Patriotic Up-cycled Tin Can Craft

Susan-Kate Kelly and Marc Kelly

tin cans craft

Looking for activities to do this Fourth of July? Show your patriotic flare with these up-cycled tin can crafts. You can use old coffee tins or soup cans and, using just a couple household items and some paint, turn them into red, white, and blue lanterns!


  • Empty coffee or soup can
  • Water
  • Marker
  • Scrap paper (enough to cover your can)
  • Tape
  • Towel
  • Hammer and nail
  • Nontoxic paint
  • LED candle


  1. Find a tin can you want to up-cycle and remove any labels by soaking it in water overnight. Wash and  rinse the inside and outside of can.
  2. Fill the can to the top with water and place in freezer.
  3. Using the marker, draw a pattern on the center of the paper, using dots. Leave space between the dots (at least one-sixteenth of an inch). Be as creative as  you can!
  4. When the water has completely frozen inside your can, you are ready to start. Tape your pattern onto the can, opposite the back seam. Place a towel under the can for support and to absorb condensation.
  5. With adult supervision, put the can on its side, place the nail on one of the dots of your pattern, and gently hammer until it goes through the paper and  can. Continue doing this until you have completed your pattern. Because of the ice inside the can, you’re able to hammer the can without bending it.
  6. Remove the paper and look at your design. Add more holes if you’d like, until  you are happy with your design. Place the can in the sink until the ice melts.
  7. Dry the can completely. Then, paint it any color you like, making sure the  holes don’t get painted over. (Poke them with a nail if they do.) 8. After the paint has completely dried, place the LED candle inside of the lantern. Enjoy the glow of your new creation!

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