Make a Tin-Can Luminary
To make a tin can luminary, you need a washed aluminum can, nail and a hammer, paper, pencil, scissors, and tape. If you want your luminaries to have a longer burning time, use a 28 ounce tomato can or 64 ounce tin can. This allows for at least 6 to 8 hours of candle burning. To start making your luminary, choose a pattern or stencil online and print it from your computer onto on a piece of paper. You can also accomplish this task by drawing a template by hand if you're good at free drawing.
When you have chosen your pattern, tape the stencil over the can with the open side facing up. After the stencil is adhered to the can, take a nail and tap along the design leaving about a 1/8 to 1/4 inch space between. Pierce gently onto the can using the nail. It is best to use smaller nails for smaller cans and larger penny nails for bigger cans.
After your design holes are punched, remove the stencil from the can. At this point, you are ready to insert your candle by using a tea light or small votive. Before placing your candle inside, drip candle wax onto the bottom of the tin can and place the candle onto the wet wax. Once the wax dries, your candle will be set and centered in the middle of your can. A great tip for creating a luminary that throws out a lot of light is to space nail holes closer together. This will allow the most light to be emitted from the can. Try using simple patterns so your design does not get lost or skewed.
Hanging your luminary is a simple task that requires punching three holes into the can at the top. Slide three pieces of jute or heavy-duty twine through the holes and tie all three lines with an overhand knot. Hang your luminaries on another line or hook from a branch or other structure. Remember to only hang luminaries where they will not catch fire or create a safety hazard. You can also place your luminaries along a path or walkway as well. Projects made with recycled aluminum cans are wonderful ways to better our planet and reuse old tin cans.
Get creative by adding some color to your cans by spraying them with heat resistant paint or glue some colored glass pieces onto the outside of the can. This is a great activity to do with your kids that will inspire their imagination while practicing green living. Never leave a candle luminary unattended and follow safety precautions when working with aluminum cans.