Lanterns: Using Light as Art for Home Décor

Lanterns can be used in many ways to for home décor with simple modifications

By Guest Blogger Madoline Hatter

Lanterns can provide a medium for using light as art from the shadows they produce to the intricate patterns of stained glass. What’s more, this medium isn’t difficult to develop for those who have the patience to modify the lamp’s casing to produce the desired result. There are many ways a lantern can be modified in order to produce your masterpiece.

Cutting the Casing

Shapes and images can be cut directly into the casing of a lantern in order to produce a variety of results. Not only will the lantern provide light within the room as a primary purpose, but shapes and detailed images can be displayed on the surrounding walls giving the room a personality of its own. Many of these styles of lanterns can be purchased with the imagery already cut into them.

Virtually any lantern can be used in this fashion as even the smallest carvings can change the image in profound ways.

Enhancing Imagery

Lanterns don’t have to rely on shadow to display art. Within this style of art, the light accentuates the image by providing the detail that wouldn’t otherwise be available. Pumpkins are only one of many ways you can accentuate detail through the use of light emitting from the object.

Large Scale

The nature of light and how it is emitted from a lantern can allow an artist to cover a large surface with his or her intended image from even the smallest of lanterns. Using a sheet or other thin opaque material, you can create an entire dining room scene in a life-sized representation from nothing more than a couple of small lanterns properly shaded.

Color Molding

Stained glass or translucent paint on glass lanterns can be used to mold two or more colors into one. Although each lantern still provides its own original color through the use of the light, these colors can blend together in order to cover the room in a completely separate color.

The Unreal

For example, lanterns that are created to look like ice or snow sculptures illuminating a small “flame” light bulb combine two elements that our brains know couldn’t possibly work, which makes the experience all that much more exotic. Some of the more developed “ice” lanterns are so realistic; you are half expecting them to melt.


The actual lantern itself can create a unique experience as they can be combined with elements that our minds know couldn’t possibly exist together.

Shading through Density

Increasing the density on the inside of a lantern can create a spectacular piece of art. On the outside, the entire lantern is covered in a thin but non-see-through material giving no hints as to its true nature. From the outside, they could look like nothing more than a covered lamp. However, you can make images with incredible detail by adding additional layers on the inside of the cover. The denser the material gets, the less light escapes, which can be used to add shading to an image once the lantern is turned on.


This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.




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Lanterns: Using Light as Art for Home Décor