Seaside Tinkered Treasures
Empty tin cans become sturdy lanterns ready to add glittering light to any dim place that could benefit from a bit of magic. Make as many as you like and use them to cast a subtle glow along a walkway or down some steps, or to add ambiance to a romantic dinner served outside on a warm summer night.
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Prepare the cans by removing any
labels and washing and drying the
cans thoroughly inside and out to avoid
rusting. Carefully tap down any jagged
edges with a small hammer.
Fill the can almost to the top with
water and place in the freezer for a
couple of hours—you need the water inside
to just-freeze. Leaving the can in the freezer
for an extended period of time can cause
the bottom to expand and warp, making it
unsteady as a fixture.
Prepare a sturdy surface where you
can hammer a pattern into the can.
The best bets are a table over a cork board
or cutting board, or outdoors at a picnic
table, with the can supported by a couple
of bricks propped on a dishtowel. Carefully
hammer the end of a nail just through the
can and then pull out; repeat at intervals
around the shape to create a pattern of
small holes. If you plan to hang your
luminary, make two holes at the top of the
can on either side so you can attach a
handle. When all the hammering is
completed, drain and dry the can.
Use a foam brush to paint the can
using a craft paint meant for metal,
or latex paint. You can also use spray paint
but be prepared for occasional drips. Apply
as many coats as desired, allowing the can
to dry thoroughly between coats.
If you want to hang your luminary,
thread a sturdy piece of wire
through and fasten well either by
bending or tying.
TINKER TIPS To loosen a
stubborn label, submerge
the can in warm, soapy
water and leave overnight.
Work quickly to make
all the holes before the
ice melts, but take care
when hammering and
focus on completing one
hole at a time.
Take all the usual
precautions when using
candles, or use small
The handle from a
Chinese food take-out
carton makes a good
FANCY THIS Hammer
out other patterns such
as numbers, simple flower
shapes, and stars.