How To: Soup Can Candles

Published on December 28th, 2012

This is a project I did as a little kid at a friend’s house. My mom still puts the candles out every year. I love the rustic look of these candles, and the shiny metal is perfect for the holidays. Plus, I love using items like soup cans that would otherwise end up in the trash.

Empty soup cans
Permanent marker

Peel the labels off the cans and wash them—my can opener leaves smooth edges, but some do not, so be careful of sharp edges. Fill the cans with water leaving a 1/4″ at the top. Put them in the freezer. The frozen water keeps the cans from getting dented when hammering the design.

Draw the design on a piece of paper and tape it to the can. Simple, graphic designs work best. It helps to use a permanent marker, so the design doesn’t smudge while working.

Using a hammer and nail, punch out the design.

To remove the ice, run the cans under warm water. Since water expands when it freezes, the bottom of the cans can be pushed out. Use the hammer to flatten the bottoms.

Place candles into the cans being careful not to cut yourself on the sharp edges from the nail holes. I like to use oversized tea candles because wax won’t melt everywhere, but any kind of candle will work fine.

I experimented by making one candle a lantern by turning it upside down. The candle stayed lit, but the soup can got hotter than the others, so make sure to keep it out of reach, or use a battery operated candle.

This is a fun and easy project that will light up the holidays for years to come.

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