Craftsman Style Lantern

The finished piece

I just finished a project for a client that really turned out great.

I had made several things for her before and she was looking for something unique as a wedding gift.

We kicked the ideas around and came up with a lantern made in the Craftsman style of Frank Lloyd Wright and Green and Green. I think this is such a great style and I was looking forward to working on the project.

We worked the ideas back and forth and she selected a beautiful handmade stained glass for the walls of the lantern.

Getting the look right

While I was waiting for the glass to arrive I started working on the body of the lantern. The first thing to do was determine the dimensions and shape. As always it is easier for me to see things in real life, so I laid out some metal on the table and started moving it around until I was happy with the look. The walls needed a slight inward angle to make them look balanced and grounded.

That angle would make the design a little harder to execute, but it would add a lot to the look  ..    so it was in.

Making a Jig

After I had the layout, I started to build a template to make each of the sides the same. Now for a metal artist, building a template means welding junk metal to the table to hold all the pieces in place while you work on them. I then had to cut and notch the metal pieces so they could be seamlessly welded together.

After one side was built, I made the back and then attach them with matching sides. All a piece of cake… cause I had a template to use.

So after the sides were welded, the body of the lantern was able to stand on its own. 

I then stand back and look to see if it meets the design requirements (at this stage of the game the design requirements are that it is square and stands level on the table).

It stands up!

The ginko leaves were cut from sheet steel, textured and the welded to the stims.  after grouping them together some were welded to each of the windows of the lantern.

I made a bunch of leaves.

I think it all look right so I start thinking of the roof.

The paper top makes it easier to change if wrong.

The style called for the roof to have a low rise and overhang a nice distance. That is a lot easier to say then it is to do. I know there are probably mathematical formulas to get this right the first time. But I am a right brain thinker, so I do it by cutting poster board until I get it right. And in this case that took three tries. But I was happy with outcome.

 The roof was cut with a plasma torch from some 18 gage steel, then welded together.

Welding the top

That went right together… which means the triangle pieces were made right!


A big concern I had was how to make the door open so the candles could be inserted and lit. I decided on a swing from the top devise with an offset hinge. The offset would make the door swing closed without any assistance. After some adjusting, the hinge worked perfect and the door hung correctly in the doorway.

The roof was not finished yet. It still needed a vent in the top and a hanging bracket. I cut a small square in the top center and

top vent and wrap

covered it with a curved piece which matched the style. Now the heat from the candles could escape and the hanger would not get too hot.

Torch work

The hanger was made from a piece of 3/16” round stainless steel. I heated it, and tapered both ends on the anvil. I then wrapped it around the hoops installed in the roof. I heated and twisted the ends back on themselves for a vine look.

I delivered the lantern to “Area 51” powder coating for the finish work. Brett does a great job and stands behind everything he does. His crew sandblasted the surface to remove any oil, slag, or other crud which may be on the metal.
They put it into the spray room and coat it with dry powder paint. It is then transferred to the oven for about 20 min at 400 degrees. The paint melts and coats the entire surface. It makes a great looking surface and the finish is very durable. The color we selected was to mimic a rust coat. And it really set off the glass color.

Brett in the spray booth.

The lantern gets cooked inthis oven.







I then cut the glass and installed it into the side panels. That sounds easy when I say it, but when you have a piece of custom made glass and you break one of them… you get scared. So what I did was to ask Marty at Stained Glass Creations to cut the last piece for me. I am glad I did. It was not as simple as I had hoped. He made it all turned out well. And the instillation went fine.


Melissa making the photos

Now on to the photo process. Melissa and Company Photography did the real photos at her studio and they were fabulous. She really knows what she is doing. I will post them on another blog entry for all to see.

I am making a box for shipping and then off to the client.

It has been fun….

I am proud of this one.


1 Comment

  1. Love it. It is beautiful.


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