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How to Make Tin can Luminaries

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Looking for a free decorating project? Tin can luminaries have the perfect price for decorating your porch or patio for outdoor activities.

You will need:
· Washed cans
· A nail
· Hammer
· Paper
· Pencil
· Scissors
· Tape

Choose your can size depending on how long you want your luminaries to burn. Use unlined 16 ounce cans for 2-3 hour luminaries. Use 29 ounce (tomato sauce) cans or 64 ounce (juice or coffee) cans for 6-8 hour luminaries.

1. Trim paper to the exact size of the luminary.

2. Choose a pattern for your luminary. Print from a project on your computer or draw by hand onto your paper.

3. Tape pattern over can with the open side up.

4. Tap nail along line of design at 1/4-1/8 inch intervals on smaller cans to 1/2-1/4 intervals on larger cans. Pierce gently through the can with the point of the nail. Use thinner nail for smaller cans and up to a 10 penny nail for larger cans.

5. Remove the pattern paper. Light a tea light (small) or a votive (large) and drip wax into the bottom of the can. Blow out candle and place on the wet wax to set candle in center of can.

6. Place your luminaries along sidewalks or the edge of a porch, light and enjoy!

Tips for great luminaries:

• If you have dented the can while piercing, insert a slightly smaller can inside. Tap inside the smaller can to push the dent out.

• The closer together the holes in your luminary, the more light it will emit. Remember, the design will be clearer with more holes. Complex designs are not recommended. Simple designs and geometric shapes are the best pattern choices.

• To hang your luminary, pierce the top of the can in three places. Tie three pieces of twine, jute or heavy test fishing line in the holes; tie all three into an overhand knot at least the height of the can away from the top rim. Hang from a hook or another line strung from a branch. Practice fire safety by placing your luminary where it will not catch anything on fire.

• For pattern ideas, consider children's color books, cross stitch or peyote beading patterns. Clip art designs also make good luminary designs.

• Add some color to your luminaries by spraying the finished luminary with heat resistant paint. Many popular paint brands sell engine enamel which will withstand high temperatures. If you plan on keeping and using your luminaries from year to year, spray the inside and outside with engine enamel to prevent rust.

• Another way to add color is to glue colored glass pieces to the inside of your luminary. Wrap a colored bottle in a towel and smash with your hammer. The towel will prevent flying glass. Glue the glass on the inside of the holes. If your luminary will be hanging or not in the reach of children, glue the colored pieces to the outside for a mosaic effect.

• Never leave luminaries unattended or overnight. Be sure to blow out the candles. You don't want to have a pretty fire hazard. Be careful with children around luminaries. Children can catch themselves or their clothing on fire if they get too close to the luminary.

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