DIY Power Outage Lantern from a Broken Clock Cabinet

DIY Power Outage Lantern from a Broken Clock Cabinet

A funny thing happened to me on a thrifting adventure…I came across this…thing…and I just wasn’t sure what it was! But, I’m a repurposing blogger, so I bought it in case I had an idea. THEN, I found a second one that was more complete! Now I knew what it was…and I had two of them. But a project formed in my head- so I repurposed one and set the other aside to be given away!

But before we get to the giveaway, let me show you what I made because I JUST LOVE IT SO!

This is the “thing” that I first found- and when I saw its unbroken cousin at a different thrift store, I realized it was missing its clock. But what would you call it? I went with ‘clock cabinet’… because it opened up and had a little storage space inside.

Broken clock cabinet at the thrift store to be repurposed and upcycled by Sadie Seasongoods /

Definitely has potential!

Broken clock cabinet at the thrift store to be repurposed and upcycled by Sadie Seasongoods /

…with some storage space inside!

For whatever reason, I couldn’t stop seeing it as an old-fashioned, vintage-y lantern- like an old railroad lantern that a conductor would hold in an old movie. All I needed to do was give it a quick paint job and add a light. And as a bonus? I could store some black-out necessities (batteries, matches, etc.) in the cabinet- and create a power outage kit! This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

The easiest way to illuminate my lantern was with a plain ole’ push light!

Repurposing a broken thrift store clock cabinet into an upcycled lantern by Sadie Seasongoods /

Let’s see if I can make this happen…

But, I needed a way to attach it while still being able to access the battery panel. I had two options: (1) cut a larger hole on the front of the cabinet, or (2) use strips of Velcro on the light and the cabinet.

Because we have the tools, I traced the battery panel on the cabinet and Jon cut it out with our jigsaw.

Adding a push light to a broken clock cabinet to repurpose and upcycle into a power outage lantern by Sadie Seasongoods /

Better battery access, here we come…

Adding a push light to a broken clock cabinet to repurpose and upcycle into a power outage lantern by Sadie Seasongoods /

There! That’ll work just fine.

But I know not everyone has a garage full of tools! If you don’t, you could skip that step and simply use sticky Velcro strips after you’ve painted!

Once the hole was larger for battery access, I gave my clock cabinet AND part of my push light a makeover. For the cabinet, I went with a semi-gloss black paint to replicate an old lantern. For the push light, I carefully covered the center light with foil and spray-painted the rim a dark pewter color to set against the black.

Getting my spray paint station set up…

Once the paint was dry, I simply super-glued the painted push light to the clock cabinet door, lining up our hole with the battery panel!

Creating a vintage style lantern with a repurposed broken clock cabinet from the thrift store by Sadie Seasongoods /

Ohhhh, I think I will REALLY like this project when it’s done!

There! My broken clock kit is now a vintage-style lantern- isn’t that awesome?

Repurposed broken clock cabinet into DIY vintage style lantern and power outage emergency kit by Sadie Seasongoods /

Oh em gee, it looks so cool!

And inside the cabinet, I added a few things for my power outage kit, such as a solar-powered hand crank radio, my favorite LED tea lights, and glow sticks.

Repurposed broken clock cabinet into DIY vintage style lantern and power outage emergency kit by Sadie Seasongoods /

Everything you need when the power goes out!

And y’all, I totally turned off all the lights in our house one night and carried my power outage kit around with the “lantern” on. It was awesome! You could totally use this as part of a Halloween costume- hahaha!

It actually looks cute enough to leave out all the time- I could style it with my vintage cameras for a fun vignette! I swear, a power outage prep kit never looked so good…

How to create a power outage emergency kit by repurposing and upcycling a clock cabinet into a vintage style lantern filled with black out supplies by Sadie Seasongoods /


All from a repurposed broken clock cabinet…

How to create a power outage emergency kit by repurposing and upcycling a clock cabinet into a vintage style lantern filled with black out supplies by Sadie Seasongoods /

When the light pushes away the dark…

Craft on!


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  1. Julia - Vintage with Laces says

    Your power outage lantern turned out great, Sarah! It’s beautiful and practical. That’s a cute picture of yourself in the side bar! 🙂

  2. I love this idea! I would never have thought of doing this with an old clock cabinet. The other clock is really pretty too.

  3. Barbara Booth says

    Wow that is so awesome. I never would have thought of something like that. Now all I have to do is hit the “Thrift Stores” and find one of those clocks. ( maybe 2) I absolutely love it. We have a shed out back, (we’re converting it to a small get away) with no electric running to it and this would be Great !!!!! to use there as well as in the house for a power out. Thanks so much 🙂 I’m so glad I subscribe to your posts, You have some great ideas.

