Welcome to The Old Summers Home! Today I’m going to show you a super simple, quick and cute DIY project that I’m sure you will love! Our picture frame lantern tutorial will you help you create a little piece of rustic decor for your home.

Collection of decor items displayed together including my rustic picture frame lantern
A few of my DIY projects displayed together.

Picture Frame Lantern Supplies

  • 4 picture frames of the same size (colour doesn’t matter)
  • Spray paint colour of your choice (I used Rust-Oleum flat white)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • One thin piece of scrap wood to make your bottom (or you can use cardboard or something similar)
  • Glue Gun
  • Glue Sticks
  • Small piece of fine grit sandpaper (for distressing)

Step 1 Prepping your frames

First off remove the backs from your picture frames and put them with your glass pieces somewhere safe so they don’t get broken. For me thats my office. (Far away from our three little minions who are always running around getting into everything.)

Step 2 Bend those tabs out of the way

Now you need to get those tabs out of the way so that you don’t see them in your finished project. To do this I used my flat head screwdriver to bend them all the way back on to the frame itself so they would no longer be visible from the front view.

Picture frames being prepped for painting
Tabs are bent back onto frame hiding them.

Step 3 Time to paint!

Now you are going to want to give the frames a few light coats of your spray paint. Always start with spraying a thin light coat so that you do not get runs or drips in your paint. I used flat white by Rust-Oleum 2x ultra cover because I love how well it goes on and how few coats I have to apply. Two coats for these babies!

Step 4 Distress your frames

After they were good and dry I took my small piece of sandpaper and gave them a bit of a distressed look. You can sand as little or as much as you like. My husband, Josh likes to tease me about how much I love to sand and paint and sand 😉

Distressing the frames prior to a assembly
Let’s give these a quick distressing!

Step 4 Secure the glass in the frame

Once you are satisfied with the look of your now freshly painted and sanded frames its time to get your glue gun warmed up. Now you are going to go and get your ‘safely put away’ glass and give them a quick cleaning so they are ready to shine in your finished piece.

Now go ahead and place them into your frames. Take your glue gun and secure the glass into the frame with a few dabs here and there. Don’t put too much glue or it will show through the front of your frame. However, make sure the glass is good and secure so that it does not fall out either.

Distressed frame with glass now secured in place with hot glue
Don’t forget the backs they show too!

As you can see in the picture above I also distressed the back of the frames (paint and sand, paint and sand 😉 ).

Step 5 Assembly of your picture frame lantern

Now it is time to assemble your picture frame lantern. To do this I just aligned two of the sides of the frame together and glued along the edge holding together until dry. Then add a side and repeat then add the final side and complete. Now you have your four sides.

First stages of the picture frame lantern assembly
My oldest daughter lending a hand

Step 6 Adding your base

Take your little scrap wood and place it under your frame box. Trace the outline onto the scrap wood. I recommend tracing it rather than measuring it because odds are it won’t be perfectly square therefore it won’t be a perfect fit.

Now go ahead and give that a coat or two of your spray paint so that it matches the rest of your lantern. All you need to do now is grab your glue gun and secure the bottom.

Step 7 Display your beautiful picture frame lantern

I added a candle to mine and displayed it in my kitchen with a few of my other DIY projects I created. You can fill yours with whatever your little heart desires!

Completed rustic picture frame lantern
A simple candle on display in my new frame candle box
Arrangement of DIY decor - The Old Summers Home
My fridge top decor! I utilize every nook and cranny I can so that I can keep on creating haha.


If you enjoyed this project then you might like our Cookie Jar Up-Cycle too! Make sure to follow along so that you don’t miss any of our DIY projects. Thanks for reading!

Until next time;

Jenn Summers

The Old Summers Home

Picture Frame Lantern Tutorial, a step by step guide by The Old Summers Home