Coffee Can Jack O' Lanterns With Lights!

7 Materials

I am a huge coffee fan! HUGE! I seriously live on that delicious stuff. Needless to say, I have a ton of coffee cans laying around and I love doing crafts with them. Here is my coffee can Jack o' lantern.

Coffee Can Jack O' Lantern
DIY Coffee Can Jack O' Lantern

Tools and Materials

  • coffee cans
  • marker
  • hammer
  • awl
  • paint
  • paintbrush
  • LED lights
  • decor
Draw a Face
Draw a Face

First draw a face on your coffee can. If you don't want it to light up, you can go right into priming. Some coffee cans have a label or sticker wrapped around them that you'll need to remove. These coffee cans don't.

Pound Holes into the Cans
Pound Holes into the Cans

The easiest way to pound holes into these bad boys is with a "craft awl" or something like it. Nails and drills are tricky to use and will dent your coffee can. These craft awls are only a couple buckaroos and can be found in any craft store. They are usually used to make jewelry.

Outline Face with Holes

I think these cans look great all lit up, so I outline the faces I drew on them with holes.

Coffee Can Upcycle

Be careful sticking your hands in the can after you make the holes. Some of the backs of the holes will be jagged. You can tape something plastic to the inside like a file or folder. Plastic folders come in a variety of colors too, so you can create some pretty cool looking lights.


I used an "all" surface primer I bought over here in Japan on the cans and lids. When it dried I painted on a black base coat. You'll need to re-poke some holes if paint dries over them.

Paint the Face

I mixed some black paint and wood glue to paint on the faces. You can buy a black paint marker if you find making straight lines difficult. I used a water based antiquing liquid on the orange to give it a kind of worn look too.

Add Lights
Add Lights

This is what they look like with a dollar store push light in them. If you're not getting a bright enough light, wrap some foil around the back of the inside to reflect the light forward. Remember that you can change the color of the light by using a colored transparent plastic file or folder.

Add Decor
Add Decor

I used a piece of dried branch I found outside for the top of the lid. I super glued it on and then used a hot glue gun to give textures. I painted the wood and hot glue with matte black and when it dried I went over it with a watered down brown

DIY Jack O' Lantern
DIY Halloween Decor

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Resources for this project:
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Eileen Eileen on Sep 24, 2021

    Really like these.

    Could do so much with them.

    Why did you add craft glue to the black paint?

  • Kathy Kathy on Sep 25, 2021

    Our coffee holders… are Plastic.

    can’t find metal ones ??

  • Mac15387030 Mac15387030 on Sep 25, 2021

    So you are in Japan ?

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3 of 145 comments
  • Nana4 Nana4 on Sep 25, 2021

    Very nice. I have two steel coffee cans. Giant Eagle here in PA in US still uses steel cans. This would be fun project.

  • Grandma Coookie Grandma Coookie on Sep 25, 2021

    You can make these with plastic coffee cans as well, just be careful with the lighting. Also, if you freeze water in the cans or plastic container first, it is easier to punch holes without denting the container.