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DIY Decorative Hanging Lanterns from Dowel Rods and Embroidery Hoops

These DIY decorative hanging lanterns from dowel rods, embroidery hoops and twine are a fun addition to patio decor. With a little time and creativity, they can be made for well under $10 each (depending on size.)!

Patio with DIY dowel rod and embroidery hoop lanterns

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Now that our patio is finished, we find we are spending all of out time at home outside living on it. ( In fact, I’ve had quite a few work days where I’ve typed away in sunglasses.). We have a beautiful River Birch that gives us nice, dappled shade all day long that hangs over top. While we’ve hung our favorite solar lights from it and stretching around the patio, I wanted to add another element of interest. I thought making some fun DIY decorative hanging lanterns would be a  way to add some interest. Find supplies here.

Make DIY hanging lanterns with dowel rods embroidery hoops and twine

For supplies you’ll just need embroidery hoops of varying sizes (2 per lantern), skinny dowel rods, garden twine, and hot glue. That’s it!

Hot glue dowel rods ro embroidery hoop

First, choose hoop size and dowel rod length. Glue to rods to the outside of the hoop , equally spaced out. Use lots of glue or the shape won’t hold up! When you are done, it should resemble a drum. This is where you can get creative and play with the size of your hoops and length to vary your lantern size.

Wrap twine around hoops to make a lantern
 Once your shape is made, if you are going to make some that are twine wrapped, start wrapping! In the video that goes with this post, there is a demonstration of how I wrapped mine. You can just go around the entire thing over and over again, or even loop over and under. Which ever you do, make sure you don’t out too much pressure on the wood shape or the dowel rods could pop off. I secured the ends of the twine with hot glue. The gluing together of the dowel rods went the fastest, it was the wrapping of twine that seemed to take forever. I love a good dowel rod project like this sound wave art.

Wrap twine in different patterns
For some of the lanterns I clustered dowel rods, others I tied together with another lantern base to create something that was two-tiered. It was fun to come up with all kind of different combinations of dowel rods and twine. Two of them I attached together by criss-crossing dowel rods for it to sit on so that one nested in the other, and another one I tied together with twine. There are not hard and fast rules, and luckily they aren’t very heavy.

Use dowel rods to hold other pieces together
 I played with creating different lantern styles by layering different dowel rod patterns and spacing.

Four DIY lantern styles

Once I had the DIY lanterns created, I hung them from our River Birch with twine.

Patio decor and DIY hanging lanterns

I love how they add an extra element in the greenery, they make a nice outside accent.

Hanging lanterns made from dowel rods

I’ve also played with the idea of adding solar lights to them. We have so many solar lights in our yard now, it looks like we own shares in the factory. In all seriousness though,  I love how far solar lighting has come.


Patio with DIY hanging lanterns

I’m curious to see how well the dowel rod and embroidery hoop decorative lanterns hold up in the weather. They are pretty protected under the tree, so unless we get a torrential down pour or high winds they might do alright.

Outdoor patio seating and DIY lanterns