This post is one of my favorite projects that’s perfect for this time of year. A few years ago I made outdoor lanterns out of recycled tin cans. I just love how easy they were to make and how fun they look when the candles are burning on a nice summer night.
And the bonus is that these cost close to nothing to make. You can even use citronella candles and these double as bug repellents. These lanterns look great in bunches too.
Here are the instructions on how to make these simple and fun tin can lanterns:
- recycled tin cans (pasta sauce, canned vegetables, etc.)
- spray paint, I suggest the Rustoleum product line
- candles (regular or citronella)
- wire if you want to hang them
1. Remove the labels from your tin cans and clean throughly. You can use goo-gone to remove any left-over glue. Or once the can is frozen (see step 2), I just chipped away at any frozen glue and it came off fine. Fill cans with water and freeze. This will help your can to keep it’s shape.
2. Once the water is frozen, take the can out of the freezer and place it on a solid surface. To help prevent it from rolling around, I took a dish towel and shaped it in a circle and placed the can in the middle of the towel. Not fool-proof, but it helps.
3. Use your hammer and tap a nail into the can to create your design (FYI – it’s pretty easy to hammer through the tin). Your design can be random holes or you can create an image with the holes. To create an actual image, I suggest using a sharpie and draw dots on the can in the shape of your design (such as a flower, hear or leaf). Or you could print out a picture and tape it onto the can and hammer in nails in the shape of that image.
Or you can just wing it – which is what I did. I decided to do some with a leaf pattern but I also did a few with just a random pattern of dots. You can even use different size nails to create some variation in your designs too.
4. Once your design is done, spray paint the can your desired color. I love the natural tin finish but it will rust. So I did a few in color and then used silver spray paint to preserve the tin look. I also painted a few with metallic gold because, well, it’s gold! I would recommend turning the cans upside down to spray them to prevent spraying the insides. duh.
5. Apply a few coats of paint if needed. Once dry, add sand and a candle. You can also add 2 more nail holes along the top of the can, on opposite sides, string a wire through them and hang them on a tree branch or from an umbrella.
6. Light your candles and enjoy!
I love budget friendly projects and recycling is always a good idea too. Have a wonderful weekend!