A Warm and Twinkling Craft for New Year’s: Tin Can Welcome Lanterns

Make your own tin can lanterns to make your guest's arrival warm and bright! Andrea Tomkins explains how

Shine on, baby! Shine on!

When we have company over the holidays I like to get the kids involved in cleaning and decorating in time for their arrival. This New Year’s Eve we will be lining our front walk with groups of tin can lanterns to illuminate the arrival of our special friends. The kids love making these lanterns (probably because it involves raiding dad’s tool area and using a hammer), and although it may seem like a long process, with a bit of planning it actually goes very quickly.

What you’ll need:
• Tin cans, scrubbed out and with the labels torn off. (Make sure there are no sharp edges!)
• A nail
• Hammer
• Tea light candle

1. Fill the cans with water and put them in the freezer overnight. The water needs to be frozen solid before you proceed to the next step because the ice will prevent the can from denting when you create your pattern using the hammer and nail.

2. Hold the nail in place and give it a couple of careful taps with the hammer, just enough to pierce the can. Don’t hammer it in too deeply, otherwise it will be harder to remove the nail. It’s a good idea to spread a dish towel on your lap while you’re doing this. The can will be very cold and the hammering tends to loosen a few chips of ice off the top.

Part one: making the holes

3. Complex shapes patterns can be sketched out in advance with a Sharpie, otherwise go crazy with random dots, like we did. Make plenty of holes so the light will shine through! (Be very careful—while this craft is great for older kids, adult supervision is still a must!)

4. Put your lanterns in place before you light the candle because the cans heat up very quickly. Then all you need to do is step back and enjoy the wonder of candlelight on a cold and snowy night and wait for company to arrive.

Wishing you all a warm and bright New Year!


Andrea Tomkins is a mother of two imps, and wife of one. She’s a freelance writer who is often found with camera in hand or scribbling madly in her notebook. She is passionate about arts and culture, travel and healthy living, and gets an extra big thrill out of helping parents and kids discover all the hidden treasures Ottawa has to offer. You can follow her adventures on her blog, a peek inside the fishbowl, where she’s been writing about family life since 1999. She’ll be sharing a great new craft idea here at CF.ca every Friday.

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