How To Make Your Own Outdoor Lanterns

Upcycled tins punched with holes create a soft glow of light on spring evenings outside. Here's how you can create your own…

Craft Ideas | Make Your Own Outdoor Lanterns

by Angela Kenny |
Updated on
Craft Ideas | Make Your Own Outdoor Lanterns



A selection of tin cans, washed and dried

A seed tray filled with gravel


Nails with large heads (£1.29 for 100g)


Length of thin, flexible wire (£3.99 for 1.2m


Fill the cans with water to half an inch (1cm) below the rim. Place in the freezer for 24 hours until the water is frozen solid.

Place the cans in a tray of gravel to hold them steady. The ice will stop the cans from bending out of shape when you make holes with the nail.

Make two holes at opposite sides of each can, just below the rim. This is to attach the hanging wire. Make patterns of holes by knocking a nail through the tin into the ice (a large headed nail is easier to hit). Take care, as the cans will be slippery!

Once the pattern is complete, leave the cans upside down for the melted ice to run out.

Cut a length of wire to make a handle. It should be pliable enough to bend by hand. For a small can, you’ll need approximately 14in (35cm) of wire. Using the pliers, bend each end of the wire to over 90 degrees. Bend the middle of the wire over a stick or a wooden spoon to create a neat hanging loop. Slot the wire ends into the two holes at the top of the can and bend them upwards to secure the handle.

Fix a small candle in place at the bottom of each lantern using a drop of hot wax. Use a long taper so it can be reached safely.

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