DIY | Doily Lantern

The lovely Sarah is back again this month with another fabulous DIY! This one is so simple and chic, I know you all are going to love it!

Happy spring, readers! I have been so excited to share this month’s DIY project with you! It is an easy, affordable centerpiece idea that was inspired by Shannon South’s gorgeous upcycled Doily Lamp. I stumbled across this stunning lamp while searching for a unique idea involving doilies, and thought a modified version would be fantastic for this month’s project. I am going to show you how to make light orbs out of repurposed vintage doilies. These little lamps will add an ethereal atmosphere to any wedding, whether you use them as centerpieces, have your bridesmaids carry them down the aisle instead of bouquets, or hang them from branches at your outdoor reception. Look for lightly used doilies at antique stores or online, or ask Mom or Grandma if they wouldn’t mind donating some of theirs. I used white, but you can find them in many colors, or even dye them if you want to match your wedding color palate. Make it your own! See below for the step by step. NOTE: Plan ahead for this project, it will need to dry overnight before use.


  • 4-5 doilies per lamp (preferably round and about 5-6 inches in diameter, depending on the size you want the orb to be)
  • Fabric stiffener
  • Paintbrushes (a wide flat brush, or a medium round brush will work the best)
  • Various sized rubber balls, balloons, etc. (I used small rubber balls, but balloons might be a cheaper option if you are going to be making more than a few orbs. You will need one for each lamp you decide to make as you have to pop them to remove them.)
  • Wax paper
  • A bowl or dish to rest the orb on while you work on it
  • Flameless LED tea lights, one per orb (Don’t use real candles!)

***Before you start, make sure to wash your doilies by hand with a mild soap and lukewarm water in the sink. Lay flat to dry. If you want to change colors, you can dye them using fabric dyes, or for a more delicate color change, use tea. Brew up a strong cup of tea and let the doilies sit in it for a few hours. This will give them an antique finish and will hide any stubborn stains on vintage doilies. If you want your orbs to be white, soak the doilies in a diluted bleach bath for an hour, then rinse thoroughly to prevent damaging the delicate fibers. Doilies must be completely dry before you begin making the orbs. Now on to the fun!

Step 1: Take your rubber ball or balloon and place it in a small dish to keep it steady while you work. Put a piece of wax paper underneath the ball to protect the dish. Begin placing the doilies on the ball, making sure the edges slightly overlap. This is what will keep the orb together after the fabric stiffener dries. You can add a few stitches to reinforce the seams once it is dry (especially if yours will be handled a lot), but I didn’t find it necessary.

Step 2: Once you have the doilies arranged how you want them, pour some fabric stiffener onto the palate or wax paper. Start painting the fabric stiffener onto the doily, ensuring you cover every bit, otherwise it won’t harden and the uncoated parts will sag. Don’t oversaturate, just put enough on so that it is damp to the touch.

Step 3: Leave a small area open so that you can insert the LED tea light.

Step 4: Let the doilies dry overnight to ensure that it is COMPLETELY dry before handling. Side note: I got overexcited and tried to remove my doilies from the ball before it was completely dry, and ended up with a soggy, misshapen doily mess.

Step 5: Once the doilies are dry, use a blade to pop the balloon/rubber ball. Carefully pull the ball out through the hole you left open in the doilies. Ta da! You now have a ready to use doily lamp!

Optional Step 6: If you want to make the pomander version of the lamp, simply attach a pretty ribbon to the opening where you put the tea light in. This makes it into a sort of basket that will hold the candle and the bow will hide the opening. I just pinned my ribbon on, but you can sew or hot glue it for a more permanent attachment.

Simple steps to a stunning centerpiece! Your guests will always remember their table and the magical atmosphere your wedding exuded with these delicate doily lamps. Give them away as favors to special guests at the end of the night, or keep them all and use them as fabulous decorations in your newlywed home! Or get ambitious and make a huge one like Shannon’s to put over the head table. No matter how you decide to incorporate these sparkling orbs, your wedding will be lit up in a creative way! Now go grab your bridesmaids and have a centerpiece party, because DIY is more fun with friends!

Have fun and stay crafty! Until next time, my lovelies!