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1. Use a can opener to open up your can. A can opener with a cutting wheel works best. 

2. Draw out your design on a Post-it note. Place your note on the can.

3. Start poking holes with a thumbtack about every ¼ inch around your design. It helps to support the area near the thumbtack holes by pushing with a thimble on your finger from the inside of the can. 

4. If you wish to spray paint your can, do it now spraying consistently and evenly in a well ventilated area.  

5. Place the LED tealight inside your can, and watch your ‘can’dle illuminate!

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How to: 'Can'dle luminaries

Here’s an upcycling trick to try this Halloween, or for any holiday really – transform empty aluminum cans into luminaries. Dive into your recycling bin and retrieve some empties. Then use a simple thumbtack to punch through the thin aluminum to help your design take shape.


 This is a great group project. Or make a crafternoon of it and drink canned beer, which can, in turn, become your upcycling material. Any way you play it, this project can really take you far on a limited budget and will turn out to be a real treat. 


empty aluminum can

LED tealight


can opener

pen or marker

Post-it note



spray paint (optional)

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