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Tin & Paper Bag Tea Light Lanterns

Make your own tea light lantern using our brown paper bags, jam jars and recycled food tins.

You will need:

For tin lanterns:

  • Recycled food tins, any sizes
  • Hammer
  • Nails, ideally different sizes
  • Ribbon or raffia (optional)

For bag lanterns:

  • Brown paper bags
  • Jam jars
  • Scissors

Tin & Paper Bag Tea Light Lanterns

Tin Lanterns

  • Collect various food tins in varying sizes and heights
  • Wash well and leave to dry.
  • Next fill with water and leave in the freezer overnight. The reason for this is to make a hard inner so that when you start to ‘punch’ shapes with your nails and hammer into the tin, it won’t lose it shape.
  • You can use all sorts of size nails to make patterns with – choose your pattern, draw onto tin with pencil, chalk or anything else that can be washed off .
  • Punch out your pattern by knocking a nail into the tin to create lots of small holes.
  • When complete and happy with your design, leave to defrost in the sink and dry once ice has melted.

Be careful to leave on the side to dry naturally as rust can occur very quickly. Decorate tins with raffia or ribbon if you wish but they work great just with their ‘punched’ image.

Bag Lanterns

You can very easily create some fabulous tea light lanterns with our brown paper bags without handles and this project is also great for small people who may struggle a little with a hammer and nails needed for the tins.

  • Select an image from the templates or design your own images – see picture for ideas and draw onto the middle of a brown paper bag.
  • You will need to leave the bottom 4-5cm bare and also the top 12cm.
    The reason for this is that once you have cut the images, this weakens the bag and it needs the base and top uncut to hold its shape.
  • Now cut of the image / pattern with scissors being careful not too crumble the bag too much.
    If you have a very big pattern image it may help to add some strips of cardboard in the corners for support but shouldn’t be necessary in most cases.
  • Next, find a jam jar or glass big enough to hold a tea light and place inside the bag. This not only stops the bag (which is NOT fireproof) burning, it also weighs down the bag so it doesn’t fly away on windy days. Use both in and outdoors.

Download Tin & Paper Bag Tea Light Lanterns craft idea in pdf format (58kb)