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How To Make a Tin Can Luminaria


Making a tin can luminaria

Making a tin can luminaria

Photo: Pamela Cole Harris
One of the easiest ways to make good looking and budget lighting for a romantic dinner or seasonal decor is by crafting tin can luminarias or lanterns. They are very inexpensive, made of recycled materials, and can be embellished with color or left as silver. Here is the simple technique:
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1 day (including freezer time)

Here's How:

  1. Remove the label from an empty vegetable or soup can. Make sure the lid was removed evenly - one of those can openers that unseal the lid instead of cutting is the best kind to use. Wash the can thoroughly and dry. Fill the can with water and put it in the freezer until the contents are frozen solid.
  2. Lay the can on a towel so it won't roll around. Then draw your pattern on the can with a permanent marker.
  3. Punch holes in the can following the pattern with a large nail and a hammer. The holes should be about 1/2 inch apart.
  4. When you have completed your pattern, let the ice inside thaw. When the can is dry, it can be spray painted any color or simply cover with a clear sealer if you like the silver color.
  5. Place a candle inside the can and enjoy!


  1. Don't let very small children make this craft. They might cut themselves on the ragged edges the nail makes inside the can.
  2. If you want to make a lantern to carry at Halloween, use the nail to punch two holes opposite each other at the top of the can. Cut a length of wire for the handle and attach by threading it through the holes and twisting the ends around the handle.

What You Need:

  • Vegetable or soup can
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Towel
  • Spray sealer or paint
  • Length of wire if you want a handle
  • Wire snips
  • Permanent Marker
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