Outdoor Tuna Can Lantern

Last week I made a candle chandelier for my deck. It looks so pretty when lit, but the rest of my yard was looking kind of neglected. I was determined to find a way to spread some more candle light around the yard to balance the light and provide more ambiance. I used to have Tiki torches, but they unravel and have to be filled up with oil that makes a mess.  I remember years ago seeing candle lanterns at a wedding that I thought were pretty clever and decided I could try to make them myself, but I needed to find some glass hurricanes.  A trip to the thrift store was in order yesterday.

Usually when I go on my weekly thrift store excursion I run in and do a quick cruise around the store to see if anything pops out at me. Treasure is not always waiting to be found, but you have to go frequently to stumble upon it every now and then.  Yesterday I went on purpose –  I knew my thrift store would have exactly what I was looking for – I had a choice  – lots of glass hurricanes to choose from. I ended up with 3 and a cylinder glass bowl that I plan on using for another project.

Total cost of my glass haul – $2.70.


Here is what I made with the hurricane. At the end of this post I created a few variations using the other glassware I picked up.

Tuna Can Lantern by In My Own Style blog

It was very quick and easy to make.

How to Make a Tuna Can Lantern

  I used a tuna can, wood screw, copper adapter, and an old paint stick.  If you don’t have an old paint stick, you could use an old broom stick – just cut the broom part off, or even buy a dowel.   The copper adapter was the most expensive part of this project – $3.00, but I like the way it looked. If you want to be really thrifty you could use a soda bottle cap on top of the stick. The adapter or cap adds a nice transition between the can and the stick and provides support.


Using my Craftsman rotary drill that my hubby got me a few years ago for my birthday, I drilled a hole in the top of the paint stick.



Then I used a awl and hammer to make a hole in the center of the tuna can.


Assembly order:  The copper adapter fits over the paint stick perfectly. Take your stick to the plumbing section at the hardware store and try a few different sizes out for the perfect fit. Every stick will be a bit different.


Screw the screw into the stick.


The top will look like this.


Place it in the ground.  The lantern is complete – just needs a coat of paint.  Once I removed the hurricane and candle, I sprayed the whole thing right where you see it in the photo – EASY!


I used Rust-Oleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze so the lantern will coordinate with the chandelier I made last week for my deck.


All Done!  If you have lots of wind – a hurricane such as the one I used will help keep the candles from burning out.

Tuna Can Lantern by In My Own Style blog

If you can’t find a hurricane when you are out thrifting – I also bought a small vase. It looks nice, too.

Tuna Can Lantern variations

Outdoor lighting Tuna can lantern using a small vase

Lots of variation to choose from. A drinking glass works well also.    You may even have an old set of glasses to make a matching set of lanterns to place around your entire yard.

Drinking-glass-tuna can lantern

Now I need to eat more tuna so I can make a few more so my yard will have all- over ambiance at night.

Pink-CircleTo remove dried wax on glass after use – fill glass with ice water. Let set a few minutes and wax will come right off.




  1. Laura says

    I found a pretty gold candle holder. I am going to put a timer candle in it and it will mark the spot my little boy poodle rests. No wax to clean up. I bought some window putty to seal around the top and the glass holder will come off easy when it is time for a new battery.

  2. says

    I really like the tuna hurricane lanterns. Black is what I really like with the tall glass. The only thing is that don’t have time to make the tuna lanterns. Is the a place where I could purchases several sets. At a store? Cant find anything on line where I could make that purchase . Help mew be for the Christmas holiday

    • says

      Hi VJ – I don’t know of any place that makes them. If you do a Google search for “garden lanterns” or “staked lanterns” a few places to purchase something like them may show up in the search results.


  1. […] To make these chic garden lanterns, you need a can, spray paint, a wood screw, a copper adapter, a paint stick and a glass container or a vase in a shape you like. You can also use a glass. Put a candle inside and create a romantic mood in the backyard.{found on inmyownstyle}. […]

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