Introduction: Beer Can Flashlight (torch)

After using the circuity from a solar garden lamp to increase the volts for a mini-generator and to modify a head-torch I wondered if a beer can could be used as a reflector to create a low power flashlight..

A low power flashlight could be useful while camping and you don't want to disturb others by shining a powerful light beam. Another use is having it on a bedside table to be used if you have to get up during the night and don't want to lose your night vision. It can also be a useful backup if the power goes off.

The lamp only cost $2 from a hardware store and the flashlight was straight forward to make. It can easily be recharged by turning it upside down and placing it on a window still for a day.

As well as enabling you to see around camp or in your home at night, the flashlight can be used to practice hand-shadows in the evening or to practice Morse code during the day.


Beverage can

Solar garden lamp


sticky tape




Drill (or hammer and nail)

File (Optional)

Step 1: Disassemble a Solar Garden Light

Dissembling a garden light is straight forward and the different component come apart by hand. The flashlight will only use the light part of the solar garden lamp. This has a led light on the bottom and a small solar panel on the top. Both will be useful.

Step 2: Cut the Bottom Off 2 Beer Cans

Cut the bottoms off 2 beer cans using a knife and for the last part scissors.

Trim until you have a concave reflector.

Its is recommended to wear eye protection when cutting the can, tin snips may be useful when cutting the thicker metal.

Step 3: Make a Hole

Make a hole in the middle of one of the bottoms. This will need to fit snugly over the collar surrounding the LED. I used a hammer and nail, then filed to make the required sized hole but if you have a drill this could be used.

Drill a small hole to fit over the slider switch.

When the reflector (bottom of the can) is rotated slightly, the slider switch will be moved - turning the flashlight off or on.

Step 4: Make Another Hole

Make a larger hole in the 2nd beer can bottom. I used a nail and hammer, followed by some filing to make this hole bigger but a drill could also be used.

Having a top hole, focuses the light and makes a brighter narrower beam. It also makes the flashlight look a little like HAL from the film 'Space Odyssey'.

Step 5: Does Polishing Help?

I thought polishing the reflector might make it shine brighter. While it did polish up well I couldn't see any difference in light output, so this step can be skipped.

Step 6: Assembly

Stick the reflector - with the 2 holes, to the base of the lamp use sticky tape. When the reflector is rotated slightly the switch needs to slide - turning the light off or on. I found putting a twist in the tape when attaching the reflector to the base helped to achieve this.

The top, with the larger hole is then glued on top.

I indicated on the top which way the lamp should be turned to make it go on using a marker pen.

Step 7: Shine On

The flashlight will not turn on if it detects light but this can be overcome by putting your hand over the solar panel - hence it can be made to flash on and off during the day and be used to practice Morse code.

During the evening the flashlight could be used to practice hand-shadows.

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