Recycled Tin Can Lanterns

Recycled Tin Can Lanterns

Recycled Tin Can Lanterns: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Beautiful DIY Lighting

Are you looking for a creative and eco-friendly way to add some charm to your outdoor space? Look no further than recycled tin can lanterns! These unique and customizable lanterns are not only a great way to repurpose materials, but they also create a warm and inviting atmosphere when lit up at night. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of creating your own recycled tin can lanterns, from gathering the materials to adding the finishing touches. Let’s get started!

Materials You Will Need

  • Empty tin cans (various sizes)
  • Hammer and nail
  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Tea light candles or LED candles
  • Paint (optional)
  • Paintbrushes (optional)
  • Decorative materials (e.g., beads, ribbons, twine)

Step 1: Prepare the Tin Cans

The first step in creating your recycled tin can lanterns is to prepare the tin cans. Start by removing any labels or stickers from the cans. If there is any residue left behind, you can use a bit of rubbing alcohol to remove it. Once the cans are clean, fill them with water and place them in the freezer overnight. Freezing the cans will make it easier to punch holes in the next step.

Step 2: Create the Lantern Design

Now it’s time to get creative with your lantern design! Using a hammer and nail, carefully punch holes into the tin cans. You can create any pattern you like, whether it’s a simple geometric design or a more intricate pattern. Just make sure to leave enough space between the holes for the light to shine through. If you’re not confident in your freehand skills, you can draw your design on the can with a marker before punching the holes.

Step 3: Add a Handle

To make your tin can lanterns easier to hang, you can add a handle using wire. Cut a piece of wire to your desired length, making sure it’s long enough to create a loop for hanging. Bend the wire into a U-shape, leaving a small tail at each end. Insert the tails through two small holes near the top of the can and twist them together to secure the handle in place.

Step 4: Optional: Paint the Tin Cans

If you want to add some color to your tin can lanterns, now is the time to paint them. Choose a paint color that complements your outdoor space and apply a thin, even coat of paint to the cans. You can use a paintbrush or even spray paint for this step. Let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Decorate Your Lanterns

Now comes the fun part – decorating your tin can lanterns! Get creative with beads, ribbons, twine, or any other decorative materials you have on hand. You can wrap twine around the top of the can for a rustic look, or glue beads onto the surface for a more whimsical touch. The possibilities are endless, so let your imagination run wild!

Step 6: Insert the Candles

Once your tin can lanterns are fully decorated, it’s time to add the candles. You can use either tea light candles or LED candles, depending on your preference. Place the candles inside the cans, making sure they are secure and won’t tip over. If you’re using tea light candles, you can also add a small amount of sand or pebbles to the bottom of the can for added stability.

Step 7: Light Up Your Outdoor Space

Now that your recycled tin can lanterns are complete, it’s time to light up your outdoor space! Find the perfect spot to hang or place your lanterns, whether it’s on a tree branch, a fence, or a patio table. When the sun goes down, the soft glow of the candles will create a magical ambiance that will surely impress your friends and family.


Creating your own recycled tin can lanterns is not only a fun and rewarding DIY project, but it also allows you to repurpose materials and reduce waste. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can easily transform empty tin cans into beautiful and unique lanterns that will add a touch of charm to your outdoor space. So gather your materials, unleash your creativity, and get ready to enjoy the warm and inviting glow of your homemade tin can lanterns!

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