DIY garden lantern, lantern update, DIY lantern

Let the silver paint dry thoroughly, wash and carefully replace the glass.   I think the lanterns look wonderful, modern, bright and they match my other real galvanized containers.

Three galvanized lanterns for front porch decor.   How to paint a galvanized finish, DIY garden lantern, lantern update, DIY lantern

These lanterns are so bright and shiny in the sunshine.  They look so nice and brand new. The galvanized lanterns are one of the projects for my summer porch update and I love how they turned out.  They should go very well with my neutral metallic fall decor as well.

Three front porch lanterns or patio lanterns with a galvanized finish and candles.  Beautiful outdoor decor.   How to paint a galvanized finish, DIY garden lantern, lantern update, DIY lantern

The Front Porch Updates

We have a bench made, the front door repainted, both decks and the privacy wall stained. We found and Hubs refurbished a fountain for the patio.  There are several buckets of pansies planted and waiting in the living room for better weather. It’s a struggle because the weather isn’t cooperating but I will have more outdoor projects on the blog soon.

If you like this project idea, please pin it for later.  Please comment and let me know what you think.

Outdoor lanterns for the front porch that have been updated a galvanized paint finish.  Lantern update, How to paint lanterns, DIY porch lantern


  1. I really like that technique with the wet sponge Leanna! They look absolutely fabulous! Pinning for my future projects.

  2. Painting never fails to amaze me in makeover projects. Your lanterns turned out beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Dianne Lanier says:

    They look great. I will be painting my white lanterns!

  4. These look great, they have a real metal finish. Great job up cycling!

  5. I love how they turned out Leanna, and you can actually see a tiny hint of red peeking out under the silver, which adds to the charm. Your whole porch looks divine. Such a relaxing, calming space.

  6. These turned out beautifully Leanna! They were pretty in red before but I am partial to the galvanized look 😉 Great job. Thanks so much for linking them up to the Inspiration Galore Project Party last week. You are one of my features tomorrow over at http://www.recreateddesigns.com. Pinned and shared. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Hugs, Lisa

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Oh Lisa that is just fantastic news. Talk about a thumbs up. Great stuff and I will for sure drop by and check out the feature.

  7. Leanna, great DIY project. The silver is so much better than the red. Now I’m going to keep my eye out for some lanterns at garage sales or the craft stores. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Our tastes change all the time, so I try to reuse what I already own. These lanterns weren’t broken, but I didn’t love them anymore. Good luck on your garage sales, always a good time.

      Thanks for the positive comment, I appreciate it.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Sandra: Thank you, they were a little more work than the spray can version, but I think they are worth the time it took.

      I appreciate the positive feedback, thank you very much.

  8. Leanna-I know I have to paint my garage sale lantern, and I have been very afraid of doing so. This post is so helpful! Following your direction will be a big help. Your lanterns turned out beautifully, and I am looking forward to more of your outdoor posts !

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I look forward to seeing your lantern makeover. I am busy working on the back deck and hopefully get some more posts out in the next week or two.

      Finding a lantern at a garage sale is a great find. They are so nice to have.

  9. I have two that used to be black, so i am loving this post right now!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Christine: I hope you give it a try it was super easy to do. I was most happy with how the metal sponge gave a different look.

  10. Hi Leanna! This is seriously so cute! I’ve been wanting to do some projects like this to add some charm to my yard. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂 We love seeing you share with us each week at Dishing It & Digging It!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Angie. The link parties are such a great way to be inspired, meet new bloggers and promote my latest posts. I am glad you like the lanterns. Have a great week.

  11. LeannaForsythe says:

    Hi Marie: Thank you, I really like how they turned out, they don’t look old and worn out anymore, they are shiny like a new nickle.

  12. They look great, Leanna! Love the textured finish with just hints of the original color peeking through. I’m swooning over the sneak peek of your painted door color too.

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