Recycle soup and other tin cans into attractive candleholders.

Tin Can Candleholder Craft

by L. Christine Shepard

The lowly tin can becomes an attractive candleholder via an uncomplicated craft technique suitable for adults and children over the age of 6. Once the candleholders are completed, they will serve as indoor or outdoor votives, and can be hung from nails on a fence post or the branches of a tree. A rustic-themed wedding will benefit from the addition of these tin can candleholders, paired with burlap table runners and field flowers in mason jars.

Remove the label of the tin can. Use a smooth edge can opener to open and remove the top of the can. Wash the can in detergent and water and dry it. Draw a design on the outside of the tin can, such as a heart, star, circles, scallops or letters, with a permanent marker.

Fill the can almost full with water. Place the water-filled can in a freezer for 24 hours. Remove the can from the freezer and place it on a folded thick towel on a flat work surface.

Hammer holes along the design lines, using a penny nail and hammer, striking through the outside of the can into the ice following the design. Hammer two holes at opposite sides of the can 1 inch from the top edge for a handle. Let the ice melt and pour it out of the can. Dry the can with paper towels.

Spray the can with rustproof spray paint and let it dry for three hours. Cut a 14-inch length of 18-gauge wire with wire cutters. Twist the ends of the wire into the holes at the top of the can. The wire handle will serve as a hanger over nails or on tree brances. Place a battery-operated votive candle inside the tin can.

Items you will need

  • Tin soup can
  • Smooth edge can opener
  • Detergent
  • Permanent marker
  • Freezer
  • Thick towel
  • Hammer
  • Penny nail
  • Paper towels
  • Rustproof spray paint
  • 18-gauge wire
  • Wire snips
  • Ruler
  • Battery-operated votive candles


  • Use a small electric drill with a metal attachment to make more elaborate designs on the tin can candleholder.


  • Do not use wax candles when hanging the holders on trees.

About the Author

L. Christine Shepard has been a print journalist since 1994, covering news, home improvement, gardening and food for the "Oakland Press," "Rochester Post," "Troy Times" and "Michigan Meetings and Events" magazine. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Oakland University and received the Michigan Press Association award for journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images