Winter Luminarias

Ordinary tin cans come alive with a unique piercing technique and candlelight.

What You Need:

Light your way with these lanterns.
  • Any size tin can
  • Water
  • Hammer
  • Large nail
  • Medium-gauge wire
  • Large screw eye
  • Vise
  • Drill
  • 2x2-inch scrap of wood
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Sand
  • Votive candles
  • Red ribbon
  • Greenery


Step 1: Punch frozen can.

1. Freeze water in can. Fill the tin can with water and freeze. When water is frozen, use hammer and nail to make holes around rim, about 1/2 inch from top of can.

Step 2: Clamp wire in vise.

2. Cut wire. Cut the wire into one 36-inch length and two 4-inch lengths. For the handle, fold the 36-inch length in half. Thread the wire through the screw eye. Clamp at least 2 inches of the wire (the cut ends) in a vise.

Step 3: Insert screw in drill.

3. Twist handle. Insert the screw eye into the drill chuck and tighten. Begin twisting the wire handle by running the drill. After a few twists are in the wire, slip the wood scrap between the end of the loop and the twists. Continue twisting the wire by running the drill until the length is evenly twisted. Remove the wire from the vise and remove the wood scrap. Cut the loop, then use pliers to curl the wire ends at one end into spirals. Note: Do not curl the opposite ends yet.

4. Thread handle onto can. From the outside of the tin can, slip the uncurled wire ends through one hole, then through a hole on the opposite side. Curl the remaining wire ends into spirals.

5. Pull the handle up through the top of the can. (Note: Be careful of sharp edges on the can and wire.) On each 4-inch length of wire, make a bend about 1/2 inch in from the end (to create a hook for third curled wire) to slip into each handle hole. Curl the opposite ends. Slip hook end of each curled wire into a handle hole.

6. Decorate and finish. Fill the can with sand and add candles. Using ribbon, tie a bow around can. Tuck a small piece of greenery between can and the bow.


  • You can also drill the holes in the can -- except do not use the frozen water method and always wear eye protection when using electric tools.
  • Use water and floating candles instead of sand and votives for unique indoor luminarias.


Be the first to comment!

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.