Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Making a Tiny Victorian Hall Lantern

I have been searching for some light fittings for my half scale dollhouse, however, in this scale I have not been able to find any affordable lights which are not clunky and look out of scale. I did find some that were nice but were about $150 - $200 each, which is too much if you want to light a whole house. 

So, I decided to make my own. The first light fitting I need to make it the entrance hall light because it will be closest to the lighting pack (which will sit under the stairs). 

I decided on a Victorian hall lantern. I love these lanterns so much! 

There are many different styles, but the common elements include leaded stain glass in simple geometric patterns, and quatrefoil patterned edging. 

To make my little lantern, I first found some cheap, thin bangles.

I also tracked down some fancy jewellery wire with a nice gothic-type pattern. 

I cut the bangle into 8 equal lengths to form the top and bottom frame of the four sided lantern.

I then cut small sections from the decorative wire and used them to cap the edges of the frame, top and bottom.

I then bent two lengths of wire for the "handle" on the top.

I then glued these two lengths on as you can see below.

Once the top and bottom frames were done I cut four equal rectangles from acetate for the glass. These glued into a cube easily using a plastics glue. 

Then I popped the top and bottom framing sections onto the acetate cube.

Next I used a length of gold tape to use for the leading (bought from a gold supply shop). This is thin lead strip tape with an adhesive backing which can be cut into very thin strips and simply stuck down to look like leading on glass. I also used it to cap the four side edges of the lantern.

The use of super glue to glue the metal frame to the acetate oxidises the acetate, thus making it a little cloudy. I personally like this because I think it makes the glass look old. 

I bought glass paints to colour the acetate however (after spending a lot of money on the paint) changed my mind because it did not give a smooth finish. Instead I bought coloured cellophane, cut it into pieces and glued it to the inside of the lantern.

The outcome is surprisingly real and effective!

Im still debating whether I have made the lantern the right scale for the hall. I feel it might be a tiny bit big. I guess it will become more clear once the other finishes are in.

I have been thinking of making some more to sell on Etsy (in both 1:12 and 1:24). Thoughts?


  1. Hello Emily,
    I think you did a terrific job. the lantern looks wonderful and very realistic. I have seen many lanterns and they tend to be quite large sometimes...especially if they hang from the ceiling and are the main light source of a room. I don't thin kit is too big, but rather I think the ceiling is a little low for it...maybe if it did not hang so low that might make the scale work better.
    Big hug,

  2. Beautiful!!! Thank you. ;)

  3. I agree with Giac they look so real and it does need to be a bit higher. Great Job


  4. I am always amazed at how something can go from a thought to something like this! It is very pretty! Giac has a point. I would think a person would bump their head coming down the stairs. As for Ebay or Etsy...I say SELL, SELL, SELL!

  5. Fenomenal!!! Me encanta como queda.

  6. Hi Emily! This is awesome work, the lamp is successful and very beautiful!
    Regarding its size: I agree with Giac. Regarding the selling: please, DO :D!
    Kind regards, Ilona

  7. I just found your blog (pinterest i think) and i wanted to let you know that I think what you do is amazing! Such great work and very inspiring. I lost my mom 10 years ago and still have not touched a dollhouse that she never got to work on. Your blog sparked something that just makes me want to create and learn new things that would make her proud. Sorry if i'm sounding crazy lol but i wanted to share. Thanks and you've gained a new reader :)

  8. I think it's great and the size is ok. I would shorten the pin it's hanging from, to give more of a sense of space. Oops, I just read that Giac and others have said the same! If you hang it from a bit of chain you could add a grain of rice bulb and I don't think anyone else has a lantern for sale on etsy in 1/12th scale quite like it!

  9. The lantern is fantastic, I agree with everyone else though about the height. I have seen these in situ and they are very big too. I would sell them, though I have a warning, it might be better to use araldite glue. I found superglue can just suddenly give, if you use it to glue metal. P.s. Araldite is holding your opera house together in Sydney :D x

  10. Hello. I just found your blog and have been reading from start to finish over the weekend. You do some beautiful and interesting stuff. I would love to do a Gustavian style house and I also have a Willowcrest in it's box, ready to one day be a high Victorian using the same Brodnax wallpapers. Thanks for all the inspiration. I look forward to seeing more of your work. And also, so much talent in Australia! I live in country Victoria (east of Melbourne).

  11. Please do make some to sell on Etsy in 1/24th scale! It is much harder to find a variety of lights in this scale than it is in 1/12th scale. You are extremely creative and have done a wonderful job of this lantern. I agree that raising it and lighting it with an LED light (even a chip) would really give this foyer an impact.

  12. Wonderful job Emily, you are so resourceful. I agree with others' comments I think you lanterns would sell like hotcakes.

  13. I agree with everyone here, by all means sell these precious lanterns. And consider pairs or sets as people like to place two by the front door, or on a balcony/patio.

  14. I agree with everyone here too.Amazing work , great ideas ! Congrats! and you have a new reader.