How to Make Tin Can Lanterns for Festive Friday

I love the twinkle and sparkle of Christmas and am a total fairy light addict but there is nothing quite like the soft glow and gentle glimmer of candle light. For this week’s Festive Friday I have been hammering tins again, this time making tin can lanterns to light up the dark Winter nights!

Tin Lanterns 3

I’ve been collecting pull top food cans for some time and may now have a ridiculous number however that doesn’t excuse Mr TS who thoughtlessly squashed TWO to put in the recycling last week! I have an image in my mind of the house and garden decorated with hundreds of these lovelies all twinkling away, wouldn’t they look amazing hanging from the branches of our apple tree?

After advice from fellow bloggers when I wrote this post last year, I filled the cans with water and popped them in the freezer before using them this time. This means when you are hammering on your design the can doesn’t buckle and bend; for last year’s lanterns I used a drill so this wasn’t a problem but this time I was in a hammering mood!

I invited my lovely friend Sue over for a cuppa and a bit of a bash and we spent a lovely couple of hours catching up and creating a bit of Christmas at the same time.

how to make tin can lanterns

We mixed up a bit of free style hammering with some more controlled patterns having discovered that it is actually really tricky to hammer a free style star on to a ridged can. For the stars I drew around a cookie cutter onto tracing paper which we then held onto our cans and hammered through. We used nails to hammer small holes and it took some trial and error, we weren’t sure how they were going to look once they were lit – they didn’t look very inspiring in the daylight…

how to make tin can lanterns

But, pop a tea light candle inside, turn the room lights down low and they really come into their own!

how to make tin can lanterns

Sue and I put our cans into the workbench and tightened it up gently so they didn’t get squashed but also didn’t move about. It’s a bit dangerous hammering a nail into a rolling object so, if you’re going to have a go, make sure your can is well secured. The workbench is still up in the kitchen because Bonus Boy is very keen to have a go – it’s going to keep us busy this weekend!

So, what have you been up to get you into the Festive Friday mood this week? Will you be making a Christmas pudding this weekend for Stir Up Sunday? Come and share all your Festive Friday posts!

How Does Festive Friday Work?

Festive Friday is an ongoing Linky for all things Christmas and runs from now until Boxing Day. There is no long list of requirements, it would be lovely if you mentioned me in your post and gave me a little link – if you do I’ll give you a kiss under the mistletoe and share a glass of sherry or two, if you don’t I won’t poke you with the holly or snatch back the mince pies! Please link up any lovely Christmas posts, past or present and help me to build a resource for Christmas lovers everywhere!

I am also running a collaborative Festive Friday Pinterest Board and will be pinning all those who join in on a Friday (with a full credit and link of course!). If you would like an invite to join the board and add your own pins just ask!

Festive Friday at Thinly Spread


  1. I love those lanterns, Chris. I was trying to think of what to put in our windows this year and you’ve answered the question. I have loads of tins hanging about! I hope mine turn out as well as yours. By the way, I’d love to join your Festive Friday Pinterest group – may I? I’m Adele Jarrett-Kerr on there.

    • Of course you may! Thanks Adele! :-) Do let me know how you get on with the tins! x

    • I’m so pleased with them! :-)

  2. I love your lanterns! I have a lot of tins waiting to be recycled and that’s exactly what I am going to do with them:)

  3. What a beautiful idea! I cant believe nobody has thought of this yet. I just love it when something which was destined for the bin gets re-used in such a decorative way.

  4. How cool! Really effective too – you really nailed it *boom boom*

  5. I love these lanterns, and what a clever tip about filling them with water and freezing first! I am going to have to give this a go with our frugal Christmas this year. :) I’ve linked up our frugal (ie: free, made with recycled materials I found outdoors) Christmas tree – I hope you like! Great idea for a blog linky too!

  6. You are like seriously clever.

    • Can I have a badge?

  7. wow your lanterns look amazing!



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