DIY Beautiful Tin Can Pendant Lights

This tin can pendant lights tutorial is the product of my quarterly creative bloggers group challenge.

It’s time for our quarterly creative blogger challenge. In the spring we played with fabric and Mod Podge, this time we are recycling tin cans. What can you make with a tin can? The answer is, so many things. I chose to make them into lanterns attached to a pendant light kit, I also had fun painting them in a faux verdigris, and punching a pattern with a nail to let the light stream through the can. Thanks to Bonnie from Farmhouse 40 for organizing this challenge.  Don’t forget to scroll to the end to see more creative tin can projects from this talented group of bloggers.

Tin Can Pendant Lights

DIY tin can pendant lights

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Pendant light kit

I purchased this pendant light kit to work with my tin can lanterns.

Empty tin can with masking tape on center

Tip: To keep the drill bit from moving use a little bit of masking tape in the area. I used a 3/8 inch bit that is sold for use on metal.

Tin can with drilled hole and spray painted copper.

The cans are 32 oz. tomato cans. Instead of throwing them out you can freeze the tomatoes for a future pot of sauce or chili. A little copper spray paint was applied first.

Three tin cans with verdigris craft paint technique

Then shades of aqua and green craft paint, and a little table salt, to give them a weathered verdigris look.

Bag of ice in tin can.

To be able to easily punch holes in the can, first place a quart baggie inside, fill it with water, and freeze. 

Snowflake templates

Here are a few templates you can use for your pattern. You can also print out something else that you like, or punch out a freehand pattern.

Nail punching tin can with template

Place the frozen can on a towel to keep it steady. Punch holes with a hammer and nail.

Nail punched holes in tin can.

I found that I could make varying hole sizes depending on how many times, or how deep, I hit the nail with the hammer.

Pendant light kit connector

To attach the cans to the pendant kit you first need to separate the three different sockets. Do this by unscrewing the white plastic connector shown above. There will be one white and one black wire for each of the three sockets.

Close up of light socket.

Next you need to remove the black connector near the socket on each light. Loosen the screw on the side and then unscrew the connector from the socket.

Socket connection removed.Slide this connector completely off, and set aside.

Threading wires through can.

Now you can thread the wires up through the can.

Inside of can with socket.

Pull them through until the socket reaches the top of the can.

Rethreading socket connector.

Now thread the socket connector back on with the threaded side down, and screw it back into the socket.

Tighten connection to socket.Then tighten the side screw.


Hanging tin can lantern.

Complete this task for all three cans and sockets.

Pendant light kit separated.


Re-connect the wires to the white connector.

Pendant light white wire connector

Making sure all white wires are placed together on the white wire side, and all black wires on the black side.

Hanging tin can pendant lights during the day.

This light kit had each socket wire a different length. I assume it comes this way so you can hang them in a row from the ceiling. I wanted mine to be clustered together, so I cut some of the wires so that they are just a little different. 

Tin can decorative bulb inside.

Depending on the cans you use, you will have to make sure the bulbs fit properly inside. I purchased small 40w decorative bulbs from a local hardware store. The only thing I would like is a main switch on the wire to turn them on and off. I think they sell that type of pendant kit too. There is a switch inside but that may get very hot. For now, I’ll just unplug them from the wall. 

Pendant light trio turned on.

These tin can pendant lights turned out really cute. I love the rustic, aged look the paint gave them and the way the light twinkles through the nail holes. We have them hanging in our screened in porch, perfect for a summer evening. 

Now Let’s See What the Others Created with Tin Cans:


Garden Up Green

To Work With My Hands

At Home With Jemma

Farmhouse 40


The Kitchen Garten

Not A Trophy Wife


About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. I love the pattern you chose for your cans, Patti! And the patina/copper paint technique is beautiful. It’s amazing what you can do with a tin can!

    • Hi Courtney,

      That’s what I love about these challenges. I probably never would have made this otherwise and I really like it.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  2. This is a great summer idea, Patti. I’m sure the light added on summer evening is just perfect on your porch and I’d want to be there every evening, relaxing and soaking in their gentle, shimmering light. This is such a creative way to use an old tin can!

    • Hi Karen,

      Thank you. I does look so pretty in the evenings. I’m looking forward to having some friends over to show it off. Too bad you live so far away. One of these days we are all going to have to get together.

      Have a great week,

  3. As always – Awesome and the finish is great. I’m going to try that on some pots. These lights are fun I could see several groups of them hanging at the center of a pergola or at the corners. I almost did lanterns but ended up using my frozen cans for cooler packs when we went to the property and then my brain went in another direction. Have a great week and can you believe it Summer is here – yeah!!

    • Hi Carole,

      Summer is definitely here. We have been having some hot weather lately and a fair amount of rain. Great for the garden! Thanks for sharing your great ideas as always. Pendants in a pergola would be awesome!

      Have a great week!

  4. I LOVE the weathered copper look of your can pendant lights. These are certainly a one of a kind light feature for your outdoor entertaining! Thanks also for the detailed tutorial on how to use the light kits. I think I’m going to have to explore a project using those.

    • Hi Susan,

      It took me a little while to see how I could work with the light kit. I feel like I saw one with a main switch and that would be so much better. Let me know if you do make something with them. I’d love to see it!

      Have a great week!

  5. Hi Patti
    I would never have thought to add water and freeze first before creating the pattern with a nail. I need to re-read the details on the lights! laura

    • Hi Laura,

      I saw that trick on another post when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It really helped me because my cans were somewhat thin and flimsy.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  6. Patti……these are beautiful. I love the copper, aged look of the paint. Fantastic. I think I am going to make some of these for our barn porch area. Thanks for the great idea.

  7. These are so cool. I have seen some that you just set on surfaces with tea lights in them as luminaries but I really like the light kits. I would have to paint colorful flowers on mine, of course. 🙂

    • Hi Pamela,

      I’m so glad you like the pendant lights. Flower painted ones would be so pretty. Can’t wait to see them!
      Thanks for stopping by,

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