Making a tin can luminary is a fun craft that adults will enjoy. Kids can get involved too, but mom and dad will have just as much fun making Jack-O-Lantern luminaries, and they will love the grown up glow the craft adds to the Halloween decor. This craft is also a great way to recycle your cans.
Before you start this craft, click here to see what tin can Jack-O-Lantern luminaries look like. Notice that you can use all size cans and you can stack the luminaries to make an awesome Halloween display.
To start this craft, you need to prepare your cans by removing the label and smoothing out any sharp edges from the rim. You can smooth the edges with coarse grain sand paper. If there is an exposed sharp rim, you can fold it into the can using pliers, then sand it down. You can also opt to cover the entire rim of the can with electrical tape or masking tape. However, if you choose to tape the rim, you should tape it just before the painting step below (if you tape it before the freezing step, the tape may fall off). If there is glue left over from the label, do not worry about it. You can smooth the glue down with sandpaper if you like, but any glue left behind will be covered by paint.
Fill the cans with water and freeze them. You need to have a solid block of ice in the can so the can will not dent when you punch holes in it. When the cans are frozen, bring the can to your work space. To keep the can from rolling while you punch it, place the can on a bag of rice or a bag of pop corn kernels. If you don’t have either, you can also make a cradle for your can using a bunched up hand towel.
To punch the holes that will allow the candle to shine through, you will need an awl and a hammer. Plan on punching the holes about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart. You can opt to punch hole in your cans free style, or you can draw the dots of the face using a permanent marker. You can also print a design on paper then attach the paper to the can as an outline. Then just follow the dots and punch through the paper and the can at the same time.
After the holes are all punched, let the ice melt in the sink. The pour out the water and dry the cans. Be careful because the inside of the can will be rough where you punched the holes. At this point, you can cover the rim of the can with tape if you want. Just remember, this can is going to hold a lit candle, so only add tape if the can is deep enough and large enough so there is no chance of the tape getting close to the flame.
Now you can paint the outside of the cans. The best way is to use a can of oil based enamel spray paint. Just take the cans outside and spray them on newspaper to protect the ground. If you can’t spray paint outside, you can make a paint booth by placing a cardboard box on it’s side then spraying the can in the box.
You can also use craft paints to paint the outside of the can. The only problem is that the paint may eventually crack and peel. But hand painted cans are the fun way to go if you are doing this project with the kids. If you are worried that they might stick their little hands in the can and hurting themselves on the punched holes, you can stuff the can with plastic grocery bags to keep their hands out of the can.
When the cans are painted and dry, you can add a votive candle to each can. It’s a good idea to place the candle in a votive candle holder so you do not get wax all over the bottom of the can. If you don’t have votive candle holders, you can always cut a piece of wax paper to line the bottom of the can.
These tin can Jack-O-Lanterns make wonderful gifts to give to friends and relatives. If you are concerned about giving someone a gift that will require lighting a fire, you can quickly and easily turn this luminary into a potpourri holder instead. Just fill the can with potpourri and put a lid on the can. If you don’t have a lid that fits, make a lid by cutting a piece of cardboard to size and gluing it or taping it to the top of the can. You can use a cereal box for lids.
For more easy Halloween crafts, see these articles:
Halloween Crafts: Mummy Treat Cups
Easy Scary Halloween Crafts for Kids
Crafts for Kids: Halloween Glue Ghosts
Source for the tin can Jack-O-Lantern luminaries: www.marthastewart.com