DIY Mexican Tin Lantern

This DIY Mexican tin lantern requires only an empty tin can and a few basic tools.

Handmade Mexican Tin Lantern Hanging from Tree

A string of these Mexican tin lanterns, either lined up along a wall or hung from the branches of a tree, would look fabulous.

Photo courtesy Skyhorse Publishing

Content Tools

Handmade crafts lend character and personality. Homemade (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010) by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson is packed full of practical, thoughtful handmade ideas from seasoned crafters. With over one hundred projects using everyday objects from around the house, they craft beautiful works of art. The following excerpt from “Summer” shows you how to make a wonderful Mexican tin lantern.

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Mexican Tin Lantern

Inspired by this wonderful Mexican tin lantern that was a present from a friend (see Slideshow), here is a less elaborate, but nevertheless charming, version to make yourself. A string of such lanterns, either lined up along a wall or hung from the branches of a tree, would look fabulous. The pinpricks of light cast lovely shadows, while the tin provides the candle with protection from the wind. For a special birthday, wedding, or anniversary party you could even punch out names, initials, or a personal message.

You will need

• An empty tin can, washed out, with label and lid removed
• Erasable felt pen
• Bradawl or small screwdriver
• Hammer
• Wire for handle
• Tea candle

To make

• The lantern illustrated uses a standard size can, but smaller and larger sizes work well too. It is possible to make the holes directly with a bradawl and hammer, but the following method makes it easier and safer to work with.
• Fill the can with water and place it in the freezer until the water has frozen. Then draw your design on the can with an erasable felt pen. Abstract designs like crosses and zigzags work well as borders, with stars and hearts or even birds or flowers as features around the central body of the can.
• Lay the can on to a non-slip surface, such as a towel, and wedge it in position by rolling the towel towards the can on either side. Alternatively, place in a vice, but be careful not to squeeze it out of shape. Using a large nail or bradawl, hammer holes into the can following your design. Place the finished frozen can into the sink to thaw.
• To make a hanging lantern, punch an additional hole on either side near the rim and add a wire handle, twisting to secure in place.
< • Place a tea candle in the base of the tin. For added safety, particularly if the lantern is going to sit on a wooden or heat sensitive surface, sit the tea candle on a small tile or flat fragment of slate or ceramic. Keep an eye on your lantern when lit, and never leave it unattended.

Reprinted with permission from Homemade: 101 Beautiful and Useful Craft Projects You Can Make at Home by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson and published by Skyhorse Publishing, 2010.