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Simple Tin Can Lanterns {Craft Camp}

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Hi there! I’m Alicia of Mayfly and I’m thrilled to be joining in again this year at Craft Camp! My kids and and I made super simple tin-can lanterns that my mom made with my sister and I when we were little. We used to take them on camping trips. They are so easy and fast, and they are really stunning after dark.

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Here are the supplies you’ll need:

1. a few empty tin cans- we used coffee cans.
2. a hammer or two
3. a few nails of different sizes (to make holes of different sizes)
4. a towel to stabilize the can during hammering
5. a sharpie to plan your design
6. a wire hanger for the handle
7. wire cutter pliers (not pictured)
8. a cordless drill- optional (not pictured)
9. candles (not pictured)



First, draw your design on paper if desired. Both of my kids sketched just a little bit first before they got started with their cans. I think it made them more sure of themselves before they started with the sharpies. Then draw your design in dots on the can in sharpie.


Next find the most comfortable way to hammer the nails into the can to poke the holes. My son (11) tried at first laying the towel and can in his lap. This worked for awhile, but after a bit he moved it all up to the table. My daughter (7) hammered a few, but was nervous about it, so I ended up poking most of her holes for her. My husband Brian, came out with his cordless drill and sped this step up considerably, but really, it wasn’t necessary to get so high-tech. Remember the more holes you poke, the more dramatic the lanterns will be.

My son’s can was a little thinner than the others and got a little “bendy.” He was concerned, but I assured him it wouldn’t matter, and it would look just as good as soon as it was dark. And I was right. But I do remember when we were little, filling the cans with water and freezing them the night before to solve the bending issue. I should have done that this time- oops.




After you think you’ve poked enough holes, it’s time to attach your handles. Clip your hangers and bend them into long loops. Hook the ends through holes in the cans and crimp them into hooks with your pliers. Be sure to make the handles long enough that the heat from the candles doesn’t burn little hands!


Voila! Now you just have to wait until dark to light your candles and enjoy the twinkly goodness…

Thanks for letting us join in on all the Craft Camp fun, Cindy!


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