Create Candle Lanterns From an Aluminum Can

Create Candle Lanterns From a Pop Can

( – Knowing how to repurpose used items, even trash, into useful tools is a valuable skill. Not only can it be a fun way to show off for friends and family, it could also potentially save your life in a SHTF scenario.

One item that has many potential new uses hiding under the skin is a common soda can. For example, you can make a fishing hook out of the tab or make arrows with the sides. With a little creativity and some know-how, you can transform an old soda can into a candle lantern to light up the night. Just check out this one:

Style #1

This style guides the light from the candle in a more focused direction. Easy to create and duplicate! Just follow these steps:

  1. Using a Sharpie or other permanent marker, draw a square or rectangle on the side of the can. The amount of light intensity you want will determine how big you make the hole; a bigger hole means less intense light. You’ll need to divide the square or rectangle in half to make the “doors” of the lantern, so draw a line vertically in the middle of the outline.
  2. With the can standing upright, make a note to spare the outside vertical lines. If you need to, make marks on these lines to remind you to leave them.
  3. Using a cutting tool of your choice (knife or scissors recommended), cut the top, bottom and center lines.
  4. Once you’ve made the cuts, you’ll have two “doors” that you’ll need to fold outward along the two uncut lines.
  5. Take a tealight or small candle and place it inside the can.
  6. You can bend the tab upward to create a hanger (optional).

Just be sure that if you elect to use the tab as a hanger, not to use anything other than wire. This is because the top can become hot and potentially cause a fire.

Style #2

This style creates 360 degrees of light, allowing you to brighten rooms as well as have a more decorative look. Though it’s a bit more complex than style #1, it’s still easy to make and duplicate. Just follow these steps:

  1. Start by drawing two reference lines around the circumference of the can, one near the top and one near the bottom.
  2. Connect the two lines on the can with vertical lines in increments until you meet the first line you drew. Spacing here is in the eye of the beholder, and you can experiment with different sizes to get the look you want.
  3. Very carefully cut the top of the can out; this will allow you to insert the tealight or small candle.
  4. Starting at one reference line (top or bottom), cut each vertical line to the opposite reference line.
  5. Compress the can after all vertical lines are cut. The slits should open up, allowing for light to pass through.

While not as easy to hang as style #1, all you need to do for this style is drill some holes at the top and feed wire through; again, only use wire to reduce the risk of a fire.

Beat the Worst With Safety First

When making lanterns out of cans, some safety concerns come to mind.

The first concern is that the can is thin and made of aluminum, which can be razor sharp. When using a knife or scissors to pierce the can, it potentially can go through faster than expected, causing serious injury. An easy way to avoid an injury is to wear cut-resistant gloves, such as ones made with Kevlar. To avoid accidentally stabbing yourself, place the can on a hard surface and take your time with each cut.

Another concern is that the can is made of aluminum, which is metal, and has a candle inside of it. Metal transfers heat and cold quickly, so you can imagine where this is going. With an active fire inside the can, the top is going to be hot, so if you grab it, you may burn yourself. Let’s be honest, nobody enjoys blisters on their hands or fingers, so wear gloves or something to protect your skin from the hot surface.

There you have it, two simple yet great ways to create a lantern using nothing more than a sharpie, can, knife (or scissors) and a tealight or small candle. Practice now and perfect your design so you have it down for when SHTF. Cans are low cost, and so are tea lights, so you won’t be breaking your bank practicing either. Who knows, maybe you’ll have a nice little stockpile for when the apocalypse comes.

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