Life in Australia is very much outdoors due to the beautiful warm and sunny climate. Alfresco dining and entertaining is a way of life and everyone loves a good old barbecue in the back yard on a Sunday afternoon. When the afternoon light begins to fade and evening sets in, you and your guests need light. Instead of paying a fortune for outdoor lighting why not make your own romantic lanterns out of tin cans, otherwise knows as canterns?
Photograph: GAP Photos/Getty Images
I’ve seen a few examples of these and they are all made pretty much the same way and I think they look fantastic. What’s good is that you don’t need special equipment – just old tin cans (washed out of course), a nail and a hammer (or a drill if you have one), tea light candles or the new ones you can buy now which have batteries, some stringing material.
How to make Canterns
Here are the steps for a cantern
1. Collect some empty tin cans.
2. Clean out the cans. For ones that held oil, wipe out the grease before you wash them. Remove the labels.
3. Fill the can with sand, all the way up to the top, then add water and place the can upright in a freezer overnight.
TIP: Water expands significantly when frozen and will cause the can to swell if used without the sand. Filling the cans with sand first, then water, greatly reduces the amount of water in the can, minimizing the expansion.
4. Remove the can from the freezer the next day. The frozen water will help the can keep its shape. Without it, the can will dent easily.
5.Design a template onto tracing paper, vellum or greaseproof paper by tracing a simple shape or pattern. You could choose a theme for this to match your occasion but the design will need to be fairly simple.
6. Attach the drawn template round the tin can with tape
7. Use a hammer and nail (or drill) to puncture through the outline of your shape with small gaps between each hole.
8. Leave the ice to melt in the can (if in a hurry, use hot water to melt it). Tip out the water and dry the can.
9. Add a lantern candle. (votive candle inside a glass, tealight candle or the plastic candles which have batteries.
TIP: If you are going to use a tealight candle, put half an inch of sand inside the bottom of the can in order to easily remove the melted wax.
and if you want a few more options you could try the following:
- spray paint the cans to enhance the aluminium using an outdoor or car enamel paint in the colour scheme of your choice. Spray the insides of cans white to make the light brighter when the candle is lit.
- hammer or drill holes on the sides at the top of the cans and attach handles made from wire, string, or heavy duty fishing line (for invisible hanging). You could even be really creative with the hanging cord and thread through beads, shells, artificial flowers etc as long as they are weather proof!