Making your own lantern/votive holders is an inexpensive and pretty craft that you can make for almost no money. It is also very versatile and can be made to unique and distinctive on any wedding table. You can make can be made in three steps. Adding the extra steps, to color and decorating, is up to you.
The only things you really need to do this project are aluminum cans. You can use soup cans, fruit cup cans, single serving juice cans or tuna fish cans. Cans with straight sides look the best. Try and remove any sharp sides, with a can opener that doesn’t cut into the can, like the one from Pampered Chef. Remove any extra glue residue and run them through the dishwasher.
If you don’t want to make any holes in the can, you can still decorate it the same, but you can also fill it with water and have floating candles. I recommend a wider can for this option. You want the light from the candle to reflect off of the water’s surface.
If you are going to make the lantern, you will also need nails or a screwdriver and a hammer. Anything else can be added based upon budget and time. You can even make a unique holder for each table or a big version for the bridal table and you can pick and choose which steps you want to do.
To make the Basic Lantern:
1. If you are going to draw a patter, do it now. Draw a pattern of dots on the outside of the can with a permanent marker. You can tape a stencil, such as a heart or a star, onto the can to give you an outline. Be sure to have extra cans available in case of smudges.
I recommend that you draw or copy a pattern onto index cards. Then punch the holes with a hole punch and make and long cuts with a craft knife to out and use it as a template. You can even get a template designed for a pumpkin and shrink it down. When picking your pattern, keep in mind the other steps you are going to do, you don’t want to end up cover a bunch of holes because of lack of space, but a craft jewel over a hole will cast a pretty light.
2. Fill the can ¾ full with water and put in freezer for at least 24 hours-until frozen solid. If you need it sooner you can fill the can with ice, add water and freeze. Then it should be done in 3 or four hours.
3. Take your first can out of the freezer. If you have a lot to do and don’t want to keep running back and forth to the freezer, put the rest of them in a cooler. Place the can on its side on a folded towel. Use assorted nails or an awl or a screw driver tip pierce through the pattern of dots that have been drawn. Hammer the nails in just far enough to pierce the metal. If the ice is melting too quickly, return the can to the freezer for a few hours.
4. If you would like a handle, poke holes into the sides of the cans and attach wire, The florist wire will work or you can get something stronger.
5. When done, melt the ice in the can. Dry the lantern.
Once you have the basic lantern:
Make it a different color
-Take the cans to a well ventilated area and spray paint them gold or your wedding colors. For tips on Spray painting, go to Micheals.com.
-If you don’t want to spray paint, you can use Modge Podge or diluted glue and use a paint brush to cover the can. Then roll it in glitter. For better adherence use a second coat of Modge Podge over the glitter this will not be a problem
-Dilute your paint, so that it is runny. Put it on the surface of a bucket of water. Immerse your can completely in the water. Remove and let dry. The paint will run down the sides and you should get a smooth finish. You might have to do multiple coats though. If you want to marble this technique add a second color to the water in the pail or use and eye dropper to drop it directly onto the can.
Decorating your lantern:
-Take a picture of the bride and groom, on writing paper, and use Modge Podge to attach it to the votive holder.
-Use craft jewels to make a pattern or just cover random holes. The light bouncing off of them will look very nice.
-Take a flower garland and wrap it around the bottom of the can. Remove the can and wrap florist wire or tape where the two sides of the garland meet. Cut the remainder off and repeat for all the cans; if you want to you can attack it to the can with hot glue gun but you don’t have to.
Fill the lantern:
-Place a votive candle in you lantern
-Fill the votive holder, with no holes, with water and use a floating votive candle. You can also put the kind of jewels you buy for fish tanks in the bottom of the can.
-Put flowers in or one big flower on top of the Lantern
When you place it on the table, use a mirror and/or a sprinkling of glitter.