How To: Make Can Light Luminaries

How To: Make Can Light Luminaries

Laurie McGinley
Feb 28, 2012

I recently inherited a laundry basket full of old blue prints and have been in search of a good way to use them. Over the weekend my friend Gregory and I found a way to dress up a dozen canister lights with inverted luminaries made from old blue prints.

A STRONG NOTE OF CAUTION:: Do not attempt to hang paper luminaries inside canister lights if your fixtures have incandescent bulbs. This may be a fire hazard due to the amount of heat incandescent bulbs generate. Gregory and I only undertook this project after we tested a few designs that allowed air flow and heat escape between the compact fluorescent bulbs in the canister lights and tested one of them for an extended period of time.

What You Need

  • Canister lights with compact flourescent or LED bulbs
  • Paper that is at least 18" x 12"
  • Double stick tape
  • Cutting knife, straight edge and cutting mat (or scissors)
  • Cardboard tube, 6" in diameter
  • Saw (we used a table saw, a hand saw would work too)
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire


  1. Cut the 6" cardboard tube into 1" rings.
  2. Cut your paper of choice into pieces that will wrap all the way around the cardboard tube plus ½" to spare. If you use a 6" tube, that measurement should be 17". The length of the inverted luminary can vary but should probably be at least 10" long.
  3. Cut 1" off the end of this piece of paper. Don't cut off the 17" dimension, cut off the other length.
  4. Apply double stick tape to the outside of one cardboard ring and both sides of another cardboard ring.
  5. Roll the paper onto the rings.
  6. Use another piece of double stick tape to connect the lose end of the paper.
  7. Remove the double stick tape from the inside of the ring that has tape on both sides and apply the 1" strip of paper to cover up the cardboard tube.
  8. Cut wire into even lengths and bend each end into a hook.
  9. Slip the hooks under the cardboard tube that does not have paper on the inside.
  10. Hang the inverted luminary inside the canister light.

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(Images: Laurie McGinley and Gregory Euclide)

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