How to Make Chinese Lanterns from Soda Cans

Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions. blank630x20

Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions and unlike paper lanterns they last a long time. You can also hang them as is without lighting for a daytime event. We used LED tea lights with timers for these. Just like the ones used for our Upcycled Ceiling Fan.

blank630x20Chinese Lantern Supplies

NOTE ABOUT SHARP EDGES: Most soda cans are now made with very thin, soft aluminum. It would be difficult to get cut on them.

Note on these specific tea lights: I’ve not had mine long enough to determine the usage on these specific lights  but from what I read it will be about two to three months if they are kept on the timer 24/7.  The way the timer works is you turn them on at the time you want them to stay lit for 6 hours. They will then auto shut off for 18 hours and come on again the next day.

blank630x20Video How To

blank630x20Visual Instructions

You can measure around the can and make tiny marks where you will cut. You can also just eyeball it and cut, which is what I did.  Make sure to keep the tab on!

Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Fill the can with water  to about 1/2″ from the top and freeze. If you fill it too full it can split the can.Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Frozen water in can.Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Make cuts with a knife about 1/2″ apart and about 1″ or so from the top and bottom.Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Set the can in the sink to let the ice melt.Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Once the ice is melted paint the can. Handle the tab very carefully as you want it to stay firmly affixed to the can for hanging.Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Carefully push down, making sure the cuts go outward. Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Add battery operate tea lights if desired. Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Carefully place them in the lantern.Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

blank630x20Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions.blank630x20

30 Comments

  1. Joan

    This is a perfect, inexpensive way to create or embellish a table centerpiece. Since I need to do a lot for a social event, it’s a great solution to not only save money but also to make an attractive item that can be reused for other occasions.

    Reply
  2. Joanna WG

    Hi Nancy,
    Love this idea, it’s so smart. Would you please share with me the colors of spray paint you used? The deep violet purple one is my favorite color. I must have it! (lol)
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  3. What a fantastic idea Nancy! They are so pretty with the paint and light and would certainly be so much more durable than paper lanterns! Thanks so much for linking this up to our Inspiration Galore Project Party. I will be sure to pin this for later. Hugs, Lisa

    Reply
    1. Nancy Author

      Hi Linda!

      Actually not so much with these super thin and soft cans. This is what I put right at the top: “NOTE ABOUT SHARP EDGES: Most soda cans are now made with very thin, soft aluminum. It would be difficult to get cut on them.” Ü

      Reply
    1. Nancy Author

      It would depend on how the parent felt about their child using a knife and if they felt they could do it safely. We have an 11 year old and I’d be nervous letting her do it. Kids and knives can be tricky. Ü A 13 year old could possibly do it ok. Again it would depend on if the parent felt the child was mature and steady handed enough to use a sharp knife.

      Reply
  4. Carmen

    I think you’re brilliant on using ice to make the cut! I’ve been trying to make this but couldn’t get clean straight cuts! Thanks for sharing this tip!

    Reply
    1. Nancy Author

      Hi Carmen! I always say I’m really that smart… just lazy. I’ll find the easiest way to do anything! lol Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply

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