DIY Chinese String Lanterns

7 Materials
We've made these before using battery tea lights but this new updated version is much easier to make and easier to upkeep. They are also smaller! Use them for parties inside or hang along your back porch for ambient lighting that looks wonderful at day or night. SEE ALL PHOTOS HERE
Gather all your supplies. We used the small 7.5 size soda can for these.
Freeze all your cans with water overnight. Keep the tabs on them! (
Taking a hair band place it on the top of the can just below the bevel of the can.
Mark around with the dry erase marker. Repeat the same step around the bottom of the can.  Be sure that the can is dry, as condensation may ruin your marker.  (TIP: Feel free to do this step prior to freezing the can, to avoid damaged markers.)
Holding the can with the oven mitt, cut between the marked lines with the X-acto knife.  The frozen water gives you a solid backing, ensuring straight, clean lines.  Keep cuts about 1/2 inch apart.  Complete this around the full circumference of the can.
Spray paint the cans your color of choice.  Let dry. The colors we used are listed over on our site.
Once the cans are dry, simple press the top and bottom of the can together in order to get the bend.  This may take a few tries to perfect.  Some of the ribbons may bend inward, initially.  Simply reach into the can and bend them back out.  Aluminum is very forgiving.
Depending on the length of your light strand, insert 3-4 lights into the top of each can.  Leave one light out in between each can if needed for spacing.
Use a twist-tie or white pipe cleaner to attach the wires to the pull tab of the soda cans, ensuring everything stays in place. We used green but suggest you use white to match the lights.
Suggested materials:
  • Soda Cans, 7.5 oz size
  • String lights white cord, preferably LED
  • Spray Paint of Choice (see our post for colors we used)
See all materials
Nancy at Craft Your Happiness
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  • Cindy Cindy on May 13, 2017
    Not a question ,only a comment. This is the most creative, most economical DIY craft/project I have seen in a long time! Good for you and creative minds like yours!

  • Bev Winters Bev Winters on May 13, 2017
    Kudos from me too, this is a great upcycle!  I'm imagining a copper-painted set of these hanging in my deciduous trees- off to raid my workplace recycling bin next week!

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