Are you looking for a fun Summer Craft that is great to do with the kids but also useful? This easy tin can lantern is ideal! We first made these punched tin can lanterns when our youngest was in preschool and they are so simple to make, you must read our top tip for making it easier. It’s not just a kid’s craft though, why not have a go yourself and create some beautiful lanterns to light the summer evenings as you fill them with citronella candles to keep the bugs away.

tin can lantern at night with candle inside text underneath reads summer craft for kids tin can lanterns

Recycled Can Lanterns

We loved making these and have created a collection to go around the patio in the garden.

I’ve left ours plain as I really like the effect however you can paint them with an outdoor heat resistant paint if you wish.

child punching holes in a tin can to create a lantern with a hammer and a screw

When it comes to decorations you can get as creative as you want. Our youngest was only just 4 when she made these with me for the first time and together we just placed random marks. However, you can create designs and decorations as you want.

tin can lantern with holes lit up from the inside created by a child

Looking for more Summer Craft Ideas for Kids – try some of our Summer Themed Paper Plates Crafts that you can make together

a diy tin can lantern with a butterfly pattern on, there is a candle inside it shining the light through the holes it is set on a table and in the dark on a summer's evening
5 from 2 votes

Easy Tin Can Lanterns for the Garden

A quick and easy summer craft to create some tin can lanterns with the kids for the garden.
Prep Time5 mins
Active Time15 mins
Freezing1 d
Keyword: Easy Crafts for Kids, summer crafts
Author: Cerys Parker


  • Hammer
  • Screw or sharp nail


  • tin can
  • water


  • Remove all labels and glue from the tin can and clean thoroughly.
  • Fill with water and freeze overnight.
    Celebrate Summer with Simple Tin Can Lanterns that Kids Can Make
  • Take out and with a hammer and screw (I found a screw had the sharpest point) place holes over your lantern. The ice will stop the tin can buckling as you create the design.
    Celebrate Summer with Simple Tin Can Lanterns that Kids Can Make
  • Once you have finished your design place the tin can in warm water for the ice to melt.
    Celebrate Summer with Simple Tin Can Lanterns that Kids Can Make
  • Dry and place a tea light inside.
    Celebrate Summer with Simple Tin Can Lanterns that Kids Can Make

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Pinterest friendly image for summer craft for kids to make a tin can lantern top frame show a child hammering a screw to create the holes and bottom image the lit tin can lantern
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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