Picture of Tin Can Lamp
Hello, folks.

In this instructable I would like to present to you my take on the "tin can lamp". For quite some time I wanted to do something with an empty can that was sitting around, and since I am a great deal into all-things- lamps, I decided to give it a try.

For this instructable you need some basic materials:

tin can

a piece of wood ( 1.5 by 1.5 cm, 1.5 meters long)

toggle switch


electric cord

2 bolts, 2 nuts

light bulb

light socket

Lets find more in step 1.
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Step 1: Tools and meterials.

Picture of Tools and meterials.
For this instructable you need some basic materials:

tin can

a piece of wood ( 1.5 by 1.5 cm, 1.5 meters long)

toggle switch


electric cord

2 bolts, 2 nuts

4 screws

light bulb

light socket

Wood glue





drill bits


sand paper



Step 2: Measure and cut the wood, spray the tin.

Picture of Measure and cut the wood, spray the tin.
For the sides of the frame cut two pieces of wood, both 30 cm. long. For the top, middle and bottom of the frame cut 3 pieces, 9 cm. long. Cover the tin can with several layers of spray paint, until you are satisfied with the way it looks.

Step 3: Glue the frame and feed the electrial cord through the frame.

Picture of Glue the frame and feed the electrial cord through the frame.
Use your wood glue to glue the pieces together and then feed the electrical cord through the frame.

Step 4: Prepare the nuts.

Picture of Prepare the nuts.
I wanted to cover the nuts in wood so the the lamp could achieve a better overall look. What I did was to take the nut and put it in a piece of wood and use that to tighten the bolt that keeps the tin in place.

Step 5: Connecting the buld socket and attaching the switch.

Picture of Connecting the buld socket and attaching the switch.
For this part you will need:

light bulb (GU 10)

2 screws

a piece of wood


Check the pictures for further instructions.

Step 6: Installing the can.

Picture of Installing the can.
Get the bolts and the nuts and put the can in place, tighten the nuts and you are done.

Step 7: It's time for the unveiling.

I have to say that I am delighted with how this turned out.

It is functional, good-looking, energy-saving... I love it :)

kennismoles9 months ago
great idea
mak886 made it!1 year ago

Super fun and easy. :D

leo251 year ago

Great. I think it may look more exciting if you use a transparent paper so it has a soft light.

Xial1 year ago
Wow, this looks quite nice!
I'm thinking that one could also put something in front of the bulb to diffuse the light a bit as well, but I am not sure if it would lead to a heat issue with the bulb inside. Have you tried anything to diffuse the light that you would recommend?
maybolicious (author)  Xial1 year ago
Thank you.
In this particular case there is no need for additional diffusion of the light because the light bulb has a lid that serves as a diffuser, and it gives a very even light distribution. You can try some opaque material as plexiglass or something else?
shazni1 year ago
Love the clean nice look! Will try it as a project for kids.. Thanks
Very nice. Is it stable on this stand?
maybolicious (author)  Dima-simfer1 year ago
Yes, it is perfectly stable on the stand:) Initially I was not sure how to make the stand. I did consider several options, one of them being white triangular stand on both sides, but in the end I ended up with this one. Of course there is always room for improvisations.
stumitch1 year ago
Great! this is a great one to do with a group of students. wood, metal and electrical... you can't get more comprehensive educationally than that!
claudg19501 year ago
This could easily be screwed to the wall, to free up more desk space. Or used as night lamps. Very nice, really.
Great idea! these would make cool sconces--especially for, say, on either side of the bed. Clears up the space lamps typically take up.
kirnex1 year ago
This looks awesome. You did a great job with it, and it looks like an easy project. Thanks for sharing it--love how yours turned out.
I love this lamp! I'm going to Pinterest it! Thanks!
spylock1 year ago
Love the base,I did one with a old tripod that turned out well,but your base design makes the lamp,nice job.
great info, my dad built one like this in the 60's to shine on our x-mas tree
he used two cans one inside of the other and put it all in a x-mas package
and sat it in front of the tree , red x-mas paper looked good lol
that's for letting me remember some nice times
maybolicious (author) 1 year ago
Thank you for your comments. It's good to see that I am not the only one who likes it :)
This is so Designer :) Thank you so much for sharing.
DaProject1 year ago
BigMrTree1 year ago
Simple...Elegant...Practical. Nice work!!
WrshpMzshn1 year ago
Very clean, modern look. Could also easily be adapted to Craftsman style. I like it!
Kiteman1 year ago
That is very stylish, nice job.