How to make tin can garden lanterns

Use tin cans to create beautiful, sparkling garden lights with the help of our easy-to-follow project.

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

30 minutes

Garden lighting is invaluable for creating a magical, tranquil atmosphere and there are economical ways to make your own. Old tin cans can easily be turned into beautiful, sparkling lanterns, adding ambience to evenings spent relaxing outdoors.

Made from metal food cans, protected from the elements with spray paint, these lanterns will last for years to come, brightening up any area of your garden. Hang from feature plants like bamboos and Japanese maples, for a beautiful uplighting effect, or combine with other homemade garden lights, like glass jar garden lanterns. Spray lots of lanterns all the same colour for a simple look, or go for lots of bright colours to create the party mood.

Create your own tin can garden lights, with the help of our easy step-by-step guide.

You will need

  • Food cans
  • Electric drill with a 3.5mm bit
  • Car spray paint
  • Galvanised wire
  • Tea lights


Slowly drill evenly-spaced holes through the side of the can, carefully controlling the drill speed. Make two holes opposite each other for the wire handle at the top of the can.

Working outside, spray the cans with car paint. When the cans are dry attach the handles from galvanised wire, bent around a can to create the shape. Push each end through the holes, bending to make them secure.


Make sure the rims of the cans are smooth before you decorate them.

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