Lanterns are glamourous little design chameleons as they can easily shapeshift into different looks to suit every season and style. The aesthetic of a lantern depends on the type of filler in it, which is chosen with the consideration of whether or not the lantern is enclosed with glass.
One of the recurring themes of second-hand lanterns is breakage. People must really love them and hang on to them otherwise, because it's pretty unusual to see one that's been passed along in great condition. The assumption seems to be that once it's no longer in original form, it must be deficient-- and a very common "deficiency" is a broken or missing glass panel.
Let's remember though, lanterns can be beautiful both with and without panels. Open air lanterns offer tons of decorating options since they allow for cascading and protruding fillers. Here I'll show you how easy it is to make an open lantern from one that has a missing or cracked glass panel. It's a simple upcycle that offers tons of creative finishing options.
First things first, if you think things might get crazy go ahead and put on some gloves and safety glasses. Any time you're working with normal glass that hasn't been toughened by tempering, you run the risk of glass pieces attacking you if a panel breaks while it's being removed.
Once you're geared up, grab a flat head screwdriver and you're good to go!
Loosen the flexible brackets on the side perimeter of a panel. You don't have to pull it all the way open, just slide it out away from the glass pane far enough that the glass loosens.
Raise that panel out and go on to the next, repeating until all the panels are removed. Ta-da! So easy!
Now it's time for the real fun-- making it yours. Some lanterns have pre-lit candles already built in, so if yours does, make sure you know the level of heat the bulb gives off before adding anything. Otherwise, the world is your oyster!