  4. Peggy Johnson says

    Love the recycle of the clock! Would love to win the prize and make my own!! Thanks for sharing

  5. Lourdes Lore says

    That is so, so darn clever, Sadie ! Love, love, love your projects. Always enjoy seeing what you’ve made lately. Somehow you make something from the dump look like a high-end, utilitarian gem. Thanks for sharing an extra “kit.” So generous of you ! Would love to have one, too. We’re moving into the country and apparently they’ve had power outages last year so this will come in as a handy kit. Love what you included inside it – will be doing that as well. What a great project !

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you very much, Lourdes- and good luck!!! I’m so happy that I found two clocks so that I could host a giveaway!

  6. So clever!

  7. I am so in love with this power outage lantern! The power goes out all the time where we live in Utah, and it would be so nice to have everything to light our way in one neat (and cute) box! Thanks so much for sharing! Annette from Spanish Fork, UT

  8. super cute!!

  9. Mother Deer says

    You are so clever! I think that I would copy your idea, but perhaps in a different color or style of paint. Thank you for this opportunity to win 🙂

  10. What a clever idea, Sarah and so stink’n cute! pinned

  11. Fonda Rush says

    I would love to replicate what you have done! We don’t loose power often, but when we do, we would need something like this to navigate the house without stepping on stuff, including all of our kitties! Thank you for the opportunity to win!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      It’s amazing how well these inexpensive little push lights can illuminate- and it will definitely come in handy to avoid stepping on kitties! (We have the same problem/concern)

      • Fonda Rush says

        I remember way back when, these lights were very dim. Now, with the LED lights, they are probably much brighter. I hope I am the winner. I am very lucky and win things frequently. Just today, I won a $100 gift card to our local Food Lion where we shop for groceries. So, I’m feeling lucky!

  12. Awesome!

  13. Victoria Mayberry says

    I never would have thought of this one, what a fantastic idea!

  14. What a cool idea and handy and stylish too! You not what my kids find the hardest when the power goes out, not the lack of lights, or TV etc but the fact that the wifi is down.

  15. Linda Pearl says

    It’s a pleasure to see your ideas go from zero to 100.

  16. girlfromwva says

    I would either make a version similar to yours and use it with a fall display.

  17. Vickie Williams says

    I am always amazed at how your mind does this !!

  18. Susan Wallentine says

    I just recently donated this exact clock to a thrift store because I was not as inventive as you. Darn it! This would have been a fun project.

  19. Debra A Wise says

    Brilliant idea! You are so clever. I would love to win and have one for myself.

  20. This is an awesome idea. It turned out beautifully. Did you velcro the items inside to keep them in place?

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Terri! I did not (the lantern is laying on its back in that photo), but that’s a great idea!

  21. I live in Florida and we are always having storms. This would look beautiful on my sideboard where it would always be accessible.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I lived in the West Palm Beach area and Fort Myers for nearly 15 years, so I remember Florida storms all too well!!

  22. Shay Moore says

    This is the most clever recycle ever!! I would love to try one! Great job!!!

  23. LOVE this idea! How fun!
    I’d love to come over and play a game of Scrabble with you (I love board games)!
    Great Job! I pinned this too so WHEN (not if!) I find one of these, I can make one too!
    Thanks for the post!

  24. acraftymix says

    You always come up with the best ideas Sarah. I’d also be walking around the house swinging my lantern, but I’d be trying to guide those poor souls who’ve been shipwrecked back to the shores 😉

  25. Nancy Walden says

    Very clever! I have a mantle clock that is broken but it’s not a candidate for a lantern makeover since the entire front is glass with a very elaborate clock behind it. Now that I’ve pulled it out to take a look I think my broken clock will go on display again!

  26. Great idea!!! You are so clever.

  27. Missouri has plenty of power outages! Great idea for being able to keep something close and at the ready.

  28. That is adorable! I love that idea….fun fun! Very creative:) Glad I found your post through the vintage charm party!

  29. OMGoodness!! I’m beyond charmed by your upcycle. One of your best yet !!

  30. Karen Leigh says

    It’s GREAT Sayruhhhhhh!!!

  31. As usual, I love your project. Both of my kids are in the process of buying houses; it would be a great gift for each of them. Plus a grandchild that is still fearful of the dark! Our power doesn’t go out for long periods as much as it used to; the ice storm of ’98 taught the power company to cut back the branches near their power lines. Whoever thinks candlelight and lamplight is romantic should live in a house with 5 kids (2 bedwetters), 2 dogs, 2 cats no electricity, no running water and the gas stove to cook on and a woodstove for spotty heat in Maine (Boyfriend at the time had 3 kids, dog and cat on top of mine) for 11 days. Going to Wal-Mart to get warm is NOT my idea of a good time! My kerosene hurricane lamps are NOT just for decor and I run the shades through the dishwasher now and again to be ready for an outage!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      It really would be a fun housewarming gift- I didn’t think of that! And you could fill with supplies, too. Great idea!

