Japanese lanterns are a popular garden decoration in both Japanese-style gardens and traditional ones. Stone lanterns, particularly granite, can be expensive, and concrete lanterns that are available at garden centres often appear cheap and badly made. You can make your own concrete Japanese pagoda lanterns that look better than the prefabricated ones as well as cost less. A prime benefit of making your own is to have control over the style and size of the lantern, ensuring that it will be a perfect addition to your garden.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Concrete mix
- Mold release spray
- Metal rod
- Rubber gloves
- Concrete trowel
- Outdoor caulk
Design your lantern. The simplest lantern has a pillar, a light box and a roof, but you can make your design as complex as you wish. Disposable cardboard moulds and reusable moulds are available at home improvement or craft stores.
Spray each mould with release spray.
Mix the concrete in the bucket following the instructions on the bag. It needs to be thick and not watery.
Pour the concrete into the moulds and smooth with a trowel. Insert a metal rod into the pillar if it is more than 10 inches tall. This will reinforce the concrete.
Allow the concrete to dry for 12 hours.
Remove each piece carefully from the mould by turning it upside down and tapping lightly. Rub them down with your gloved hands to give them a weathered stone-like look.
Assemble the pieces and allow the weight to hold them together or use caulking between them to hold them in place.
Tips and warnings
- You can mix peat moss with the concrete to make it look more like stone.
- Wear gloves and old clothes when working with concrete, as it ruins clothing and irritates the skin.
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