How To Make An Easy Tin Can Lantern To Light Up Your Home These Holidays

Recycle an old tin can to make these whimsical holiday lights.

November 13, 2017
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We love a little firelight on our dinner table during the holiday season, or outside to decorate the porch or garden come summertime. (Here are the 13 best natural candles you can buy.) We're also suckers for an easy DIY project that looks much harder than it actually is. This one is one of the easiest and cheapest we've come across.

Related: How To Make A Hanging Basket For Plants From An Old Colander

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We hope you enjoy the products we're recommending as much as we do! Just so you know, Organic Life may get a share of sales from the links on this page.

These upcycled tin can luminaries can be customized easily with any motif, and are made with old food cans—acquiring your supplies for this project pretty much consists of rinsing and saving empty cans of beans, soup, or tomato sauce, and removing the wrapper. From there, it's a snap to personalize the cans with any design you desire. How about a snowflake pattern for Christmas?

To learn how to create this easy and beautiful DIY project, watch the video above and read the instructions below. 

(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

tin can luminaries
Photograph courtesy of Amy Bell

How To Make a DIY Tin Can Lantern

Empty food cans
A large nail
A hammer
Small tea light candles
A dry-erase marker (optional)

1. Fill a can with water and place it in the freezer overnight.

2. When the water is frozen solid, use a nail and hammer to punch a decorative design into the can, leaving 1⁄4 inch or so between holes. You can create simple stripes, a star or diamond shape, or something more elaborate depending on the look you want and how ambitious you're feeling. 

 

3. For detailed patterns, draw the design with a dry-erase marker before punching the holes and wipe away the marks with a dry cloth when the luminary is complete.

4. Allow the water to thaw, empty and dry the can, and place a tea light inside to illuminate the punched design (be careful while placing your tea light, as the punched-in edges of the can can be sharp.) Decorate your porch or table with several tin can luminaries, and enjoy!