Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tin Lanterns

I love this project.

And - even better - my babes loved it, too.
It only needs tin cans, wire, water, a nail, and a hammer.

Clean and strip your cans of contents, labels, and glue.

Fill it all but an inch with water, and place it in the freezer overnight.

You can make a template (I don't know how you'd get it to stick), but we drew our simple designs on with a marker. (It might be necessary to do it again when you're about half-way through, as the marker might bleed and fade on the frosty can.)

I put a couple of larger holes in the sides of the can first, and then handed the children the hammers and a smaller nail.

(I started Maddie's holes for her, making a small hole so it was easier for her.)

We strung them with wire...

and there you have it.
An old fashioned tin lantern.


  1. Just found your blog and I've been lovin' it :)

  2. Very fun! My brother-in-law did something different w/ his cub scout group, teaching them about constellations first and then having them punch the holes in the shape of those constellations, adding holes where stars are.

    I've never done one, but they look so cool!

  3. Thanks so much, Stella.
    That's a lovely thing to hear. :)

  4. Boy, do we have a lot of cans for this!!!


  5. Ok...I have a silly question...why do you need to fill/freeze them?

  6. I have been saving some really large tomato juice cans for just this craft. Can't wait to see if it works on a large scale and thinking about painting them first. :)

  7. That's a FUN-project!! I like to do this with the boys :), they love to punch with a hammer.

  8. We were at Old Sturbridge Village last week and lOVED the tin stuff. This is an awesome idea... one we will surely do.

    Question... why freeze them first?

  9. This is what I'm talking about, I have all that stuff lying around and never thought of making these, now I know tomorrows project. Especially since someone loves to hammer nails.

  10. Renee U - because it makes the tin stable, otherwise it would just fold and bend while you hammered on it. :)
    It's actually easy to hammer into!

  11. We made jar lanterns this year, but we'll have to keep this one in mind. We just made beeswax tin candles. those aren't as pretty without the holes though. :)

  12. Your tin lanterns are great. All that hammering is fun stuff for children!

  13. The lanterns turned out great!
    We made some last year just about this time of year.
    It's such a great project.

  14. They look great, especially the wire handles. I love tin can lanterns.
    We did this a while ago, but it made my hands so cold ;-)

    I've seen it done with a piece of wood of the right width put inside the can. Water's easier to get hold of though!

  15. coolio!

    got to offer this one up to the boy, for sure. ;)

  16. Oh my gosh I just LOVE that picture of Maddie with lantern and pliers.Fantastic!

  17. What a fun craft, I love the idea of freezing water in it for stability, what a great idea!! We will definitely have to try making a lantern :)

  18. What a great idea! I must try this... but my sone is a bit young yet, so I'll just do it by myself for now. ;)

  19. We've been wanting to do this for age... kids look like they are having so much fun working away!!
    Blessings and magic,


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!