Impala lantern

3 Jul

A favorite professor of mine back in college loved Impalas. (She was a professor of African History, and spent 12 years in South Africa)

I was graduating and wanted to make her something. (She was also a painter and does lovely oil on canvas paintings, so I wanted to do something artsy for her)

I love making lanterns and so I thought why not make her an impala lantern? My first idea was to make a metal casing, something with an impala head on it. As with a lot of my ideas, they start out big, then I realize my skill level and have to adjust. I couldn’t very well carve 4 impala heads out of wood, nor hammer them out of metal to make up the four sides of the lantern housing. What I did how to do was printing and silhouettes. I had first tried this technique on my Tudor lantern. So, after scouting around a few craft stores, I finally found the translucent paper I needed. (At first I tried gift paper, or tissue paper, but this kept ripping whenever I ran it through my inkjet printer. I found a few African silhouettes, some impalas, Zulus, trees, etc, and made some very basic scenes in MS paint. I then printed them out and glued the paper to some sticks I had picked up out behind the apartments and shaved the bark off of.

After I had all 4 panels tapped together, I linked them around and completed the box. I then added support beams and adjusted as necessary. Here’s what the finished lantern looks like:

As you can see, when the candle is lit, the light will glow through and illuminate the silhouettes. But wait, where is that light going to sit? Well, the week before making this my housemates cooked ribs for dinner. I saved some of them, cleaned off the left over meat, soaked them in bleach to kill any bacteria, and cleaned them off. I decided to add some bone to this lantern to hold together the candle.

And there you have it, an African themed Impala lantern. 🙂


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