Martha-esque photo lanterns as centerpieces

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Offbeat Bride Tracy took her inspiration from Martha Stewart’s (all hail Martha!) photo centerpiece idea, winged it and somehow created an awesome, true-to-example, DIY, photo centerpiece option!

Finished, unlit lantern

These are really cute and could be made to accommodate a wide variety of themes, applications and color schemes, and in a range of sizes. They’re also pretty easy and relatively cheap to make! They just take a little time and a little creativity.

I couldn’t find step-by-step instructions on Martha’s project so I took a leap of faith and just tried it out! They turned out beautifully and I couldn’t be happier with ’em.

Only a few materials are needed, and this can be constructed using basic crafting skills (no crazy contractor-style tools needed)…

Materials (one lantern)

Arrange into a triangle.

Step 1:
The first step is to paint the frames. I used a greyish-cream colored crackle paste, which worked really well for the antique look I was going for. If you’re going to go the crackle route, I would recommend the crackle paste as opposed to a two-step crackle process. It goes on thick and looks like authentic old school paint.

You could use anything you like: craft paint in your wedding colors, metallic spray paint, wood finish, glitter glue, stone-textured spray paint, whatever! Just make sure that you paint both sides of the frame as the inside will be visible through the top of your lantern.

But you could do anything really: a design, a patterned print, a monogram, a poem or lyrics in a pretty font, etc. Or you could do nothing at all: just the vellum (white or in any shade) gives the candle light a soft glow and looks lovely on its own. It’s totally customizable to your taste and only limited by your creativity.

Bind with elastics

Step 2:
While you’re waiting for the frames to dry, print or photo copy your pictures in black and white/greyscale onto the vellum. Allow it some time to dry before you work with it or it will smudge (I found this out the hard way). Cut the photos/designs to fit your frames. You can do this easily by putting the glass that came with the frame over your vellum and tracing it.

Step 3:
After the frames are COMPLETELY dry, arrange them into a triangle as shown in the picture noted. Secure them in place with the elastics, one around the top and another near the bottom.

Step 4:
Using a hot glue gun, apply a good amount of glue along the seam of two frames. Work in one small (~3 inches) section at a time and use a utensil of some sort (I used an old ruler but you should probably use a paint knife) to smooth the glue into the seam while its still warm.

After you have completely glued the seams, allow the glue to cool and set with the elastics still on. this would be a good time to remove all of those annoying “spider web” strands of glue that tend to get everywhere when you’re hot-gluing.

Step 5:
Once the glue has set, remove the elastics and add your vellum images. Since this was my first time making the lantern, I taped my photos in place, just so I could see how it looked. I would recommend that you use scrapbooking glue dots to adhere the corners of the vellum into the frame, where the glass and backing would normally fit.

Step 6:
When your lantern is complete, insert a votive candle in a small holder into the lantern. Tea light candles look okay too, but larger votive candles make your images really glow and illuminate the table.

lantern6
finished product!

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