Summer is underway and it's high time for picnics, grilling, and backyard parties! After sweltering in the sun all day, why not invite some friends over to share food and drinks while enjoying the cooler evening temperatures? If you are entertaining this summer, you can welcome your guests with homemade punched-tin patio lanterns created from recycled cans. The materials are practically free, and the tiny holes create gorgeous scattered light patterns on your table when you drop a votive candle inside. Make your own lanterns by following our 7 simple steps ahead!
STEP 1: GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
All you need to do to get started on this eco-friendly summer craft project is gather the following materials:
- 2-4 cleaned, empty tin cans (you can use any size)
- a hammer
- an assortment of nails (for larger or smaller holes)
- colorful permanent markers
- paper, pencil, masking tape, scissors (if you plan to use a pattern)
- votive candles
- a towel
STEP 2: CLEAN AND FREEZE
With your newly gathered used tin cans, remove labels, and clean thoroughly. Fill each can with water and freeze overnight until solid. The ice stabilizes the can and prevents it from bending when you punch holes in them later.
STEP 3: DESIGN YOUR PUNCH GRAPHIC
Decide on a design for your punched-tin decorations. You can draw the pattern out ahead of time on a piece of graph paper and tape it to the can as a guide. Alternatively, you can freehand a design without marking it ahead of time. Knitting patterns, wallpaper, textiles, and folk art are all great inspiration sources for patterns!
STEP 4: PUNCH OUT YOUR PATTERN
Cradle the frozen tin can in a folded towel (to prevent the can from moving and to catch ice chips). Position a sharp, narrow nail above each mark on your pattern and gently tap it 3-4 times with the hammer until just the point has punched the tin can. Repeat for each mark until you have completed your pattern.
STEP 5: REMOVE THE ICE BLOCK
Rinse the can under a hot tap until the ice block pops out and allow the can to dry.
STEP 6: ADD SOME COLOR
If you want to add color to your new punched-tin lantern, you can create a variety of fun, shiny designs by simply using colorful permanent markers.
STEP 7: LIGHT ‘EM UP!
Drop in some lighted votive candles and enjoy the fun, flickering patterns cast by your new handmade lanterns! Be sure to place the lanterns on a fire-safe surface as the candles can get hot.