Turn Dollar Store Frames Into a Trendy Decorative Lantern

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dollar tree lanterns made from picture frames

Check out this fun Dollar Tree home decor hack!

I recently put together some trendy decorative lanterns by using photo frames from Dollar Tree, and they turned out super cute. They look great on my dining room table, and I love that I can display candles inside or change up what’s inside for different seasons and holidays.

black dollar tree picture frames

Grab some Dollar Tree frames and get started!

The idea is to grab your frames, take them apart, and then glue the pieces back together into a lantern design. Don’t worry – it’s easier than it sounds! For one lantern you’ll need four 8×10 picture frames and one 8×8 picture frame. Notice that the 8×8 frame pictured above is a collage frame with an overall size of 8×8. 

Tips for success:

  • Before you leave the Dollar Tree store, I’d open the frames to make sure they aren’t damaged. This happened to me, and it’ll save you a trip back.  
  • It’s helpful to grab some needle nose pliers to easily deconstruct your frames.
  • You can just glue a simple shape with four frames and skip the top part, but I think the top’s the coolest detail!
  • For festive Halloween decor, it would be fun to embellish further with black vinyl shapes for a spooky lantern.
  • You can glue a frame to the bottom to have a “base”, but I think it’s more convenient to have it open for larger candles and decor. It’s all up to you.

picture frame next to a lantern

DIY Dollar Tree Picture Frame Lanterns


Supplies Needed

  • 4– 8x10 picture frames (flat sided)
  • 1– 8×8 square picture frame
  • needle nose pliers
  • hot glue gun
  • 1 shower curtain ring *optional



Take the backing off of each frame (leave the glass inside), and glue each side together to create a cube with the four frames. Make sure to glue the front of each frame facing the outside.


Using the needle nose pliers, break apart the square picture frame and remove the tiny metal pieces holding the sides together. (I left one side together and then separated the other two pieces, as shown above; this will make it easier when constructing the lantern.)


With the hot glue gun, glue them to the top of lantern at each corner, making a point at the center.


For an optional, yet realistic detail, paint a plastic shower curtain ring and add it to the top. It adds a nice touch.


Add pillar candles to the middle of lantern or holiday decor to display.

homemade decorative lanterns from dollar tree frames on a wooden table

Look at how pretty these turned out!

I love how the size is actually very substantial. They are a pretty and trendy statement piece for the home – and you can’t beat the price! I’ve seen real lanterns like these priced at $25+ in stores and online. These cost me $5!

closeup of the lantern edge

Style your lanterns for different holidays and seasons!

Here’s an example of how you can decorate a lantern for Christmas. All items inside are from Dollar Tree. They even carry tiny LED lights and candles to put inside! Have some fun and be creative!

These farmhouse style decorative orbs are made from what?!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 41

  1. Deb

    Very clever and inexpensive craft–the only problem I had was none of the 5 Dollar Tree stores (in two different states) had the 8×8 frames. I ended up improvising and coming up with my own ‘top’ for the lantern–the end product looks good and will be festive for the holidays!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh I’m so glad you were able to make it work!! Thanks for sharing Deb!

    • Judith David

      What did you use i can’t find 8×8 in any of the dollar trees

      • Sandy

        You can just buy 2 8×10’s and just use the 8″ sides to get 4 8″ pieces.

  2. Happie

    Thank you. It’s very easy diy.. I love what I made but I can’t find the 8×8 frame I left the top open and I put pine cone artificial flower on the side of the lantern.

  3. Judith David

    Can’t find an 8×8 frame. What can i use.

    • Christina Rankin

      That is the same problem I had

  4. Christina Rankin

    That is the same problem I had

    • Bonnie

      She said to just buy the 8×10 frames and use the 8 inches on them

      • Sherry Blank

        You can also use a dollar tree square plate in place of the 8×8 frame

        • MaryJo

          How in the world would using a plate work where a frame is essential?

  5. Carol Crockett

    Did everyone use a hot glue gun? I am unable to get a good seal. Suggestions?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      e6000 glue would also likely work since it is a strong adhesive and clear.

      • Diney

        Like that but most use a glue gun and it won’t stay long. This way it will definately last.

    • Linda

      Use tape to hold the side together until it Dries.


    What did you use to make the floor of the lanterns? You can’t pick it up because if you do the stuff will fall out. What did you do with the glass?

