Introduction: Changeble Face Lanterns

About: My wife and I have a home haunt called Terror On 20Th....I love to build props...everything from a casket to pneumatic monsters! I am also a presenter, speaker and course teacher at Halloween conventions.

The idea of these "lanterns" is that you can make different faces for the lantern and that way you can change them for the seasons or holidays! They are built to hold a standard size battery powered candle...that way you can turn on the candle once and it will come on each night! These make great gifts! I made one for my mom and send her a new face for each holiday!

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed.

2 fence planks 6'x61/2" @ $1.59 each

1 1/2" 4d trim nails- I use Maze brand HT150 @ $5.89 (box) 1 lantern will take around 20 nails

1" fine thread drywall screws GripRite 1lb box @ $8.25 but you will only need 2 screws

1 bottle of Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Glue 8oz @ $2.97

Assorted sandpaper- 80&100 grit


tape measure, wood clamps (if using jig saw for the wood cutting), carpenters square,

carpenters pencil, jig saw, straight edge, hammer, rags to clean up glue, drill with drill bits


This project is made with pressure treated fence planks, cut, assemble, sand and paint in a well ventilated area. Wear safety glasses and a dust mask when sanding. DO NOT burn scrap pressure treated wood.

Step 2: Cutting All the Sections!

1. Start from the square bottom. Measure 12" on the fence plank and mark with pencil. Using the carpenters square, draw a cutting line.

2. Using a jig saw, hand saw or chop saw cut one 12" may need to use clamps or another set of hands to hold down material! Be sure to cut on the "outside" of the cutting line so it will be 12"

3. Repeat #2 until you have 5 12" sections. Keep the extra section for later, (rounded fence top) for the top & bottom.

4. Take 2 sections, measure 3" across and mark, do this on the top & bottom. Connect the marks with a line.

5. Clamp the material down and with the jigsaw cut on the outside of the line. You now have the 2 "sides" of the lantern.

6. Now take the other 3 sections and measure 4 1/2" across, mark the top and bottom, connect the dots with a line.

7. With jigsaw (table saw works great for this) cut on the outside of the line for all 3 sections (clamping to cut). You now have the back and two front faces.

8. Using the left over top fence section on the square side measure 5 1/2" down and mark with a cut line using the carpenters square. Cut outside the line, you now have the top and bottom of the lantern.

Step 3: Let's Build This Lantern!

9. Lay a 12" section flat, using another section set it on it's side against the edge of the flat section. Trace a line down the side of both outer sides.

10. Using a drill, choose a drill bit smaller than the finish nails and drill pilot holes on both edges of the flat marked section. 4 per side, start about an inch from the top. Be sure to mark the holes with an X as they are hard to find later.

11. Take 2 3 1/2" sections lay a small bead of wood glue on one edge, top to bottom. Now place the 12" back section on top of the sides, be sure the sides are right to the edge of the back section. Tap in the trim nails for each side. Wipe off the excess glue. You should now have a back connected with both sides. It should look like a "C" channel.

12. Take one of the front "face" sections and hold it in place. * Do Not nail in place! Stand the lantern on top of the bottom section, center it and trace onto the bottom. Now you have the layout of the lantern to drill pilot holes to attach the bottom. Do the same for the rounded section for the top.

13. Drill and mark the pilot holes for the top and bottom. Apply glue to the bottom of the lantern and nail on the bottom. Clean off excess glue, repeat for top. The lantern is just about done.

Step 4: Making the Faces!

14. I get templates on line for pumpkin carving, cat's ghosts or just draw a face. Also look for hearts, snowman, Christmas tree's, Santa...anything you want to make different faces...the pics will give you some ideas. I draw them onto cardboard or foam 1st and cut them out. Then I lay the cut out onto the wood face and use some cheap spray paint to transfer it.

15. Cut out the black using the jig saw with a scroll blade. Drill a few starting holes first. I use the lantern to set the face on, makes it easy to cut. The more holes you drill first the easier it will be to cut out the design.

16. Once the face is cut out set it onto the lantern and drill a pilot hole about an inch down, on the edge for the screw. Now do the same on the other side of the face but on the bottom.This will hold the face on.

17. Sand everything down with an 80-100 grit sand paper. You can paint it, stain it or even use a torch for a cool burnt look. I sometimes use a few scrap pieces of fence to ad a bit more to the top. I also put a small eyelet on the top of a few so they can be hung.