wikiHow to Make Garden Lanterns from Old Tin Cans

Five Parts:Cleaning the Tin CanPrepare Tin Can For PunchingAdding the Leaf DesignSpray Painting the Tin CanAssembling the Lantern

Light up the night repurposing old tin cans. That summertime, rustic appeal will add warmth and a glow to any balmy summer evening. All you will need are tin cans (of any size), leaves to use as a pattern and a hammer and nails.

Part 1
Cleaning the Tin Can

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    Clean up the tin can. Open each tin can and remove the top (along with any contents). Remove labels and wash with warm soapy water. Dry completely.
    • Discard any cans that are damaged or rusted.

Part 2
Prepare Tin Can For Punching

Freezing the tin can first will prevent your tin from being deformed once you start hammering it.

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    Fill the tin can up to 3/4 of its length with sand. This will prevent bulging of the tin can when frozen. (Water expands when it freezes.)
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    Add water.
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    Place the tin can inside the freezer.
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    Wait until the water freezes. Then remove the tin from the freezer.

Part 3
Adding the Leaf Design

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    Choose a suitable leaf to place on tin can. Tape the leaf in place on the can. Check that you like the placement and size before you begin to hammer.
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    Tap the first nail into the leaf, being careful not to rip or break the leaf. Consider hammering the first nail toward the top of the leaf to stabilize your design.
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    Hammer the remaining nails around the perimeter of the leaf in order to create a pattern. Space the nail holes evenly so your design appears symmetrical.
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    Remove the nails and pull or tear off the leaf to expose the design. You should be able to see the same leaf pattern now outlined in nail holes on the tin can.

Part 4
Spray Painting the Tin Can

Spray paint the can after you’ve created the design, so that you don’t disturb the paint (painting beforehand may create a more rough exterior).

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    Place the tin can in an open, covered area. Spray paint it the desired color.
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    Allow the tin can to dry for up to 24 hours. However, most spray paints will dry within 3 hours if left in a cool, dry area.

Part 5
Assembling the Lantern

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    Fill the bottom of the can with sand. Fill it with about a ½ cup of sand, depending upon the can size.
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    Place the votive in the middle of the can, resting on the sand.
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    Light the votive. (Or, turn on battery operated votive.) This will light up the night.
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    Finished.

Tips

  • Use differently sized cans to add interest and to enhance a variety of areas in your yard.
  • Hang a series of such lanterns by hammering holes on two sides of the top of each lantern can. Thread a wire through each end and loop and secure ends to the can. Hang on trees or posts around the yard, being careful to keep them away from anything flammable.

Things You'll Need

  • Tin cans
  • Large leaves for your pattern (green leaves are stronger, you'll need leaves that can handle hammering)

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  • A bucket of sand to hold the candles in place
  • As many nails as possible and your hammer to create the pattern

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  • Masking tape
  • Spray paint
  • Votive candles; consider using battery operated votive candles to reduce the risk of fire

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