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Tin-Can Lantern | Recycled Crafts

Tin-Can Lantern

Total Time Needed: Weekend Project

This project takes some planning, but the result is well worth it - whether paraded outside or used to give a spooky feel to a nighttime picnic.


  • Large tin can, label removed
  • Markers
  • Towel
  • Hammer
  • Nails of different sizes
  • Small screw-in hook
  • 20-inch wood dowel
  • Coat hanger
  • Votive candle
  • Dried spaghetti noodle


  1. On the outside of the clean, empty can, draw a pattern for the lantern holes.
  2. Fill the can with water and freeze it for two days. (The ice keeps the sides from collapsing when you hammer them.) When the water in the can is frozen solid, place the can on its side on top of a towel and use the nail tips to hammer in holes of various sizes according to his design. Be sure to make two holes near the top, on opposite sides, for stringing a handle.
  3. Remove any chunks of ice from inside the tin can (a parent's job, since the hammered-in holes will have sharp edges).
  4. Screw the hook into one end of the wood dowel, then string the length of wire through the hook. Wind the ends of the wire through the hanging holes on the can a few times until they are secure.
  5. Use a small bit of melted wax or modeling clay to affix the votive candle to the bottom of the can.


The dried spaghetti noodle is a handy way to light the lantern; it burns steadily and lessens the likelihood of scorching fingers.