These lanterns are a fun DIY project that won't cost you a cent.


These lanterns are perfect for a winter solstice celebration. The more holes in the can, the more twinkly your lantern will look. Freezing the cans before hammering the holes prevents them from bending – especially if the walls of the can are thin.

Please be careful with any sharp rims! You can use all sizes of can, from large coffee cans to small soup tins, but you’ll want to ensure a tea light candle can be safely mounted on a level in the bottom (we recommend some sand to help with this and to provide stabilising weight in the bottom).


What to do

  • 1. Check that the can lid has been cleanly removed and use the hammer to tap in any sharp or protruding rims or edges.

  • 2. The night before, fill the can with sand to ⅓ to ½ full. Pour in water to about ⅔ full and place in the freezer until solid.

  • 3. Pre-cut the wire or coat hanger into 30–50 cm lengths for the handle, if possible.

  • 4. Draw a few possible design ideas on paper, such as stars, swirls and clouds. Draw your design on the can in dots using the permanent marker. You can also experiment with using a leaf or making a paper template. Hold the leaf or paper template to the can with Blu Tack.

  • 5. Wearing gloves, use the hammer and a nail to tap holes to create your design. Follow the pattern of dots, or tap the holes right through the template or leaf shape. You can rest the can on an old towel to stabilise it as you tap.

  • 6. Use a thick nail to tap two large holes below the top rim of the can at opposite sides for the handle.

  • 7. Cut a piece (30–50 cm long) of thick wire or use pre-cut wires. Don’t cut them too short or the candle may burn fingers! Give plenty of room above the candle.

  • 8. Thread the wire through both holes and use the pliers to turn loops in the ends to hold them. (You may need an adult to do this.)

  • 9. When the water has melted, tip it out along with most of the sand. Keep about 1 cm of sand on the bottom of the can as this will be a good base for your candle.

  • 10. Insert the candle. Wait for dark, light it carefully and enjoy your candlelight lantern parade!

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