DIY Tin Can Lanterns

Are you looking for an easy and eco-friendly way to decorate your home? Discover how easy it is to create your own beautiful, one-of-a-kind luminaries from recycled tin cans. With just a few simple steps and materials you can create beautiful, glowing works of art that will add a special touch of decor to your outdoors!

Over the weekend one of my best friends threw a glow party for her daughter’s birthday so I decided to make some DIY tin can lanterns to create pretty light patterns for the backyard.

A few years back I had purchased some at Target but knew they could easily be replicated for free so I gave it a shot. After making spaghetti sauce I always have a ton of tin cans left over so I simply rinsed them out and took the labels off.  I drew my pattern on the cans using a Sharpie.

I grabbed the drill and found a bit with the sharpest edge, I carefully drilled over each dot, creating a hole.  Make sure you wear your safety goggles.

You can leave the can as is or paint them.  I gave each a coat of paint using a foam brush.

Drop in a votive candle or LED and enjoy the flickering patterns.  If you are using real candles make sure they are on a fire-safe surface and away from kids!

How to Make a lantern with a recycled tin can

I would say the kids had a blast!

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  1. How fun these are! They look so pretty at night. Very clever project and a great way to use those cans instead of tossing directly into recycle. It would be fun to line our pathway for Halloween!

  2. ALTERNATIVE METHOD, fill cleaned can with water and freeze solid, draw design, use different sized nails and tap through tin, ice will prevent tin from crushing, safer than using a drill with small children, too! I have made these using the method I have described.

  3. Fill the cans with water and freeze them before punching the holes – makes it easier to punch the holes without bending the can.

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