Empty tin can (coffee can size is best, but any size will work)
Wire coat hanger, other wire, or heavy twine
Candle (at least 1” shorter than the can)
Colored marker or crayon
Newspaper or towel
Wire-cutting tool or scissors
Remove any labels from the can and wash thoroughly. Using a colored marker or crayon, draw a punch-hole pattern on the can. Make a traditional design or invent your own.
Fill the can with water and put it in the freezer until the water is solid ice (one or two days, depending on the size). The ice will keep the can from collapsing when you make the holes.
Remove the can from the freezer and place it on several layers of newspaper or a folded towel. Using a hammer and nail, hammer holes in the tin can following the pattern you have drawn. You can vary the size of the holes by using different-sized nails. Make holes for the handle at opposite sides of the can rim. When all the holes have been punched, invert the can to remove the ice.
Use wire cutters or scissors to cut a length of wire or twine and attach across the can for a handle. (If using twine, be sure to lay it over to one side when the candle is lit.)
Drip wax from the candle into the bottom of the lantern and stand the candle in it, holding it until set.
SCCC Pow wow 2003