How to Make a Lantern

While you can buy lanterns in the store, some of the best lanterns are simple and homemade. There are various types of homemade lanterns, such as Chinese lanterns, Japanese lanterns and tin lanterns. With some effort and creativity, you can also make a charming rustic lantern.

Measure a piece of 23-gauge copper sheet, so that it is 1 inch longer than the diameter of the coffee can you are using for a lantern mold. The height of your copper sheet is flexible. Mark your measurements with a dry erase pen and cut the copper sheet with a pair of medal snips.

Draw a design on your copper sheet with the dry erase pen. The design should consist of a series of dots. Repeating simple shapes makes an attractive design.

Punch holes in your copper sheet using a metal hole punch and a hammer. It may help to place the sheet over a piece of scrap wood as you hammer out the design.

Mark points at each end of your sheet, approximately 2 inches apart, all the way down the edge. The holes should be 1/4 inch from the edge.

Wrap the copper sheet around your mold to shape the copper. Remove your mold and clamp the end together matching up the holes.

Use a rivet gun to punch copper rivets through the holes at the ends of the sheet. Place the lantern over a candle or secure an electric light and hang it from the ceiling.


Make several lanterns and attach them to a string of lights to create a theme. Use heavy-duty leather gloves when cutting and handling the metal sheet.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee can mold
  • Tape measure
  • Dry erase pen
  • 23-gauge copper sheet
  • Metal punch
  • Hammer
  • Metal snips
  • Clamps
  • Rivet gun and rivets
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