Candles are a popular decoration to use during weddings, whether it’s the ceremony itself or at the reception.

However, they are a fire hazard and it’s important to keep candles in some kind of lantern to protect your guests from accidentally burning themselves or from a fire from breaking out at your wedding. 

One popular decoration used in rustic weddings are tin can lanterns. Not only are they stunningly beautiful, but they’re also super easy and affordable to make all by yourself! 

So, if you want to make your own DIY tin can lanterns for your wedding, this is the guide you need to take you every step of the way.

Check it out below! 

Step One: Collect Your Tin Cans

If you want to make tin can lanterns then you first need to make sure that you have plenty of tin cans! 

Tin cans come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, ranging from food sized cans to cans of paint.

So, your first step is to work out what size cans you need, how many you will need, and where you can source your cans. It’s also recommended that you make a few extras as spares just in case. 

You can upcycle tin cans so just ask around for any spares that are lying around. Every time you eat something out of a tin can at home, save it!

Alternatively, if you are on a short schedule, you can probably visit your local recycling center for tin cans or purchase some at a DIY store, craft store, or online. 

Once you have your cans, it’s time to move onto the next step. 

Step Two: Wash Your Tin Cans

You now need to empty your tin cans, remove the top, strip your cans of any labels or stickers, then wash them until they are completely clean. 

This step is super important because you will want your tin can lanterns to be nice and clean for your wedding.

Any leftover bits of food will attract flies and give off a foul odor which can ruin the atmosphere of your wedding.

Not only that, but if you are using paint cans, paint can catch fire. So, make sure you wash and sanitize your tin cans. 

It’s also a good idea to leave them air somewhere dry once they are completely clean. 

Step Three: Draw Your Design

Step Three Draw Your Design

Now that your tin cans are nice and clean, it’s time to start designing! For this part, you will need a sharpie.

First, use your sharpie to draw out a design on your tin can. This will be in lots of small circles that your drill will be used to later drill out. So, you can organize your multiple holes to make a cute design. 

Some couples drill the initials of the couples, others drill hearts or stars, and others just evenly space out the holes.

Whatever design you choose, make sure you draw it out first with a sharpie so you will avoid making mistakes when it comes to the drilling part. 

Step Four: Drill Your Design 

Next, grab your power drill and start drilling! 

It’s important to remember to do this step safely so make sure that you are wearing the appropriate protective gear needed for this step.

Bits of metal can fly off your tin cans so wear goggles and gloves to avoid splinters. You may also want to wear ear protection. 

Very carefully drill in the holes you have drawn onto your tin cans. 

Step Five (Optional): Paint Your Tin Can Lanterns 

This final step is optional as some couples prefer to leave their tin can lanterns unpainted for a more rustic look.

However, you can grab some spray paint or acrylic paint from a DIY or craft store, and paint your tin cans any color you desire.

Paint them to match your wedding’s color scheme, mix and match, or even get your kids, nieces, nephews, or cousins to personalize your tin can lanterns with their own designs.

Once done, let them dry and your tin can lanterns will be ready to go! 


And that’s it! Making your own tin can lanterns is super easy plus you get to recycle, help keep your wedding safe, and make yourself some affordable decorations for your wedding.

If you want to give it a try then just follow the guide above! Good luck!