Introduction: Cool Candle Holder From Recycled Metal

About: Self-employed YouTuber, creator and maker working from studio at home. Running craft workshops and making instructional videos for YouTube. Also manufacturer of craft tools and templates.

This Instructable shows how to turn an empty tuna can into a cool holder for a tea-light candle. You could use any food can - salmon, cat food, - whatever you have.

I love to use discarded food packaging in my crafts and I usually make jewelry - but I came up with this candle holder idea because I wanted to find a use for tuna cans. You can use this pretty candle holder for both traditional tea-light candles or the battery operated ones (which are safer).

I'm sure this must have been done before but this is my take on it...

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies and Tools

To complete this project you will need:


  • An empty washed and dried tuna can plus lid
  • An empty washed and dried soda can
  • 12 - 18 inches of 28 gauge beading wire
  • Approx 70 Seed beads in two colors
  • 8 small size colored brads to match the beads
  • 8 small size Silver brads
  • 3" Wide silver foil sticky tape
  • Decorative sticky tape
  • Washi tape to match color sceme of beads and brads
  • Clear sticky tape
  • Enough colored sand to fill the tuna tin to the brim


  • 1.8mm Hole punch for metal
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Regular pliers
  • Strong scissors
  • Small hammer
  • Tin snips (not shown in pic)
  • Smooth edge tin opener (not shown in pic)
  • Two inch circle punch (not shown in pic)

Step 2: Prepare Your Tuna and Soda Cans

Make sure your cans are clean and dry. You are going to cut up the can so you can use the inverted domed bottom of it.

Take the top off the soda can with a smooth edge can opener. Next use the tin snips to cut into the neck of the soda can.

Then take a pair of robust scissors to cut down the side of the can and around the bottom.

For this project, you only need the inverted dome bottom of the can. Put the rest of the can into your resources box to use for another project.

Step 3: Make Tiny Holes Along the Top of the Can

Using a 1.8mm metal punch pliers, go along the top edge of the can and punch out 16, evenly spaced holes.

It's best to start with two holes opposite each other. (In the 12 and 6 position on a clock face.)

Then turn the tin and punch two more holes at the 9 and 3 clock face postion.

Next punch 3 holes in between each of the holes you have already made.

Keep the holes evenly spaced, along the top edge of the can.

Then go round and punch 8 more holes lower down, under the top row.

(See the embedded movie if you are like me and have problems following written instructions.)

Step 4: Push Bead Wire Through From Outside

Now you need to take your 28 gauge beading wire and push the end through one of the holes you punched along the top of the can. You need to push the wire through from the outside to the inside of the can and tape the end down inside with the clear sticky tape.

Step 5: Thread the Beads

Take 4 of the seed beads - two of each color - and thread alternate colors onto the wire sticking out of the can. Slide them down right to the edge of the can but don't let them go over the edge (or they will disappear inside the can). Make sure they sit neatly at the top edge of the can and then bend the wire firmly over the edge and pass the end of the wire through the next hole along, from the inside, back out of the can.

Continue to do this until you have finished all the holes.

Thread the wire back into the last hole and tape the end down inside with the clear sticky tape.

Step 6: Add Some Brads

Take the decorative colored brads and push one into each of the holes you punched lower down. Fix them in place by splaying out the brads inside the tin.

Step 7: Punch More Holes!

Part way through this project, I decided to punch 8 more holes inbetween the brads. So take your punch pliers and make 8 more holes and then push a silver brad in each. Splay the brads open to keep them in place.

Step 8: Decorate With Washi Tape

The next step is to cut a length of washi tape, chosen to compliment the colors of your brads and beads, and fasten it around the tin underneath the row of brads.

Step 9: Bend the Sharp Edges of the Candle Holder Over

Although the candle holder part of this project will have its bottom edge hidden, it's still a good idea to make the sharp edges safe.

To do this, I took my needle nosed pliers and gradually nipped and pulled the edge under. There is no photo of that here but you can see me doing it in the film.

Once the edge is turned over enough for regular pliers to flatten, go all around doing just that until the lower edge of the candle holder is completely safe and will not cut anyone.

Get the pliers into the right position and firmly nip the metal to ensure it is completely folded over as flat as possible.

Step 10: Clean Off Any Printed Marks

If there is a sell-by date or other information printed on the soda can's bottom, use a light abrasive to rub it off. Why? It just looks better!

Step 11: Make the Reflector

Take the lid of the tuna can and make 8 smaill cuts around the edge (see pictures).

Then, taking care of your fingers (wear gloves, even though I didn't), bend each of the sections created by the cuts, over to the back of the lid.

Press firmly down and then hammer as flat as possible.

Do this with every section apart from the last which you should leave as is.

Step 12: Cover With Silver Foil

Using the 2 inch circle punch, cut out a circle of the silver foil tape.

Peel off the backing and stick this in the center of the lid.

Using the sticky, decorative silver tape, cover the other side completely and use the scissors to trim off the excess so it fits nicely.

Then very carefully bend the lid into a gently curved shape.

Step 13: Fill the Tin With Colored Sand

Carefully spoon enough of the colored sand into the can so it is level with the top.

Then, with the unfolded edge of the lid pointing down, firmly push the lid down into the sand right at the edge of the can so the curve sits well with the curve of the can. This is the reflector that will reflect the candlelight.

Then take the soda can bottom and push it into the sand ready to place your tea-light candle on.

Step 14: Light the Candle and Enjoy Your Beautiful Work!

Finally, light the candle and enjoy. The sand makes these candle holders quite heavy and stable.

Make lots of them in different colours and designs.

But do remember to practice good candle safety - never leave candles burning unattended and never leave them alight with unattended children.

Better still buy battery operated tea-light candles that flicker. The fire department will love you for it!

Thank you for reading this far and enjoy your day.