Recycled Crafts – Christmas Lanterns from Food Cans!

I love recycled crafts and upcycling ‘rubbish’ and I adore anything which involves getting my tools out and twinkly candle light! This is a craft for older children, adults or both together!

recycled crafts - Christmas Lanterns - Baked Bean Tin Lanterns


You Will Need

  • washed and dried ring pull tins
  • acrylic paint
  • an electric drill fitted with a small drill bit
  • glitter glue
  • night-light candles (I used giant ones which are almost the same size as the base of the tins)


  • Pencil your design outline onto your clean tin and drill holes. They work well as baubles on the ends of Christmas tree branches, the points of a star and the features and buttons of a snowman but your imagination is the only limit. I gently hammered a dent in before starting to drill so the drill bit didn’t slip but be careful not to hammer too hard and squash the tin. I lay the tins on their sides on my workbench between the slats so they didn’t roll about.
  • Paint the tins with acrylic paint and allow to dry completely before adding a second coat. I used  lovely festive red and green here but you could adapt it to suit your Christmas colour theme…purple and silver maybe? I may be pursing my lips a little bit, I am a traditionalist but I am trying to accept that others of you go for a  more ‘modern’ look!
  • Once the paint has dried completely lightly pencil on your design again if you need to and then go over it with glitter glue.
  • Allow to dry, pop in a night-light and hey presto, Christmas lanterns!

recycled crafts -Christmas tree lanterns made from food cans

How would you paint your tins? What is your festive colour scheme? Are you a traditionalist like me or do you go for a black tree and purple decorations?


  1. I love these, we fill our cans with water and freeze them and hammer in nails to get the holes. I quite like them just silver

    • Paula told me about the freezing thing at the weekend, I’ll give it a bash 😉

  2. Great idea!!!! Love it and trying it. Thanks

    • Hooray! Let me know how you get on!

  3. Oh, these are awesome! I think I might string some of these up too. I heard that if you fill the cans with water then the drill goes through better? Could get messy though?

    Thanks for linking up!

    • A couple of people have said freezing the water helps but it worked fine for me without. I’m not sure I have the patience (or freezer space at this time of year) for fiddling about! 😀

  4. I am *SO* making these! Oh and I’d probably keep them natural silver, or paint them red. Pinned and stumbled!

    • Yay! Thanks lovely! x

  5. I LOVE these. Don’t think it’s an activity to do with my toddler around, but I might try it out on my own!

  6. Those are wonderful! I like red and green at Christmas, I have to say, with gold and silver.

    • Me too! It’s the purple and black I have trouble with…it looks so cold!

  7. Wow, truly fab! Will have to make these x

  8. Ah! This is a brilliant idea! Defo going to give it a whirl! x

  9. How funny, someone also told me this weekend about freezing water in them!

    Yours look gorgeous Chris x

  10. I’ll try, not sure about the drilling part, the terms of my release say I shouldn’t go near power tools!

  11. I don’t fancy getting the drill out (lazy person here…who is slightly scared of drills) but am going to see if the tin I have saved is thin enough that I might be able to punch holes with my super-pointy scissors as I LOVE these. I have green and purple acrylic paitn so that will be my colour scheme – use what I have!

  12. Great DIY-ers, like this, is awesome… easy list of items to get! Cute idea. I used to have a million of those cans laying around from the amount of beans for my soups!

  13. Chris, I love this idea. Up-cycling is great if you’re as crafty as you are and I know what you mean about the drill bit slipping – learned the hard way myself when attempting to drill through some tin.

    Love the other articles on your blog to btw, would be nice to know what your new year’s resolutions are. Next article perhaps? 😉



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