  32. That is an inspired idea! I am already thinking of things I could do with the second one!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Naomi!! Good luck in the giveaway!

    • Today I think I might make a little wall cabinet out of it . I would take out the clock part and replace it with a piece of art or a photo or something pretty. Maybe I would distress the cabinet, making it look kind of like it came out of a barn and put a picture of a cow in it! What d’ya think?

      • Sadie Seasongoods says

        Oh my gosh, that would be ADORABLE!!! I can totally see it. Or even paint it dark red like it was a barn with a photo of a cow like he/she was peering out from the barn! So many possibilities…

  33. angela bradley says

    i was thinking lay it on its back and turn it into a jewelry or trinket box. and mount a picture of my favorite daughter(just kidding i only have the one) over the hole. but your idea was very cool. i love how imaginative you are.

  34. Awesome idea, Sarah! Seriously, when can I get a piece of that creative mojo 😉 Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday! Pinned

  35. Brilliant, lol, every pun intended with that one. Grins, Sandi

  36. This is amazing, you continually blow me away with your ability to “see” new life with these thrift store finds!!! Super cute and so functional!

  37. chris tucker says

    as usual your interesting mind comes up with an unique idea and gets me thinking, if painted red would remind me of old railroad lights xx

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Totally! I had mentioned to someone else that painting it dark red like a barn would be a good idea…then a picture of a cow in the opening like he was peering out from his barn! 😉

  38. Kathy Wynne says

    I was shocked when I saw the finished project! Genius. Thank you for sharing!

  39. Lisa Dickens says

    So creative as usual – love it! Thanks!

  40. I love creative people! I would never in a million years come up with this idea. It’s just candles and lanterns around here. Thanks for the inspiration.

  41. Oh my gosh, this is so smart, and so cute looking. I love that you can store a bunch of other things you’d need inside it so they’re all in one spot. And, it’s cute enough to be on display all the time, ready when you need it.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      That’s probably the best part- how often is an emergency kit (of any kind) cute enough to be decor, too? Thank you, Toni!

  42. As always, I am left speechless by your creativity and your ideas. Like Kaycee said above, I am blown away by your vision. Happy weekend!

  43. So clever, Sarah! Thank you for sharing @ Vintage Charm!

  44. I am sp excited to see this tutorial!! I actually have three of these in a bix headed to my local goodwill. I had family that lost power during the recent hurricane and per their messages they could have used this!! Thanks for a great idea!!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      LOVE!!!! That is so awesome- since you have three of them, is “clock cabinet” the right term? LOL- I wasn’t sure!!

  45. This is beyond creative!! I LOVE this upcycle! It is so practical and would be beautiful to display. I would gift it to my husband who likes to sit on our back porch at night with our dogs. He listens to the trains behind our house at night. We don’t have a light on our porch, and being railroad inspired this would be perfect!!

  46. How about painting the rim of the light dome gold, more like a clock face?

  47. How useful AND great looking. Well done, Sarah!

  48. Ha, ha! I love your idea about painting the clock case red and having a cow looking out of the opening of “the barn”!!

  49. Peggie Russo-Millard says

    What a great idea!

  50. This is o cool. I will definitely be on the look out for a clock now.

  51. Judy Galbraith says

    You are unbelievably creative! Thanks for sharing. . You turned it into a stunning piece and should leave it out all the time. Who wants to look for a lantern when your home goes dark?

  52. This is such a clever idea, Sadie, I think I could use one of these at the campground!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      That’s a great idea, Erin- I hadn’t thought of it, but you are totally right. This would be perfect for camping!!

  53. Cathy Wilhite says

    This is brilliant! I am always so impressed with your creativity and eye for the unexpected! And so darn cute too!

  54. I would make this and leave in our hall; accessible from many points for emergencies. I love the idea of stocking emergency supplies inside!

  55. I would keep it in our main bathroom. It fits the decor… and that windowless room NEEDS something for when the power goes out!!

  56. Rebecca Fancher says

    What a great idea! My search for a clock cabinet is on!

  57. Carol Mayne says

    Oh my gosh! What an incredibly creative idea! Thank you for sharing.

  58. OMG! You are so creative! What a clever idea!!!! Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration Link Party 🙂

  59. gosh darn it, girl, do you have TWO brains in that amazing head? You are clever, but placing all the other items inside just nailed this as one of your best recycling ideas yet. I nominate you for the Noble Prize for recycling! Excellent thinkin, Lincoln.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you SO much for the sweetest, most wonderful compliment, Susan! I’m just so glad that my ideas resonate…here’s hoping the well never runs dry! 😉

  60. Another wonderful repurposed project. Thanks for sharing this with us at the Waste Not Wednesday link Party. Looking forward to seeing you back this week.

  61. Every time a walk around Goodwill I think, “l wish Sadie were here.”


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