How to Make Tin Can Lanterns

How-To, Relish Style
on October 1, 2010

Hanging on the porch or in trees or used as the centerpiece for a party table, these festive Halloween lanterns are a breeze to make.

What You’ll Need:

  • Aluminum/tin cans of various sizes, washed, dried, and de-labeled
  • Awl or nail set
  • Hammer
  • Soft towel and hard, flat surface to work on
  • Baling wire or other strong wire
  • Needle-nose pliers, wire cutters
  • Work gloves, if needed
  • Spray paints, drop cloth or newspaper

To Do:

  1. Fill each can with water to about an inch from the top and freeze overnight. This step will prevent denting when punching holes in the cans for designs.
  2. Remove can from freezer. Place lying down on the folded towel on work surface. Using the awl/nail set and hammer, make closely spaced holes in center of can to create a jack o’lantern face. (If you need to, draw image on can before freezing, using a grease pencil.)
  3. Make two handle holes on opposite sides of the can, just under the lip of the rim.
  4. Spray paint each can on the outside with chosen colors and allow to dry completely.
  5. When paint is dry, attach wire handles to each can.
  6. To use, place small candles or electric votives inside each lantern. Most food cans are made with a gold-colored metal on the inside, which casts a wonderful, natural glow.

By Teresa Blackburn, Relish Food and Prop Stylist.

Found in: How-To, Relish Style