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Illuminate Your Space With DIY Lanterns

By Aldona Bird

With nights getting longer it is the perfect time to light candles. Making your own lantern can be a great way to make the flickering glow of a burning wick even more mesmerizing.

This easy DIY lantern project requires only a few tools, materials and steps. Adults and older kids can have fun with it, and younger children can enjoy designing the patterns for the lanterns.

To make these lanterns, you will need:

  • Tin cans
  • Wire
  • Hammer and nail or drill and bits
  • Sharpie
  • Paper and tape, optional

First, clean your tin cans and let them dry. Do not use if they have jagged or sharp edges. To let the light shine out when a candle is burning inside you will create holes in the cans.

Next, create a design for the holes — they can be random, an outline of a shape, or an ornate pattern. You can make geometric patterns, or trace the outlines of leaves, make a heart, a flower, a mandala or anything in between.

Once you have an idea for the pattern draw it directly onto the can or onto a piece of paper. Either way, draw the pattern you want in dots. If you put it on paper, tape the paper securely to the can.

Using either a hammer and nail or a drill, make holes in the can along your drawn pattern. Consider what size holes you want — you can even use a variety to add another element of interest to your lantern.

If using a hammer and nail, be sure not to hammer the nail all the way in, just tap it in enough to make the hole so you don’t have to try to pull it back out and risk either denting the can or sticking your hand inside the tin can to try to push out the nail.

In general when making this project, use caution to avoid injuries.

You can also paint your luminaries if you want a color or minimal white rather than the shiny silver. Be sure to use a paint which is safe to use with fire — avoid flammable paints, and check labels for warnings.

If you opt to paint the cans, do so before making the holes. If you wait until after, the paint may clog the holes.

To make your lantern hang, make two holes opposite each other a quarter to half an inch down from the top of the can. Thread a wire through these holes to create a handle with which to hang the finished luminary.

Place a small candle inside, light it and enjoy the light streaming out through the pattern you made. These easy luminaries add customizable ambiance to your spaces, and can add a spirit warming touch to chilly nights.

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