If you’re a lantern collector or just a lover or vintage pieces and want to restore an antique lantern, you’ve come to the right place. If you appreciate a good vintage collective, you understand how fragile these lanterns can be. The utmost care needs to be taken when dealing with antiques. Restoring an old lantern is something that can be taken on as a project, it can become an ongoing hobby, or just something to do to get a sense of fulfillment. Whatever your reason for doing so, there are certain things you must do to get the best results out of your restoration process. You’ll first gather all the necessary materials, disassemble the lantern, clean and polish. Keep reading to find out exactly what to do to restore your lantern.

Gather Materials

The first thing you need to do is gather all of the necessary tools and materials needed to restore your lantern. You’ll need gloves to protect your hands, a cloth, sandpaper, some type of rust remover, paint and a paintbrush. Of course, your lantern doesn’t work and needs electricity for light, so the materials needed for that are a bulb socket, light bulb, and wire with some type of switch.


First, you’re going to take the existing lantern completely apart. It may feel a little intimidating to begin with, but you can do it. The most important thing to remember is to be very careful not to break the glass. Once you’ve gotten the lantern apart, take a wet cloth and wipe it down to get it clean. When you wipe it down, you may notice several scratches and imperfections, but you’ll take care of that later.

Rusty, old lantern
Rusty, old lantern

Rust Removal

Now that you’ve got the lamp clean, you want to remove all of the rust from it as best you can. Instead of heavy grinding, use liquid rust remover. You can find rust remover in most grocery stores. Coat the lamp with the liquid, let it soak for a little while, and then take your sandpaper and sand like crazy. Not only will this remove all of the rust, but it’s also going to take care of any scratches and imperfections that you may have come across.


This is the fun part! Once you figure out what color you want your lantern to be, you can paint it. Painting your lantern is going to bring life back into it and give it a fresh new look. It’s best to paint your lantern outdoors, so spread out some newspaper, an old towel, or some cardboard on the ground and start painting. Be sure to get all of the cracks and crevices and try to be as neat as possible. Once finished, let it dry for a day or two.

Add Electricity

If your lamp isn’t in working condition, you’re going to have to add electricity to it yourself. Go ahead and reassemble the lamp, then put your wire through the top of your lamp and connect the wire with the bulb socket. Place your light bulb in there and you should have light! If not, you may want to have a handyman or electrician help you with this part, as it can be challenging and very dangerous.

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