Halloween Coffee Can Luminaries!

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About: I am an artist, builder and teacher living in Japan.

If you're a coffee fan and a Halloween fan, you're going to love this project!

You'll need:

-Coffee cans (plastic ones work too)

-Marker to draw the face

-Craft awl to make the holes

-Hammer

-Primer

-Paint (I used orange, black, brown and antique liquid)

-Hot glue gun

-Piece of a branch for the handle

-Super for the branch

Optional- top coat/sealer

Step 1: Draw the Face

First draw a face on your coffee can. If you don't want it to light up, you can go right into priming. Some coffee cans have a label or sticker wrapped around them that you'll need to remove. These coffee cans don't.

Step 2: Making Holes

The easiest way to pound holes into these bad boys is with a "craft awl" or something like it. Nails and drills are tricky to use and will dent your coffee can. These craft awls are only a couple buckaroos and can be found in any craft store. They are usually used to make jewelry.

I was told that it's easy to punch in holes if you fill the can up with water and freeze it first.

Step 3: Hole Time

The lid will help keep the cans shape while you're hitting it with a hammer, so make sure you put it on.

Step 4: Be Careful!

Be careful sticking your hands in the can after you make the holes. Some of the backs of the holes will be jagged. It's not that bad, but watch out.

You can tape something plastic to the inside like a file or folder. Plastic folders come in a variety of colors too, so you can create some pretty cool looking lights.

Step 5: Primer

I used an "all" surface primer I bought over here in Japan on the cans and lids. When it dried I painted on a black base coat. You'll need to re-poke some holes if paint dries over them.

I don't recommend priming and painting before you make the holes. The paint will most likely crack.

Step 6: Painting

I mixed some black paint and wood glue to paint on the faces. You can buy a black paint marker if you find making straight lines difficult. I used a water based antiquing liquid on the orange to give it a kind of worn look too.

Step 7: The Pumpkin Handle

I used a piece of dried branch I found outside for the top of the lid. I super glued it on and then used a hot glue gun to give textures. I painted the wood and hot glue with matte black and when it dried I went over it with a watered down brown. You can also use a screw to hold the wood too. Just screw from the inside of the lid.

Step 8: The Light!

This is what they look like with a dollar store push light in them. If you're not getting a bright enough light, wrap some foil around the back of the inside to reflect the light forward. Remember that you can change the color of the light by using a colored transparent plastic file or folder.

Step 9: Awesomeness!

That's it! These are fun to make and you can pretty much make any kind of Halloween character. Try a Frankenstein, ghost, witch or scarecrow.

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    8 Discussions

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    ladybgood

    3 months ago

    I've tried freezing water in the can. even at 1/3 full it deformed the can

    1 reply
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    HeidiL45

    Question 3 months ago on Step 9

    What paint would you use for a plastic coffee can? if you got spray paint primer, could you use acrylic over?

    1 answer
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    bryans workshopHeidiL45

    Answer 3 months ago

    Yes, you can use a spray primer followed by acrylic. You can also use an all in one spray paint that has the adhesives in it. Check out Krylon or Rust-Oleum brands.

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    Jane Ward

    3 months ago

    These ideas are really cool, thanks for the ideas

    1 reply
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    Tura Street

    4 months ago

    I love coffee, and now I know what to do with my empty coffee cans. Thanks for the great idea. Love it.

    1 reply