Organize & Clean

Tin Can Luminaries

updated Jul 15, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Cook-outs on warm summer evenings need to be lit by something so you’re not left sitting in the dark. How about making some very inexpensive metal lanterns out of recycled tin cans? They’re easy to make and require minimal materials (unless you want to get extra fancy).

If you’ve ever used a pumpkin carving kit for Halloween, you already have the skills to create a tin can luminary.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

• Empty vegetable pet food or soup cans, cleaned out and labels removed
• Water
• Nail
• Hammer
• Scrap paper
• Ruler
• Tape
• Spray paint (optional)


1. Pour water into the empty cans and place them in the freezer.

2. While the water is freezing, draw the design you want on the scrap paper. You can also use simple clip art.

3. Once the water in the cans is fully frozen, you can tape your designs to the can.

4. Use the hammer and nail to punch holes along the lines of your pattern.

5. Once finished with your pattern, you can spray paint the cans or leave them unpainted. The last step is to place a candle inside and, voila! you have your first luminary.

For step-by-step photos, check out this other great tutorial from JollyMom.

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