Easy Summer DIY: Upcycled Tin Can Lanterns

Turn your trash into glittery treasure.

The season of late-night porch sitting and outdoor parties is finally here, and it's time to give those decks, patios and porches a summer refresh. But instead of dropping hundreds on new outdoor lighting, brighten up warm summer nights with sparkling luminaries you can make for a fraction of the cost. Watch the video below to learn how:

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DIY Tin Can Lanterns 01:28

Make beautiful lanterns with a tin can and a few basic tools.

If you love to upcycle, or are just looking for a fun and easy summer project you can knock out in under an hour, add this one to your list. The final product is so gorgeous, your guests won't believe you made it yourself. I mean, seriously, how pretty are these?

Photo by: Rae Sturm

Rae Sturm

A few old tin cans, a hammer and nail, and a little imagination are all you need to create romantic outdoor lighting you can enjoy all summer long. Group them on a side table, along a deck railing or add handles for hanging.

Photo by: Rae Sturm

Rae Sturm

Get the Full Tutorial: How to Make Tin Can Luminaries

More Almost-Free DIYs to Try

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Painting a bright "rug" on the floor and adding bright orange stools and curtains lends a party atmosphere to this deck.

This chair cost $1 at a yard sale, and RMSer ltmulligan gave it a $2 paint job. Now it offers a pretty contrast to the yellow yarrow.

When a neighbor tore out a deck and left the pieces on the curb, RMSer Chicago Recycler had the materials for her porch redo. She built this table out of the 2x12s (top) and 4x4s (legs), using scrap 2x4s for the supporting structure, and she gave it an antique mahogany stain. She also built the benches at each end, using a nailhead finish to secure the cushion fabric. To dress up the blank wall, she built a faux fireplace out of the scrap wood.

This homeowner's path to the backyard wound past a blank side wall of the house. To camouflage its awkwardness, he hung a simple trellis and a birdfeeder, and thereby created an instant garden nook.

Galvanized cans take on a whole new life, thanks to Brian Patrick Flynn, who drilled holes in them, added casters and turned them into sleek rolling container gardens.


An old dresser becomes a unique planter for a cottage chic garden. To extend its life in the garden, sand it lightly, then apply a coat of clear finish.

Photo By: wwing; iStock

RMSer helawrence13 paid $1 for the concrete planter at a yard sale, then with her granddaughters, collected rocks from around the yard. With the help of her husband, she created this pretty stone pedestal.

Artistry had a hand in updating this Adirondack rocker with a custom paint job. Posted by RMSer turtle heaven

Clematis has the support it needs with this old wooden ladder. Posted by Dotsgarden

Throwaway plastic and wood, combined with some ingenuity, were the ingredients for this cute little planter. Posted by RMSer LASG2120

Transform tiny terra-cotta pots into cheery music for your garden. These chimes are constructed entirely by knotting and gluing — no drilling required.

Every building material — brick, timber, slab — in this one-of-a-kind outdoor room is recycled. "I built this courtyard a few years past to remind me of my travels," says RMSer andyrtcm. Next slide: another view of the space.

In the same courtyard, RMSer andyrtcm built this amazing island-style "pergola" out of recycled materials.

Simple picture frames are the heart of this beautiful home address, and clematis adds the finishing flourish. Posted by RMSer nwphillygardener

This fabulous potting bench was built from old doors and trim that came from a garage sale for $1 apiece. The shelves were made out of old barn wood. "Recycle, recycle, recycle," RMSer debbieO_indy says.

A fabulous find at a thrift store: shams, a bolster and fabric for a total of $5.40. It was all RMSer scribbles2 needed to turn an older glider, purchased at a yard sale, into a cozy garden bench.

The beautiful patina of barn wood gives this rustic potting shed that always-been-there look. The wood and roofing material came from a century-old barn on the family farm, and the windows were collected from curbside. Posted by RMSer prairiegardener

Have some leftover doors? You could make a cute little garden shed like this one by RMSer ksfohio.

RMSer santamaker rescued these two chairs from the landfill and "dressed them in new 'frocks'" for her French country porch.

Style your container gardens by grouping planters with found objects. Here, RMSer coastalgardener created an "arrangement" by adding driftwood and a shell.

Give any dresser new life as a mobile indoor/outdoor serving buffet.

Revitalize a tired concrete patio with color stain. (The concrete needs to be unpainted and unstained.)

From: Erinn Valencich

A paint job worked beautifully on this porch flooring. Posted by RMSer wrightx4. Next slide: a painted rug.

This painted rug is a festive, weatherproof update for this porch. Posted by RMSer Valeriemissouri

Nancy Ondra turned these finds into container butterfly gardens for the porch.

©Photo by Nancy Ondra

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