Did you ever go into a store and come out with only the thing you went in to buy? Nope, me neither. I was at Ikea over the weekend for some curtains and happened upon this lantern on clearance:
Such a cool industrial farmhouse look. I remember looking at them at full price and deciding I didn’t REALLY need one. But now they are $4!!!! These suckers are 15″ tall, so nice and large. They are metal and glass and have a hanging handle. So, yep, that’s why I say to run and grab some before they’re gone. I found them near the registers in the area where they keep closeouts. I’m headed back to get more for a women’s craft program I’m running at a conference this fall. I’ll be sharing some of those projects with you, but here are some ideas I’ve come up with right off the top of my head.
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Etching the lantern glass
This would make a beautiful wedding gift or table centerpiece for a wedding. I would maybe etch the couple’s initial and add a simple design. Something like this:
You could also add the last name and an “Established <date>” with the wedding date. Or use the names of the couple. Personally, I’d probably go with etching cream on this. Sometimes I use sandblasting, but I would be afraid of breaking this glass. Fill it with a flameless candle and you’re done. Or add a few bits of greenery along the bottom.
Vinyl on the lantern exterior
What about using vinyl on the glass and/or metal? It would make a nice home décor item. Then you can fill it with pretty much anything. I could see vintage Christmas balls, pumpkins, succulents, etc.
I’ve also seen folks do a memorial type thing with lanterns like this. Add a quote on the outside and fill it with objects from the person.
Another way to use vinyl is as a stencil. Apply the vinyl, mask off the glass, then spray paint the metal.
3d Cardstock inside the lantern
There are a TON of 3d images in the design store. I stocked up during the recent half off sale. Here are a few ideas:
The shape of this reminds me of a manger. I could see creating a cute 3d nativity scene cut from sturdy black or white cardstock. Check out this set by Suzanne Cannon.
Use a paper shredder to cut up some sheet music for the “straw” in the bottom. Use pop dots to attach the figures to the bottom of the lantern. Attach some fairy lights on the inside at the top. Suspend a star ornament from the top as well. A glittery gold one would be awesome!
You can vary the look a great deal by the cardstock you use. You can even add Santa in his sleigh flying overhead.
There’s another set by the same designer that’s made for sitting on a narrow ledge.
By using several rows, you can create depth, like several streets of houses. Face them different ways to you can view them through the glass from either side of the lantern.
Adding snow on the bottom makes it perfect. I like to use Epsom salt. It has great color and texture for snow and you can get a bag at the dollar store. But this lantern opens from the front and there’s no lip to keep the snow from spilling out. You could use something like this shadow box frame design by Lori Whitlock to contain it.
That would also give you a nice base to adhere the trees and houses to.
Or, just use some cotton balls or batting/fiberfill.
Christmas at home scene
The shape reminds me of a house as well. You could create a 3d scene of a family at home decorating the tree. Do a nice tall, 3d tree in the center, then add family members around it. This is one that could be viewed beautifully from both sides. A fireplace along one of the metal walls and presents stacked on the other side would be cool.
I LOVE this reindeer set I got recently.
It would be beautiful with some 3d trees and stars up above. On that one, I’d even put some flat trees along the front on the inside of the glass. The clips that hold the glass in place would hold them without any adhesive.
Snow on the bottom is nice in this one too.
So there are WAY too many ideas to limit this to just Christmas. I’d look at some of the 3d projects for the other holidays as well.
Let’s say you don’t want to use cardstock. You can create trees from lots of different materials and put them inside. Just grab some cone shapes in various heights (or make your own from poster board) and decorate them. You can use your Silhouette to cut felt leaves, fabric, faux leather, shrink plastic, wood sheets and all kinds of other materials.
HINT: Sets of odd numbers are generally most pleasing to the eye.
Suspended acrylic pieces
I recently shared some tips for etching acrylic in my First Steps series. You can find that post here. I could see some etched acrylic pieces suspended from the top on clear fishing line. Tuck some of the line behind the clips that hold the glass to suspend pieces closer to the sides as well. Fairy lights in the bottom or a flameless candle in the middle would play off the acrylic nicely.
Okay, my mind is still brimming. But I need to run back to Ikea before they are sold out. What other ideas can you think of?