Introduction: Yogurt Container Lantern

About: I am an artist working in Oakland.

This Instructable will show you how to make a simple lantern by reusing a 24 oz. yogurt container. I started using 123D Design (download for free here) to build armatures for my sculptures, which are similar to the structure I made for this lantern. I included the two PDF's needed to start building the lantern.

Step 1: Materials/Tools You Need


One, 24oz. yogurt container (Pavel's or Clover brand)

One, Hemma cord set w/ switch (from Ikea $7)

One, 13W, 120v compact fluorescent light bulb

Two, 8.5"x11"x.25" pieces of Baltic Birch plywood

Spray Adhesive

Acetone and a rag

Wood glue


A computer printer

Band saw

Jig Saw


Belt and Drum sander

1.6250" Forstner bit

.375" drill bit

Bar clamp

Wood file

Two rubber bands, and two bicycle toe straps

Step 2: Drawing and Templates

I drew the lantern in 123D Design, and exported the faces as .SVG files to Adobe Illustrator (Ai). After some cleanup of the .SVG files in Ai, I arranged the templates to fit on two, 8.5"x11" sheets of paper, saved as PDF's and printed them on my home printer. The final lantern has 6 ribs, but I created 7 on the template. It's always a good idea to have extra for if/when you screw up.

Step 3: Adhering Templates to Plywood

Cut excess paper around each template, spray a light amount of spray adhesive on the back of each printout and mount on two 8.5"x11" pieces of .25" Baltic Birch plywood.

Step 4: Cut Out Support Rings

Cut out the small and large support rings. Use a 1.625" Forstner bit to cut the inner circle of the small ring. For the inner circle of the large ring drill .375" hole (or hole big enough for the jigsaw blade you are using), cut the hole out with a jigsaw, and clean up the circles with a drum and belt sander. I used a band saw to cut out the slots on the outer edge of the large support ring.

Step 5: Cut Out Ribs.

Cut out the ribs on the band saw, and clean up edges on the belt sander.

Step 6: Removing Ink From Container

Remove the printing ink on the yogurt container with a little Acetone on a rag.

Step 7: Threading the Light Fixture.

Remove paper templates from plywood with a scraper. Place the Hemma light fixture through the hole in the support ring and thread the plastic nut on the end of the fixture.

Step 8: Assembly

Dry fit the pieces together to make sure everything fits. You may need a wood file to open the .25" slots to get everything to fit nicely. Glue the pieces of the lantern together with wood glue. I used a couple of rubber bands, and 2 bicycle toe straps to "clamp" the pieces in place, and dry overnight. Thread a 13W 120V compact fluorescent light bulb in the fixture. DO NOT use a bulb that creates heat e.g., tungsten or incandescent - you will melt the yogurt container.

Step 9: Inserting Yogurt Container.

You'll have to compress the mouth of the yogurt container to fit it through the opening in the large ring, but the plastic will spring back in to place once it's through the opening. Then you're done!