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45 mins

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.

Posted by Ryland Peters & Small Published See Ryland Peters & Small's 148 projects » © 2021 Elyse Major / CICO Books · Reproduced with permission. · Seaside Tinkered Treasures by Elyse Major is published by CICO Books and is available from rylandpeters.com
  • Step 1

    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.

  • Step 2

    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.

  • How to make a lantern. Tin Can Luminary - Step 3
    Step 3

    Remove the can from the freezer and
    draw a simple shape such as a heart
    on the best side of the can.

  • How to make a lantern. Tin Can Luminary - Step 4
    Step 4

    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.

  • Step 5

    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.

  • How to make a lantern. Tin Can Luminary - Step 6
    Step 6

    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
    battery-operated votives.
    The handle from a
    Chinese food take-out
    carton makes a good
    hanging device.

    FANCY THIS Hammer
    out other patterns such
    as numbers, simple flower
    shapes, and stars.

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