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DIY: Light the Way with Colorful Lanterns

Bring in the boldness with colorful DIY lanterns that will set the mood at your next backyard barbecue.

If candlelight is the finishing touch to any party-ready room, then its outdoor equivalent would have to be the hazy glow of garden lanterns. Strung from the ceiling or lining an ivy-bordered walkway, alfresco lamps impart a soft, flattering light that transforms a patio or backyard from mere utilitarian space to the perfect setting. But the lantern itself can also reinvent any location, whether you're going for moody and romantic or perky and playful.

 The latter was just the vibe I was trying to achieve on my own small terrace, but I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on lighting I'd only be able to enjoy a few months out of the year. The solution? I purchased inexpensive, monochrome metal lanterns from Ikea and set out to make them unique with a quick coat of spray paint. But I took that idea one step further, opting to paint each in varying shades of blue and green for an ombre effect that's both incredibly chic and appealingly versatile, capable of blending in with any occasion or gathering regardless of the formality. The process took less than 10 minutes to complete, and the results are magazine-worthy. Want to see how I did it? Scroll down for all of the details.

MATERIALS:

- Drop cloth
- Mask
- Rubber gloves
- Tack cloth
- Sand paper
- Metal lanterns
- All-purpose spray cleaner
- Krylon® ColorMaster™ Primer (available at various retailers)
Krylon® ColorMaster™ Paint + Primer, Sea Glass in Satin Finish  (available at various retailers)
Krylon® ColorMaster™ Paint + Primer, Pistachio in Satin Finish (available at various retailers)
Krylon® ColorMaster™ Paint + Primer, Gloss Regal Blue (available at various retailers)

DIY: Light the Way with Colorful Lanterns


GET READY

Gather all of your materials and set up your drop cloth in a well-ventilated area.  If your lantern has rusted bits or any kind of finish to it, make sure you sand everything off to reveal the raw metal beneath. Once completed, wipe down your surface with the tack cloth and spray the area clean. This will help the spray paint adhere to the metal.

DIY: Light the Way with Colorful Lanterns


TRUE COLORS



Remove and set aside the glass hurricane and lid. Holding the can 6 to 8 inches away, spray paint on all exposed surfaces and make sure to get in the crevices. Allow it to dry for 10 minutes.

DIY: Light the Way with Colorful Lanterns


FLIP YOUR LID

Spray the lantern's lid with a sweeping, back-and-forth motion (roughly 6 to 8 inches away). Let dry.  

DIY: Light the Way with Colorful Lanterns


REPETITION IS KEY

Repeat process on remaining lanterns and allow them to dry.  If you have not reached your desired shade, apply a second coat and allow the lanterns to dry over night. 

DIY: Light the Way with Colorful Lanterns


VOILA!

You're done! Replace glass hurricane on each and arrange lanterns as desired.

BEFORE & AFTER
Slide over to reveal the color transformation.

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