4th of July Craft Tin Can Luminaries

1 Hour

I feel like tin cans are ubiquitous and underrated. Collect these guys and you can use them for so many things! Tin is strong enough to be very functional and it’s not so hard to make it pretty. I’m here today to give you some inspiration on an idea to upcycle tin cans for a 4th of July craft. Make these tin can luminaries with your kids to show off at your Independence Day patio party!
I took photos of every step so this photo tutorial should be really easy for you to follow! First, remove the label on the tin can.
Next, fill it up with water, about a 1/2 inch from the top.
Now throw it in the freezer overnight. The water will freeze and expand.
Next, lay the frozen tin can down flat and use a hammer and nails to puncture the metal. This should be pretty easy. The ice inside will prevent the can from denting or becoming malformed while you’re hammering in your design.
It’s easy! You can even use different sized nails to get different sized holes! I made this one into what was supposed to be a firework. But, after more practice, I decided this 4th of July craft was more straight-forward with a simple "USA" displayed on it. You will see that version down below…
Now you let the ice melt and dump it out of the can. Dry thoroughly!
Time to paint it!
Starting with the white coat, spray the can inside and outside with spray paint. Let dry for an hour.
The next step is to cut a 3″ strip of paper and grab some clear tape.
Wrap the paper around your tin can and tape it together. The part showing will be coated in red.
Flip the can upside down so that you are spray painting downward against the paper. If you spray paint straight on or into the paper, you will not get a crisp line.
Let red dry for an hour and flip the can upside down again, repeating this last step with the blue.
Do not forget to pin this idea! This craft is so easy you could do it with your kids or grandkids!
I was so excited to see them lit up at night. They were even better!
To see more projects I’ve done upcycling trash, check out this mobile made from toilet paper rolls and .
Head over to my blog for more fun crafts! Thanks for reading :)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 20 questions
  • Pattie Hallbeck
    on Jul 1, 2017

    did you use battery candles
  • Marguerite Davis Fondren
    on Jul 1, 2017

    how do you keep the red and blue from leaking on to the white? I'm missing something here.
    • Marie Oriol-Lavalle
      on Jul 2, 2017

      1) Spray the can white (inside and out) first;
      2) Allow the can to thoroughly dry;
      3) Proceed with taping off the parts of said can that you want to paint with other colors;
      4) Don't try to paint more than one color at a time--allow common sense to prevail🙂
  • Jerri Oakley Waller
    on Jul 2, 2017

    What is the purpose of freezing the water in the can first?
    • Chrid
      on Jul 3, 2017

      So you can hammer into it without it denting, bending or collapsing.

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