Upcycle An Old Lantern Into A Unique Hanging Planter

Have you ever wanted to liven up your outdoor space or spice up your boring porch with a colorful addition of flowers, but the typical hanging planters are, well, boring? We have a way you can hang your flowers and love their planter, too. It's so easy. Take an old lantern, remove the glass panels, and fill it with soil and flowers. The way the flowers spill out of the hanging lantern is enchanting, reminiscent of nature reclaiming something man-made. Even if you're not inspired by the symbolic undertones, it simply looks cool.

The style of lantern you use may change how you complete your DIY. To plant flowers, it'll need a high enough rim at the bottom to hold in the soil. If you happen to have a tall lantern left over from holiday decor or just stashed away in storage, that will be your most frugal bet. However, if you want to purchase something just for this DIY, Dollar Tree sells a metal lantern that is just over 14 inches tall for only $5. Or, for a truly budget-friendly lantern, opt for one a little smaller — just over 10 inches tall — for $3, also from Dollar Tree. In just a few steps, you'll have a unique and very non-boring hanging planter adorning your outdoor space.

Precautions and prep work

If your lantern has glass panels, start by removing them. Some have tabs on the inside holding the glass attached, like the back of a picture frame, and are reinforced with glue. You can pry off the panels using a flathead screwdriver, but be very careful. Even though the glass is likely thick, it still could break without much effort. We recommend working over a trash can to collect any falling glass in case it breaks. You may also need to drill drainage holes into the bottom.

Hopefully the lantern is already the color that you want, especially if you purchased it just for this DIY. But, in case it's not, now is the time to rectify that. Be sure to prep the surface by lightly sanding it before applying paint. If your lantern is older than you remember and showing its age, follow these tips for painting over rust. Even if it's already the right color, you may want to apply a protective coat to make sure the weather doesn't ruin it.

If you live somewhere that regularly reaches the triple digits in the summer, carefully consider what your lantern is made of and where you hang it. Metal planters get hot — like melt your LED candle hot — if left in the sun in high temperatures. This can overheat and essentially cook plant roots in your metal lantern. Using a plastic pot liner or a small pot instead of planting directly in the lantern can help protect them from the hot metal.

Fill it with flowers and more

Perhaps you don't want to limit yourself to live flowers or don't want to run the risk of those lovely flowers dying soon after you hang them. If that's the case, fill your lantern with an artificial arrangement. If you're unsure of what to choose or how to arrange single stems, get a garland of flowers instead. Wrap the garland in and out of the open panels to create a full-flowered look. Just make sure you don't only wrap it around the outside or it will start to droop after a while, and not in a good way. This is ideal for those on a budget, as you can grab a spring garland from Walmart for less than $11.

When you choose artificial flowers for this planter, there are even more benefits aside from not coming home to wilted or dead flowers. You can also update it for holidays or with the changing seasons. In the fall, fill it with golden autumn leaves and mini gourds or spin webbing over it with a spider lurking in its corner and creepy flickering LED candles for Halloween. Come Christmas, display red and white poinsettias, snow globes nestled in a cushion of fake snow, or a DIY menorah made from different items around your house and a Star of David. Then, when spring arrives, revive it with cheerful sunflowers or as an alternative Easter basket, complete with plastic grass and painted eggs. This hanging planter makes a perfect base for almost any decor you could desire.