Tiki Torch ~ Spinning Lantern




Introduction: Tiki Torch ~ Spinning Lantern

Make a cool Spinning Lantern out of stuff you probably have laying around the house.

View the Video Tutorial for full instructions, or follow the 10 easy steps below!

Step 1: You Will Need

1 medium sized tin can (I covered mine with aluminum tape to hide the label)

1 Tiki Torch with lamp oil

Some wire and pliers

1 Dremel (with a few replacement cutting disks)

A Magic marker

1 Nail or Screw

Step 2: Make Your Cut Marks

draw an 8 pointed asterisk on the bottom of your can by first drawing an X with right angles in the middle that intersect at the center of your can (the measurements do not have to be precise), then drawing another x that bisects the angles of your previous mark into 45 degree angles.

Step 3: Step 2: Cut Your Fan Blades

Use your Dremel (with protective eyewear) to cut out the lines you just drew. make sure you cut the line all the way to the outside edge of the can, but DO NOT cut all the way to the center of the can, you want to leave the center connected to hold your fan blades together, and with a large enough space that you can use it as a balance point to spin on later.

Step 4: Finish Cutting Your Fan Blades

once you haave the radial spokes cut out, you will want to finish your ;fan blades by making a cut along the ouside edge of the can. this cut should be consistent for each blade, you can choose to make the can spin in either direction by cutting either clockwise or counter-clockwise, but all of the blades should be cut the same direction so they face the same way when they are finished. you only want to cut about 2/3 of the way to the next spoke so the can will stay connected to your fan blades.

Step 5: Step 4: Bend Out Your Fan Blades

using a screw driver you can now bend each of your fan blades up into place. I also took a pair of pliers and bent the outer tips of my fan blades back down so they would catch the rising air a little better.

Step 6: Step 5: Draw Your Arrows (or Whatever You Want)

since this can is going to spin to the left, i draw my arrows pointing left. you can draw whatever shapes you want, arrows are just easy, and make for a pretty cool final product. I drew only 4 arrows on my can, you can draw more or less, its totally up to you.

Step 7: Step 6: Cut Out Your Arrows (or Whatever You Drew)

dremel baby dremel!

Step 8: Step 7: Punch a Dimple in the Top of the Can

use your philips head screwdriver to find the balance point in the middle of your spinner can, and punch a tiny dimple in the top of your can. you dont want to make a hole, just a notch that will be able to spin easily when it is balanced on your nail or screw.

you can test your spinner can by balancing it on your scredriver and giving it a good spin. if it falls off really easily, you might want to make your dimple a little deeper.

Step 9: Step 8: Make Your Spindle

use some wire and a screw/nail to build a spindle onto your Tiki Torch. you can do this any way you feel is strong enough, it doesnt need to look good, since it will be covered by the spinning can, you just want to make sure it is sturdy enough that it doesnt wiggle or wobble, as this movement will negate how much energy you catch off of the rising heat.

once you have your wire fastened onto your Tiki Torch, you will want to use it to secure your Screw/Nail. you will want to make sure that you are mounting it so that the pointy side is facing up. this is the part that will fit into the dimple you just made on your spinner can. the sharper the point on your nail or screw, the easier your spinner will rotate.

you will also want to have your can handy while you are building this so you can make sure you are making your spindle the right size to fit inside your spinner with no parts touching. (except the very tiny, pointy, tip of your spindle screw/nail)

Step 10: Step 9: Put It All Together, Give It a Whirl

fill up your tiki torch with lamp oil, put your spinner can on top of your spindle, and light it up!

the rising heat from the flame on the torch with create an updraft. This rising air current is strong enough to propel the fan blades on your spinner, and rotate your lantern.

Step 11: Step 10: Throw a Party/BBQ to Show Off How Creative You Are!

you are gonna need to have some friends over so you can dazzle them with your super thrifty DIY skillz! so throw a party, and put a few of these up on your front porch, or around the back yard to spice up your outdoor lighting!


On a Budget Contest

Participated in the
On a Budget Contest

Burn It! Contest

Participated in the
Burn It! Contest

Explore Science Contest

Participated in the
Explore Science Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Baking Contest

      Baking Contest
    • Block Code Contest

      Block Code Contest
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge



    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great first Instructable! Thanks for sharing! I've go to see this lantern in action!