Creating Can Lights For Your Outdoor Landscape

As the seasons change, and the temperature begins to get warmer, you might wonder how you can enjoy your outdoor landscape with some great lighting that's not too difficult to come up with. If you're hosting a summer party, or even just want to relax in your outdoor space, creating lighting is easy with old tin cans, and it is an inexpensive way to add ambiance. This guide explains how to create lights with old cans that you have no more use for in just a few simple steps.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Choose your workspace and then gather these needed items to create your lights:

  • paint cans or other cans with wire handles (various sizes)
  • acetone
  • a couple towels
  • dish washing soap
  • a stencil (your choice of design)
  • scotch tape
  • a nail
  • a hammer
  • spray paint (your choice of color)
  • votive candles

Step 2: Remove Labels and Clean the Paint Can

Empty the cans and clean them with water, dishwashing soap and towels. If the cans have paper labels, soak the cans in soapy water for several minutes until the labels peel off easily.

If the cans are covered with ink or laser labels pour a little acetone on a clean towel and rub the labels off.

Step 3: Attach the Stencil

Attach your stencil to the clean, dry can with the scotch tape. Use several pieces of tape so the stencil does not fly off the can or shift during the next steps.

Step 4: Create the Holes

Hammer the nail into the can to create sporadic holes through the holes in the stencil. The pressure needed will likely vary depending on the thickness of the can, but you should not need to hammer very hard, as you only want small holes for the light to shine through.

Step 5: Spray Paint the Cans

Lay down some newspapers on your table and apply the spray paint to the can with the stencil still on. Apply a second coat if the metal of the can shows through the paint, or if you want a darker color. 

Step 6: Remove the Stencil and Insert the Candle

Once the paint is dry, remove the tape and stencil. Place the candles into the bottom of the can.

Set the cans anywhere you would like ambient light such as a patio table, patio floor or hung on a fence or shepherd's hook.

For a more creative style, choose cans that are various sizes in both height and width. Expect to spend a couple hours on this project in the afternoon, so that by the time the sun begins to set, you'll have ambient lighting to help you enjoy the evening spring, summer or fall breeze. For information on landscaping, contact a company like Heritage Landscape.