Craft for Kids: Tin Can Lanterns

Tin can lanterns are a classic summer craft and were one of the activities on our “Old School” Summer Bucket List that our kids had never seen before.  I haven’t made one since I was at summer camp so I thought it was the perfect activity to share as part of Babble/Disney’s Virtual Summer Camp!Tin Can Lanterns--A fun and classic kids craft for the summer!

How to Make Tin Can Lanterns

Tin can lanterns aren’t hard to make, but they definitely do require adult supervision and assistance.  We didn’t need a lot of supplies and I love that we are able to upcycle cans that would have otherwise gone into the recycling bin.

1.  Tin cans (that have been cleaned and don’t have any sharp edges)

2.  Permanent marker

3.  Hammer and nail

4.  Protective eye gear

5.  Tea light or votive candles

Crafts for Kids: Tin Can Lanterns!Once we had all of our supplies ready the kids designed their lanterns by making dots with the marker on the outside of the cans.  We talked about how the light would shine through wherever the dots were.

Kids Craft: Making Tin Can Lanterns!Once the kids were happy with their designs, my husband used a hammer and nail to poke holes through the can. Older kids could help with this step if they are properly supervised. 

How to Make Tin Can Lanterns. A fun and simple kids craft for summer!Then once it got dark we put candles inside and admired our new tin can lanterns!

Have you been having fun creating and playing this summer? 

You can link up all of your summer projects here.

Virtual Summer Camp

And make sure to check out the projects from the other camp counselors too!

DIY Recycled Playhouse Tent from Inspired by Family

{DIY Tutorial} Crate Lemonade Stand for Kids from See Vanessa Craft

DIY Homemade Sparkling Beads from Mama Miss

Snow Cone Sensory Play from Tutus and Tea Parties


  1. Nikki says

    I have seen things similar to these before… one GREAT tip! To make sure that the cans keep their shape when you are poking the holes fill with water and freeze overnight the ice inside will stop the cans from bending when you hammer the nail in :) Then just run under warm water to melt and your tin lantern is ready!


  1. […] Tin can lanterns are a really simple craft to work on together with your kiddos. You don’t need many supplies and your child can get creative by choosing where the holes will be punched in their can. If you want to see more about this fun way to light up your summer nights, click here! […]

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