In honor of Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you), here is a simple Star Wars craft project. These Star Wars tin can lanterns are simple for bigger kids to make, and would be perfect for decorating at a Star Wars party.
To light them up, use tea lights. Or to make them safer for kids, use battery powered tea lights (Amazon affiliate link).
We found that real tea lights with a flame provide a better amount of light, but the cans do get hot, so use your judgment on what’s best for your house.
How to make the lanterns:
Step 1: Save and wash various sizes of tin cans.
Step 2: In order to keep the cans from getting dented in when you make the design, it works well to fill them with wet sand and freeze for several hours. We did not freeze our first cans long enough, and some of the sand spilled out. Once they are totally frozen, the sand will stay put.
Step 3: Plan your design. Aidan (age 10.5) and Dad worked on these together, and Dad ended up doing all the drawing. We can’t offer our designs because of copyright issues, but we’ll show you what we did!
Dad drew each design on paper, and then attached it to the can with rubber bands. We also tried tape, but it doesn’t stick well once the cold cans start accumulating condensation because of the frozen sand.
Step 4: Use a hammer and nails to punch holes following the design. You might want to have more than one size of nail for details.
Step 5: Spray the cans with spray paint and let dry. We used black chalkboard finish spray paint.
The guys made Yoda:
And the death star:
And R2D2 (my favorite) and the Millenium Falcon (which I did not get a picture of):
Now we just need to plan a summer Star Wars themed cook-out and use our lanterns to decorate!
Christina May 12, 2014
You always make such neat things! My boys will love this!
Vicky Oct 31, 2016
Hi, my mom and sister made these but out of oatmeal containers to make them a bit bigger and some LED lights they found at the dollar store. They used them as centerpieces for my Star Wars themed baby shower early this year, and were a big hit with everyone and looked amazing at night since the party went on longer than expected. When family gets together we don't put an end time ;) ! Thank you for your post. It provided lots of inspiration!
Darlene Burgess May 3, 2018
I'm very late to this party, but I have two other suggestions to make this easier for those whom are not much of an artist, and for working with the cans.
In Cub Scouts, we had the boys take their cans home, fill them with water and put in freezer. It was a lot easier to obtain water than sand, and you know for sure when it's frozen.
Second, find any image you want to copy, get it on your computer or tablet screen and do a copy, paste and print. Cut the paper down to a manageable size, but leave plenty of margin so you can tape them to the can. OR if you don't have the ability to print out, just tape a piece of paper down on your screen and draw around it. You'll have to make sure the size will fit on your can. But smaller pictures are usually more abundant than big ones are. Try pinterest as they have a lot of graphics.
Cyrie Mar 29, 2021
This was super helpful! I'm a librarian that wants to do this for a take and make craft for teens, and was wondering how to get around using sand. Thanks!
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Chelsea Mar 19, 2019
Just fantastic! I just love the Yoda tin can lantern. I have been a Star Wars fan since forever, I love this brilliant idea to bring out my love for the franchise a bit more as well. The process is indeed simple, and I adore that soft golden glow coming out of each tin can!
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