During the summer, I love grilling and eating dinner outside on the deck. I recently read a post about making dinner time more enjoyable for the family: going the extra mile to make the table setting nicer, encouraging conversation, listening to music, etc. Let me be honest, dinnertime at our house is not always a sit-down, have-a-long-conversation type event. Many times we’re eating at different times, heating up various leftovers, trying to hurry up and eat before heading out the door to some event. Sound familiar? While I am sure we will still have those nights, I wanted to start putting more effort into the nights we are home and enjoying a meal together. So, I decided to start by sprucing up the table for our outside meals.
I was strolling through Michaels not that long ago and saw these tin can lanterns:
This is one of those times I thought to myself, “I can just make those!” (Well, at least something similar.)
Here’s What You’ll Need
- Leftover Tin Cans (from canned veggies, baked beans, whatever)
- Permanent Marker (or a stencil design)
- Hammer & Nail
- Spray Paint
- Tea Candles (or battery operated tea candles)
Start by taking the labels off your cans, and removing any of the sticky glue. This may require a little Goo Gone.
If you are going to freehand your design, do so with a permanent marker, using dots to create your pattern. The reason you want to do your pattern at this point is because once the water freezes, there will be condensation that will make it difficult to draw on the design. If using a stencil, you can wait until after your water has frozen.
Fill each can with water and place in the freezer, allowing the water to freeze completely. I put all my cans into a pan covered with a dish towel. Give the cans ample time to freeze. I tried starting before the water had completely frozen (I’m impatient like that sometimes) and I ended up with a dented, wet can. Trust me, just wait… like 24 hours.
Once frozen, remove the tins from the freezer. If using a stencil, apply to the tin. (I just printed off patterns from Google Images.) I went with random swirls and stars, but you can do whatever you want. If you are going to use these for a holiday, you can create a design to match the theme. Using your hammer and nail, pound the nail into the dots you created for your design, making sure the nail goes through the can.
Once your ice melts (which is really fast on a 90° day), pour out the water and thoroughly dry the can. Lightly sand the outside. Pick your favorite spray paint, and spray away. I love how spray paint can completely change the look of things. I have some fun, summery colors I used for this project. (Now if I could just find coral spray paint, I’d be set!)
Once the paint has dried, you can insert the candles and use the lanterns on your table, or anywhere you feel would be a good spot. *Be careful as you insert and light your candles, there are sharp spots from the nails going through the can!