DIY Tin Lanterns

Thank you for visiting my post about DIY Tin Lanterns… You may also be interested in my individually handmade ceramic homewares, accessories and gifts in my shop – take a look!

I’m in love with my new recycled tea light can holder! It was so easy to make, and the best part is anyone can make one – you don’t need any special tools or materials.


Here’s what you do: Peel the label off an old tin can, fill with water and freeze in the freezer. Once frozen, draw a design onto the tin, and then pierce holes around the lines of your design using a nail and hammer. I had to keep taking breaks and putting my tin back in the freezer as my arm was aching from holding the hammer!

Once happy with your design, leave the ice to thaw out and wash off the pen marks. Then sit back and admire the pretty reflections on the wall when you light a tea light candle inside it! I’m going to make a few more of these once we have some more empty tins, I think they would look great displayed in a group and would also be great for summer evenings in the garden.

I found this idea on Sophie’s blog – Trinket Box, who originally found the idea from Gem Fatale’s Style Blog. Why not have a go yourself, it’s fun!

24 Responses to DIY Tin Lanterns

  1. Rosa Lily (Pen) says:

    Great for a summer's evening.

  2. Sophie says:

    Oh, yours looks so lovely! Thanks for the mention too :)

  3. geraldine snape says:

    oh dear Charlotte…I've had some tins in the freezer for two years waiting to do this…you have shamed me because I think it a great idea…I'm just a procrastinator.

  4. Amit Gaur says:


  5. Ian says:

    The tin can looks fantastic, very easy, excellent for youth group activity. Thanks for the idea.

  6. Lora says:

    I made these in my grade 4 art class, but we drew our designs on paper and just taped it onto the can.

  7. [...] They are also really great for parties, as they can just be recycled after you have finished with them. These gorgeous examples were made by Charlotte Hupfield, of Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics. [...]

  8. Jessy says:

    These are absolutely gorgeous, you have done a fantastic job! Thank you.

  9. Connie says:

    Beautiful , i am going to do these with the paisley design on mine , im wild about paisley .

  10. christine says:

    love this

  11. Love these.. gonna try these straight away!

    Thanks for Sharing!

  12. Emily says:

    Do you think you could use a drill instead of a hammer and nail?

  13. Tina says:

    Did you paint the tin can afterwards? Or is that “natural coloration”?

  14. I must be doing something wrong. Even if I don’t fill my can all of the way to the top with water, the bottom is bulging out when it freezes. I am so disappointed. I really wanted to do this.

    • lisa carter says:

      my cans keep busting and bulging can you tell me wat im doing wrong/ thanks love the idea

      • Misty says:

        I tried these tonight and my bottoms were bulged as well. I did a trial run with my first can. Only hammer the nail just barely over half-way up or the ice will break apart easier. As for the bottom, I just hammered it back as flat as I could. It wasn’t perfect, but the tea light still sat in there fairly evenly. Hope this helps!

    • Patty says:

      if you fill with sand, and then add water, it prevents it from bulging…however, you can just hammer the bulge out and everything will be fine (it’s the bottom anyways so it doesn’t matter how rough it looks)

  15. Kay says:

    You need to put sand as well as water into the can before you freeze as this will stop the bulge!

  16. Nisha says:

    Too cute. I’ve seen paper lantern crafts, this one’s different.

  17. Penny says:

    Very pretty! Just curious … did you spray paint it? If so, when? If before the holes, won’t they chip from the nail; and if after, did you line the tin with something special on the inside so the paint doesn’t go through? Thanks! Great idea!

  18. This is a really creative idea! Time for me to start saving my soup cans so I can make some awesome candle lanterns like these. Thank you for sharing!

  19. [...] 2: Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics Tweet `Latest [...]

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