Recycled Tin Can
What you will make:
With the end of summer comes the joy of sitting outside with family and
friends on a warm night. Imagine quiet conversation on a patio or porch
in the light of flickering candles. These simple candle holder
luminaries are made from recycled cans and are great as a family or
Related craft: For quick-to-make decorations, see the
Chinese Paper Lanterns craft project.
Here's what you need:
- Small- to medium-size tin can
- White paper
- Black permanent marker
- Rubber bands
- Old towel
- Spray paint and newspapers (optional)
- Small candle or tea lights
This project is rated AVERAGE to do.
How to Make Recycled Tin Can Candle Holders
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Project Preparation
For each candle holder, you will need a small- to medium-size can,
like an evaporated milk or small tomato sauce can. Remove the label
and any adhesive. Wash and dry the can thoroughly.
If you are doing this craft with a group, gather all the required
materials and do the following two steps ahead of time. Younger children
will require close supervision and adult help when punching the
- Step 2: Cut Paper
You will create the can's punched design on paper first. Measure the
height of the can and around the can. Cut a rectangle from white
paper in the same dimensions. Repeat for each can.
- Step 3: Freeze Water in Cans
Fill each can with water to near the top. Place the cans into the
freezer until the water is solid ice. The ice will prevent the
can from becoming misshaped when you make the punched holes.
- Step 4: Draw Designs
With a pencil or pen, draw simple designs on the rectangle of white
paper. Make an overall design or a design just for the front of the
can. Simple line drawings are best, like stars, hearts, crosses, and snowflakes.
Be sure the design is a bit smaller than the can and that there is at
least a ¼" margin at the top and a ½" margin at the
Once you are satisfied with your design, use the black permanent
marker to make dots along the design outline. These dots mark where
you will punch holes and should be evenly spaced.
- Step 5: Punch Holes
Remove the can from the freezer and wipe off any frost. Wrap the
white paper around the can and hold it in place with two or three
rubber bands. Fold an old towel so that there are are least four
layers and lay your can on the towel.
Punch holes in the can with a hammer and a nail following the
black dots. Keep rotating the can as you move along the line of dots
so that the dot you are punching is always facing up. Tip:
Younger children will need help making the holes. You could let the
child rotate the can while an adult makes the holes with the hammer
After all the holes are made, remove the paper from the can. Run the
can under warm water to melt the ice. Dry the can well.
Careful! The inside of the can has sharp edges!
- Step 6: Paint Can (optional)
Spread lots of newspapers in a well-ventilated area. Spray paint
the can and apply a second coat, if needed. When the paint is dry,
use a nail to open the holes closed by the paint. White and colored paints work well.
- Step 7: Add Candles
Pour ½" or so of sand in the bottom of each candle holder and
set a candle or tea light in it. Put the completed
candle holder on concrete or another heat-tolerant surface. Be careful
not to touch the candle holder when the candle is burning—the can will
The inside of the candle holder has sharp edges, so to light the
candle, you will need a long match or grill lighter. You can also use
a bamboo skewer lit with a match to reach down inside the candle
That's it! Your candle holder
luminaries are complete!
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