This DIY Hack Makes an IKEA Paper Lantern Look Expensive (for Just $6!)

published Jul 4, 2024
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Red wood ceiling with large beams, giant white round paper lighting fixture, dark wood floors and dark wood modern dining table

Noguchi-style lanterns seem to be a designer-favorite light; Leanne Ford uses them all the time in her projects, and they pop up in house tours plenty. These lamps are classic but still modern, work with practically every design aesthetic, and are very inexpensive relative to their size, especially if you don’t spring for an authentic version. You can shop for Noguchi-style dupes in a bunch of different places, from Pearl River Mart to Amazon, and even IKEA, which sells the REGOLIT for just $4.99 (but more on that later).

What I love about these lights is that over the years, they’ve become a springboard for so many different DIYs. I’ve seen them dip-dyed and polka-dotted, adorned with tissue paper scallops, and turned into planets, but I’ve yet to see them look as expensive and chic as when I went to designer Kate Rohrer’s warehouse sale. There, I was struck by how she and her team used ModgePodge to attach dried flowers to theirs, which she told me was a fun bonding arts and crafts project they did together. The Rohe Creative team chose different sized versions to adorn and have been using them outside, just hanging in the trees surrounding their space. Sure, they might not make it through a huge rainstorm, but the idea of using these for a summer party or as general outdoor decor is such a smart one, as they’re not only high-impact but also relatively inexpensive.

Credit: Danielle Blundell

If you want to get this designer-approved look on a tiny budget, all you have to do is grab a $5 REGOLIT and some ModgePodge — which costs all of $6 — then go outside to forage for leaves and flowers, which you can dry at home and then attach to the lantern. You can also purchase dried pressed leaves and preserved blooms if you want to go that route, but that does bring the grand total for this project up a bit.

Once dry and set, you can hang these babies outdoors for an extra touch of nature-inspired pattern outside; they’d be especially pretty over a dining table, magically “floating” overhead by being rigged with fishing line. But I think this DIY hack would be equally striking indoors, again with this kind of lamp strung over a dining table or even in a living room or bedroom. To use them as wired pendants, you’d just need to purchase a cord kit, which again will bring the cost up to about $21 each, give or take a bit depending on the paper lantern size and where you source them from. Amazon has giant 30-inch ones for about $20 (if you want to go for the drama). Whatever path you go down here, you’re still getting a lot of light and decorative punch for a great price.