Friday, August 28, 2009

Tin Luminaries

These simple tin can luminaries look great hanging in the trees or placed upon your porch or along your sidewalk . By painting these orange and black and using halloween silhouettes you can create an entire group of them for very little cost This is a fun project and can be done with the entire family.
I will also be sharing with you how to rust the can or paint a rust faux finish on them.

Materials for Tin Can Luminaries:

Several heavy tin cans of various sizes
Awl and nails of various sizes – this will give you different sizes of holes in your tin cans
Heavy wire like mechanical wire if you wish to hang them
Flathead screwdriver
Needle nose pliers
Permanent marker
Design you wish ….I used stars of various sizes cut out of paper and then taped them on the can.
Old Towel

1.Soak and scrub the labels off the tin cans. Soak the cans in a solution of diluted bleach this will remove any odor. Check the interior lip of the can for rough edges left by the can opener and use the flathead screwdriver to press down any you find
2. Draw the design you wish on to the can with a permanent marker remembering you want a very simple design .I placed different sized stars randomly all over the tin can. Shapes can be found on the internet by googling the shape you wish.
3. Fill the tin cans with water leaving about 1 inch at the top. Place them in the freezer and freeze completely. By freezing water in the can it will help the can to keep its shape when pounding the awl or nail into it.
4. When the water is completely frozen place the can on an old towel to keep it from slipping and for padding. Now with the awl and hammer begin to pierce through your design. By using the awl and different sizes of nails you will get different sized holes.
5. If you wish to hang your luminary make a couple of holes at the top. These holes will be for stringing the mechanical wire through if you wish to hang

To Rust Your Luminaries

Fine grade sandpaper
Household bleach
Cider vinegar
Plastic mixing container- a gallon milk jug works great just cut the top of
Pair of tongs

1. Sand the tin can with a fine grit sandpaper to remove the shininess.
1.Mix two parts bleach to one part vinegar in the plastic container. Mix enough to completely cover the can
2.Drop the tin can carefully into the solution and wait at least 30 minutes
3. Using the tongs carefully remove the can from the solution the item will not look rusty and let dry the rust will appear as it is drying.
4. Seal with a matte spray finish

To Paint a Rust Faux Finish

Sand paper
Spray paint- black
Acrylic paint- terra cotta, red iron oxide, burnt umber, raw sienna
Sea Sponge
Krylon matte varnish spray


1.Make sure your cans are completely clean and dry.
2.Rough the surface up a bit with sandpaper and spray with flat black paint or a rust colored spray paint.
3.Make puddles of terra cotta, red iron oxide, burnt umber, pewter gray and raw sienna acrylic paint on a paper plate.
4.With a sponge dab into a color then onto a paper towel and then onto the can. Just keep dabbing with a light touch mixing the different colors together on the can till you get the desired look of rust.
5.Now sprinkle some cinnamon onto a paper plate and dab a clean sponge into. Dab this on to the can while the paint is still wet. This will give it that textured rust look.
6.You may have to clean out your holes a bit with a toothpick from the paint and cinnamon
7.Let the can completely dry then spray with Krylon matte finish varnish.

Now add about an inch of sand into the can and place your votive candle down into it. You can substitute a piece of clay about an inch thick and secure the votive candle. This year Ive bought those battery operated little lights eliminating the hazard of candles completely.


MommaB said...

thanks for the wonderful project

Julie said...

so cute I linked you to my blog