Reuse An Empty Soup Can To Create A Unique Hanging Lantern For Your Backyard

Outdoor lighting can offer a great chance to get creative using lanterns, candles, and string lights to bedeck your patio, porch, or outdoor living space. While traditional and innovative outdoor lighting like decorative lanterns can sometimes be expensive at retailers, DIY web denizens have come up with amazingly creative projects putting everyday items to use to make fun lighting options for the outdoors. These include great ways to turn trash into treasure by creating charmingly rustic lanterns from empty tin cans with a just a few easy modifications.

Even better, these unique lighting pieces can be created for little to no expense, using materials like leftover soup cans that you may already have in your recycling bin. You will need at least one can of any size, a metal punch or drill, a hammer, some wire or twine, and a light of some kind. Great options include strings of battery-operated twinkle lights, real or faux votive candles, or LED puck lights. Because they are fun and inexpensive to make, you can create as many as you desire to make your backyard a dreamy and well-lit space.

How to create a lantern from a can

The simplest version of this fun DIY involves simply punching or drilling holes in the can in your desired design. Use a marker to help you sketch out where to make your holes, or freehand a decorative design. You can also use a stencil taped to the side to help guide your hole placement. Or, make larger fun cutouts using metal cutting tools like jack-o-lanterns, stars, hearts, or flowers. You can leave the cans in their natural silver for an industrial look, or paint them for a more colorful cottage-style accent. 

To hang your lantern, create two holes on either side of the top rim of the can and screw in a couple of small screws to wrap your hanger around. To make the hanger, use a piece of wire, twine, or ribbon and suspend the can wherever you need a bit of light outdoors, including porch overhangs, along fences, from the trees, or on metal garden hangers. 

Other DIY variations

Other creative ways to turn ordinary tin cans into stylish outdoor lights include cutting the can along the side with a pair of tin snips, leaving the bottom and the top of each strip still attached. Use a pair of pliers to pull each strip out slightly, creating a rounder version that allows light to filter through the spaces between. Or, drill holes all over the can and add some plastic-colored pegs which will grant a colorful glow and beautiful reflective shadows. 

You can also use several small cans to create shades for string lights by flipping over the can and making a small hole punched through the top to rest over the top of the bulb. If you need a more powerful way to light up your yard at night, use a large container like a coffee can or paint can to create a wired hanging lamp with a corded lamp kit and a regular incandescent or LED light.