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Making a Soda Can Lantern

Recycle your soda cans by making decorative lanterns to use on your patio or in the garden. This is a guide about making a soda can lantern.


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April 8, 2011 Flag

A quick outdoor decoration that costs nothing and you get to quench your thirst while making it. Make a whole string of them for your next barbecue.


Approximate Time: 30 minutes



  1. Print out the pattern page and cut both from your heavy paper such as card stock. If you are making your own strip it should be 8 x 1 1/4 inch wide with 12 evenly marked notches along the long edge.

  2. Tape the long strip into a ring overlapping, it should fit snugly around a can. Now place the ring on a flat surface notched side up, slip a can in the ring. The notches are at the correct height for you.

  3. Use your push pin and punch a hole at each notch.

  4. Turn your can over and repeat marking the notches making sure that the notches line up directly one under the one above.

  5. Now take the other pattern piece; lay the curved edge so it connects a dot on the top circle to the one below and over one.
    Do not connect with the one directly below. This is what makes the swirl effect. With a fine point marker draw along this edge for all 12 lines.

  6. With your cutter start at one hole and push your cutter in very carefully. This is a little tricky at first, but once you do one line you will get the feel of how much pressure you can use.
    I found the best method was to push in and put slight pressure down at the same time cutting just the width of the cutter at a time.
    Don't try to go to fast or you will go off the line at first.

  7. When you have all 12 slits made sit your can on a table; slightly put downward pressure on the top of the can, be careful it will be very easy to squash.

  8. While holding it down part way insert your pencil, eraser first, between two of the ribs and put a bend outward in the bottom and top of each rib at the point where the slit starts.
    Round out the ribs in a lantern shape with the pencil or your fingers, being careful the ribs are sharp.

    Related Content(article continues below)

  9. You can paint your lantern if you want to cover the can.

Slip a tea light in-between two ribs and hang your lantern by the tab.
Make a string of these lanterns and slip each one on a bulb of a string of Christmas lights.

By Ann Winberg from Loup City, NE

CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
July 1, 20130 found this helpful

Cuter than a bugs ear! I like!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
Read More Comments

April 5, 2016 Flag

This is how to recycle a soda can into a cute little lantern and use as outdoor decor.

Total Time: 5 minutes each


  • soda can
  • a little knife
  • battery tea light
  • a hook such as a paper clip


  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Get any soda can and begin to cut about an inch below top of rim.
  3. Carefully and slowly cut 9 lines of equal width.
  4. Use a pencil, spatula handle, or anything else to seperate the rows. Bend the center of each row as shown.
  5. Make one opening a bit bigger to insert the tea light. Once done, using both hands the can should easily bend and spring up and down.
  6. Pull the cap up and hang a paper clip or hook.
  7. Finally hang wherever you'd like. My spiral wind spinner already had a hole at the end and so I hung it there. Enjoy! :)
CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
In This Guide
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Making Sparkling Water
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Easter Ideas!
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