Making a medieval lantern
Updated: May 24
One of the positive sides of the whole corona mess is that I finally have time to do all the side projects that have been waiting for years. This time I decided to do a medieval lantern which was used in Europe between 12th and 15th centuries. This type of lantern is very simple, with a hole in the top and a movable candle-holder in the middle, surrounded with a piece of thin parchment to diffuse the light and protect the flame from the wind.
Now, a disclaimer for all the purists - I did not use neither the real materials, nor the tools of the period. This was just a test to see if I can do it without trying to find any blueprints or tutorials. Apparently, I can. So, in the near future, when business returns to normal and I'm able to afford some real thin parchment, I will re-do this project completely medieval-style. :)
For the base and the top of the lantern, I used a piece of some terrible particle board I found in the workshop. Not very nice, but it was easy to cut and was the only piece of wood I could find without walking far. After cutting two 10x10cm pieces, I cut a smaller one upon which the candle will be placed. I bore holes into the base and the top, about halfway through the board, so the sticks that form the spokes of the lantern would be fixed in place. I made a hole for the candle at the top, as well as a smaller hole for the candle-holder handle. I used sand-paper to make the edges a bit nicer.
Since I didn't have any thin parchment at home, I faked it by soaking a piece of recycled printer paper into beeswax, and wrapped it around the body of the lantern. I also dipped the edges of the base and top into beeswax to try and make it look at least a bit nicer than just the plain particle board. I added a leather strap for carrying as well.
And that's about it! There's a lot of things I could've done better, but that will be solved by using the right materials. I didn't glue anything except the stick that moves the candle-holder. I should also add a small metal tray or at least a pin to secure the candle. All in all, I'm very satisfied with the end product, especially since it took only about an hour to make! It will most likely take more time for the next one, since I plan on using only the medieval tools and materials, but that will only make it more fun! :)
That's about it for today! What could I do better next time? Have you tried making one of these lanterns yourself? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Instagram or Facebook page! If you want a simple four-step infographic on how to make this type of lantern, subscribe to our newsletter to get a free download link! :) Until next time, stay medieval!