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi Kathy! Here is the tip Lina has listed above – “You can glue a frame to the bottom to have a “base”, but I think it’s more convenient to have it open for larger candles and decor. It’s all up to you.”
      Hope that helps!

    • Patt Popple

      E6000 glue

  7. Teresa Allen

    I just bought the frames and when I assemble them to make the box, I have an issue with 2 of them being to long or tall depending on which was I turn them. I am sure it’s crafter error but I am not sure what I did wrong. Please help!

    • Teresa Allen

      Also, I was adding a bottom to it, thats what was causing it. I turned it over so that it would not have a bottom. I saw someone else add a bottom and that confused me. Love this craft, thanks for sharing.

  8. Catherine Joyner

    I think when I make mine I am doing to use a frame that it can sit on or better yet a block of wood painted the color of the frame. That way you can pick up your lantern and put what ever you want in it and sit it back down on the block

  9. Monique

    Tried every glue possible for the frames I bought & nothing worked. E6000 does have a good bond, but it takes time for it to bond. Finally went to Home Depot & found a glue that said it could bond to anything. Still had to hold it in place for a while, prop something against & let it cure overnight. Took 4 days to glue the 4 frames together. My idea for a bottom is to have a piece of glass cut the size needed & slide it in the bottom. Inexpensive & effective. Not going to make too many of these unless someone out there comes up with an easy/quicker solution to gluing the frames!

    • Carol Russell

      Use a strip of E6000 and along side of it add hot glue. That way the hot glue will hold it while the E6000 cures.

    • Kim

      I used my brad nailer and 5/8” brad nails. So quick and easy!!

  10. Keisha

    I have seen people use both hot glue & E6000. You use the hot glue for quick hold while the E6000 dries. It gives lantern a permanent hold. Add both glues to the space.

  11. Melissa Neal

    I used a foam board on the bottom. It is covered in snow for my decorations, so it doesn’t show and it doesn’t add weight so you can pick it up and move it around. I’m sure if you have heavy candles in it, might need to pick those up to move in, but once in place it works great.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh that’s a fun idea!

  12. Karen

    I made several of these for Christmas gifts. I purchased wood for both the bottom and the tops. I used miniature houses/figurines for scenes inside the lanterns, I glued these to the bottom of the lantern. I used the small battery powered lights and glued them around the top of the frames. Used the snow beads, sprinkled after inside was finished . I placed a golden round drawer pull (from Menards for $1.04) in the center of the top. I loved how they turned out, so festive.🤗 Thank you for the directions.

    • Jennifer

      Hi Karen,
      I’d love to see how yours turned out.

    • Debby

      Hi Karen. I’ve read how you did the lanterns, it sounds so adorable might you be able to post a pic? My daughter is getting married in October and these would line the walk way perfectly. Thank you

  13. Heather Y Monroe

    How do you keep the glass in the frame? Mine falls out

  14. Carol Russell

    Use a strip of E6000 and along side of it add hot glue. That way the hot glue will hold it while the E6000 cures.

  15. Rhonda

    I got dollar store gold frames. I tried using a glue gun and also gorilla glue. I can’t get them to glue together. Any suggestions?

  16. Amanda

    Anyone try this with a smaller frame? 5×7?

  17. Julie

    Does anyone know how I can replace the broken door hinges on my lantern?

  18. Angela Powell

    The glass in the 8×10 frames is so thin, be super careful with it. I used glue to hold the glass in the frame and even then had an issue with it cracking. This is not safety glass and is sharp.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh bummer! Sorry to hear that, Angela. Thanks so much for the warning. ❤️

  19. Suzy Webster

    I am wanting to do the 4*6 frames to make the lantern’s so what do you recommend on the size to make the top of the lantern

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi Suzy! You might try to see if you can find a 4×4 square type of frame, as the 8×8 was for an 8×10 in this project. Hoping this size works for you! 🤞💞

  20. Cheri Mello

    This Looks GREAT ❗️ thank You FOR SHARING👍🏼♥️ I THINK Bc it’s Not Metal Though, IM Leery ABOUT using CANDLES If The Plastic At the Top CAN melt? WHAT About LED Flicker CANDLES? I Haves Some that Have the flames 🔥 b that Ficker 😊They LOOK Pretty Real❗️G-d♥️Bless

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re welcome, Cheri! 🥰 So glad you enjoyed this DIY! Using the LED flicker candles would be a great option for these lanterns! Happy crafting! ❤️

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