With my recent move, I found myself in organization and cleanup mode. One of the things I was trying to pay special attention to was what I could possibly do with the items I would normally throw out or recycle. When I came across my nearly empty coffee can collection cluttering up my pantry, I thought to myself, “What else could I possibly do with these things?” Over the years, I’ve used them for planters, canisters, craft storage, mobiles, wind chimes and even sculptures. Then a moment of illumination hit me. Lanterns!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tin cans (varying sizes)
- Drill and bits (meant for stainless or heavy steel) OR Hammer and a nail
- Glossy spray paint
Step One: Create Your Design
One of the great things about this project is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s all about casting interesting light and shadows when everything is finished. Pull from constellations, abstract shapes, swirls, or even other lanterns for your inspiration. I chose to hit the Internet for some ideas on basic shapes and motifs.
Step Two: Transfer the Design
Once you have picked out your design, it’s time to transfer the pattern to your can. Using your marker, mark out your configuration for easy drilling later. If you’re concerned about being a little more precise, transfer the pattern to masking tape. I personally like to use tape because it allows me to see the pattern a little better.
Step Three: Drill it Out
The pattern has been decided and is now in place. It’s time to start drilling. Using a drill bit that’s specifically for drilling into metal, puncture your can where you’ve marked out your holes. Repeat this process until your entire pattern is drilled out. If you’re uncomfortable using a drill for this part, feel free to use a hammer and nail instead. Quick Tip: If you’re using tape to show your pattern, just move it around your can to keep the consistency.
Step Four: Attach the Handle
At the top of your can, add two more puncture holes across from each other for your handle. Make sure to make the holes large enough to fit the wire through. Once the holes are in place, thread the wire through on one side and twist off. Stretch the wire across to the other side (leaving enough to form a handle) and tie off.
Step Five: Time to Decorate
You can absolutely leave your can as is, but why not take it to that next step and add a bit of color for a more custom look? Coordinate your cans with the rest of your accessories or use a bold color to make a bigger statement.
Spray your cans using slow and even passes with your spray can. When you’ve finished adding your color, move your cans to the side to dry. DON’T try and illuminate your lanterns without letting them properly dry first. We’re making lanterns, not Roman Candles!
Once your cans are dry, all that’s left to do is insert your candles and watch them glow!