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Tin Can Lanterns

Design and create your own tin can lantern and watch your art glow!

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  • What supplies do you need for this activity?
  • What design will you put on your lantern?
  • How will you make sure that you are safe throughout the process of making your lantern?


  • Take a tin can that has been cleaned and remove its label.
  • Fill it with water and let it freeze – it is much easier to use a can with ice in it than an empty can.
  • Create a steady surface for your can – you can make one out of snow or create one from wood or other materials.
  • Once your can is frozen, draw your design onto it using a permanent marker. The open end of the can is the top, so make sure your design is facing the right way.
  • Punch out the design carefully using a hammer and awl (or other similar materials)
  • Once you’ve punched out your design, punch two more holes on the opposite sides of the top of the can and thread a wire through it. Use pliers to fold the ends of the wire.
  • Let the ice in your tin can melt – leave them in a sink or somewhere else that the water can easily drain.
  • Place a light at the bottom of the can and admire the glow of your work!


  • What was the most challenging part of this adventure?
  • If you were to do this adventure again, what would you do differently?


  • Tin can (cleaned and with the label removed), with ice frozen inside
  • Design template
  • Permanent marker
  • Awl and hammer
  • Light

Keep it Simple

  • Use the same principle but rather than making a tin can lantern, make a mini version using a toilet paper tube and punch holes using a pencil with a piece of clay held behind to support. Use a battery-powered light to create a light safely.

Take it Further

  • Create a series of designs on your lanterns that tell a story or try for a more challenging design like your Group crest or badge!