How to Use Soda Can Lanterns to Brighten Up Your Yard

It might sound a bit bizarre, but soda can lanterns look pretty sweet! It’s a great ornament if you want to jazz up your backyard for a party, wedding reception, or make a relaxing atmosphere so you can enjoy the summer nights. These lantern decorations are easy to create! It will make your lighting look unique and will have your yard looking like something out of a movie! Let’s take a look at how to create soda can lanterns.


What You’ll Need

  • Soda Cans
  • Marker
  • X-ACTO Knife
  • Mini Candle
  • Paint and/or Spray Paint
  • Ruler
  • Hot Glue Gun



Design It!

The first thing to do is to measure out your design on the can. Be sure to leave a half-inch free from the top and bottom. Then draw the lines that will become the columns of the lantern. Make each column about 3/4 of an inch apart. That should give you a nice balance of ten columns that are not too thick nor too thin!



Cut and Squish

It’s time to form your lantern! But be careful. You’re working with a blade. Carefully follow the lines of the columns with your X-ACTO Knife and cut them out. Go slowly. Make them as straight as possible, and make sure you don’t go past your top and bottom guidelines. If you’re having some trouble keeping the lines straight, use your ruler as a guide.



You can then squish the soda can down. The shape you would like your lantern to be will determine how much force you should push down with. If you want your lantern to be an oblong/oval shape, then you can push it slightly. If you’re going for a more rounded shape, then you’ll push the two ends closer together. You may have to use your fingers to help give the columns their shape. Be careful though! The edges are sharp!



Tip: Try not to push so hard so that the two ends touch. Squish a little, see how it looks, and keep going until you’re happy with what you have.


Give it Some Pop!

Let’s doll it up a bit! Use whatever colors you want! You can choose colors to complement your backyard décor or fit the theme of a party. Give it a coat of paint, and if you want to get fancy, you can put decorations on it, like sequins or beads.



Light it Up

Now it’s time to add the source of the light. There are a couple of different ways you can do this, and it depends on if you have a traditional candle or a LED candle. If you have a regular mini candle, you can simply cut off one of your ten columns to create a wider opening. You can then add glue to the bottom of the candle and place it through the opening to stick on the bottom of the can. They are cheap to purchase, and if you get ones with fragrance, they will have your yard smelling lovely! Though they don’t last as long, and you’ll have to keep replacing them.



The second way of doing it’s with a mini LED candle. On the top of the can (the part you drink from with the tab) cut a hole with your blade the size of the candle. Then secure the candle within the hole, with the switch pointing out. The LED lights will last longer than the traditional candles.


Hang ‘em High

You can lay them out on your table or thread some fishing wire or string through the tab of the soda can and hang them up all over the yard.



Then turn them on and let them shine! Who knew that soda cans could be so beautiful? We just turned something you would throw away into something beautiful. Soda can lanterns can completely transform the ambiance of your backyard.


Images used with permission, courtesy of Jessica Dotson

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