DIY Farmhouse Lantern Makeover

A DIY Lantern Makeover in a Farmhouse Style

Starting at Home Sense I found a cute and inexpensive plain galvanized lantern for cheap.

Galvanized farmhouse lantern makeover before

I am instantly attracted to anything galvanized because the price is usually reasonable.  I liked this lantern as it is, and I could dress it up with other decor elements like mini lights maybe,  but I had this idea.

Farmhouse Lantern Makeover Tutorial

Besides a lantern, you will need

I used milk paint

Polyacrylic or polyurethane

Clips or clamps

Gorilla glue

Birch veneer

]Paint brush

Clean cloth

Exacto knife,

Yardstick / straight edge

Painting the Farmhouse Lantern

Milk paint and brush for a farmhouse lantern makeover.

Paint the portions of the lantern you want to be white.  Let dry.

Once your first coat of paint is totally dry. Take a slightly damp clean cloth and very lightly distress portions of your lantern so a hint of the galvanized metal shines through.

Once you have distressed the lantern,  add a very light second coat of paint in specific areas.  Dip the very tip of your paintbrush into the paint, then remove most of it onto a dry cloth or paper towel.  Dry brush the paint onto any areas of the lantern you like.

Doing the two layers this way gives you four different levels of paint, from white through to galvanized.  Let the paint dry, but it only takes a few minutes.

How to makeover a plain lantern into a beautiful farmhouse lantern.

Adding Veneer Embellishments

The veneer is surprisingly easy to cut.  The wood is so thin you can cut it with an Exacto knife, and trim it with scissors.

Thin Birch veneer for adding to a farmhouse lamp makeover.

Measure the surface of the lantern where you want to apply the veneer, my example is 1 3/8 inches high, and 23-inch length around the circumference on the top plus an extra inch for final fitting.

The commercial edge of the veneer is clean and crisp, so start with that edging.  For the second edging use any long straight edge and mark the measurements with a pencil.

Then cut along the pencil marks with an Exacto knife.

Tutorial on cutting veneer

Attaching the Veneer

You will need good quality glue like clear gorilla glue or E5000 to attach the veneer to the lantern.

Attaching wood to metal using glue and clamps

Apply glue on the metal and attach one edge, hold in place with a clamp.

Continue adding glue and working your way around the lantern, clamping it as you work.

You may get some splinters along the cut edge as you curve the wood,  Don’t worry about them, we will fix and trim them later.

Matching the ends of veneer together

Once you have all the wood glued in place, match up the two ends.  If you have to fit them together I suggest cutting it with a pair of scissors. The wood isn’t hard to cut.

How to fit veneer pieces together

Fixing Splinters

If you have splintering on the veneer as you wrap it,  fit the splinter back into place with a little extra glue.  Use a clamp to hold it in place while it dries.

Sanding the splinters in veneer on a lantern makeover.

Finishing the Lantern

Using 220 grit sandpaper and light touch sand off any glue residue from the veneer.

As a final touch, I sprayed on one coat of polyurethane.

Farmhouse decor featuring a white and birch farmhouse lantern.
A farmhouse vignette made with a DIY lantern makeover.

It’s a simple little addition to our family room but I love how neutral it is, and the generic farmhouse style is going to make it a very handy addition to any of my seasonal decor ideas.

One of the best things about farmhouse decor is how easily it lends itself to DIY.

White milk painted DIY corbels for farmhouse decor

DIY  Farmhouse Corbels

Drop cloth covered farmhouse bench.

Farmhouse Bench Update


  1. Really stylish and beautiful solution, thank you for sharing!
    My wife would love it, I will try to surprise her soon. 🙂
    Happy Christmas time!

  2. Very pretty, Leanna, love the wood veneer detail! Pinned 🙂

  3. What a lovely transformation, Leanna! I love how you added the veneer! Bet its even more gorgeous when it is all lit up at night!

  4. So pretty Leanna and the veneer finishes it off beautifully. It looks like something you’d buy in a high-end designer store

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