Tin Can Lanterns

Tin can lanterns can add a touch of magic to a campfire or camp dinner.  It takes quite a bit of time and is a bit messy so it might be a craft to save for camp.   I would suggest using larger cans such as those used for beans or pasta sauce over soup cans.  To make a tin can lantern you will need

  • one can per girl
  • tea light candle (either wax or battery operated)
  • hammer
  • Large nail or awl
  • permanent marker
  • paint and paint brushes (optional)
  • wire (optional)

Before the craft, fill all the cans with water and leave them in a freezer over night so they are frozen solid.  Have the girls draw a simple design on the can with the marker.  If you want the lanterns to hang, use the nail to make two small holes near the top of the can.  Then continue to make holes along the design the girls have drawn.  It is best to start near the top as the ice will melt there first.  The ice keeps the lanterns shape while the holes are being banged into it.  Once all the holes are in place, set the cans aside to wait for the ice to melt.  Once the ice has melted you can paint your can if you’d like.  You can also bend some wire though the holes at the top to make a handle.  Be sure all the paint has dried before lighting the lantern.  Put the tea lights into the lanterns and light them.  If you are using wax candles, you may want to use a bar-b-que lighter or fireplace match as the inside of the cans will be quite sharp.

This video demonstrates the technique but I’m not keen on the fact that they spray paint the inside of the can.  I’d keep the paint away from the candle.


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