Tin Can Luminaries

I love using things we already have around the house for our crafts. It saves a trip to the store, teaches the girls about recycling, and expands their imagination by thinking about items in a new way. We made these 4th of July luminaries from tin cans we had left over from a particularly satisfying dinner (okay, it was from a can; I can’t vouch for it being too satisfying). The girls had fun looking for 4th of July images that would work on the cans, and we traced them out together. Now we have a fun holiday mantel decoration that the girls helped make!

What You’ll Need:Tin Can Luminaires

Tin cans, washed


Sharpie marker

Painter’s tape or masking tape



1) Wash the tin cans. Hopefully you’ll be keeping these for a while.

2) Find the images you would like to use and draw them on the can with your Sharpie.


3) Use the nail and hammer to make holes along the lines of your image. This will take a bit of time, so make sure you have something to keep the kids busy!

4) Paint the cans and allow them to dry. Add a coat of Mod Podge to seal the paint. You may need to re-poke some of the holes after the paint and Mod Podge dry.

5) Add votive candles and enjoy!

Tin Can Luminaires 2

Nurture the Experience:

Take the opportunity to teach your child about recycling. Check out this site: Science Kids, and explore it with your kid. It is full of videos, fun facts, and activities designed to engage your child in learning all about recycling. After you’ve spent some time with this, allow your child to help you sort the recycling in your own house. Make sure to talk about some of the facts you learned from the site to help bring what she learned into context. If you normally have your recycling picked up at the curb, take a special trip to the recycling center to bring the concepts full circle.