outdoor lantern tutorial
Nat & Holly from My Sister’s Suitcase has joined the ranks as contributors here on IC.  I think you will love this crafty sister duo.  I am blown away by their first project.  An upcycled clearance trash can into an outdoor candle lantern?  BRILLIANT!  You can find these cheap trash cans everywhere.  Why not update your outdoor space with a mason jar candle lantern?
mason jar candle sconce


We are so excited to share our first tutorial with you all! I love finding things that are old, ugly, or really cheap and transforming them into something beautiful. I knew I could make something out of these ugly vinyl trash cans I found on clearance for $1…

trashcan to outdoor candle lantern


{In case you were wondering, I got these on a final clearance sale at Home Depot — a set of 3 trash cans for $1. Yes, I’m kicking myself for only getting one set! I haven’t seen them there since, but I have seen something similar at the Dollar Store.} So, I snatched up these floral beauties and the first thing I did was rip off the ugly plastic that makes up the “walls” of the trash can. I saw the gorgeous shape of the frame and I was smitten! Along with a few mason jars I already had in my stash, I knew these would perfect for some DIY outdoor hanging lanterns.

Mason Jar Candle Holder



  • 1 trash can {metal frame}
  • mason jar
  • 18 gauge wire
  • wire cutters
  • scissors
  • 1 1/4″ cup hook
  • small “s” hook
  • roman shade clip {that is the pear-shaped thing I used at the top of the lantern… just because it was already in my husband’s tool box!} You could use anything that opens & closes securely 🙂
making an outdoor candle pendant


1. Gather your supplies

2. Grab your ugly trash can and start cutting!

3. Peel the vinyl down from each side and cut away from the rim of the can.

4. Now you have your beautiful metal frame ready to go!

making an outdoor pendant light

5.  Cut 2 pieces of wire, about 8″ longer than the width of the metal frame.

6. Wrap the end of the wire around one corner of the frame. This thickness of wire is sturdy, but still pretty easy to wrap by hand.

7. Cross over to the opposite corner and wrap it around both sides, then a few extra loops to secure.

8. Trim off any excess with your wire cutters.

outdoor candle lantern


9. Attach the second piece of wire in the same way, making an X in the middle of your frame.

10. This time, make a loop in the center of the wire before you attach and secure the corner.

11. When both sides are attached, pull the loop up and twist it in the center of the X. This becomes your lantern hanger at the top.

12. Now take your small “s” hook and wiggle it down into the base of the loop.

outdoor lantern


13. This “s” hook is where you will hang your mason jar.

14. I got lucky and had these really cool jars in my stash that already have a wire handle attached. (But, you could easily make something similar with a regular mason jar, wire, and pliers to bend and shape the handle.)

15. For the hanger at the top of the lantern, I used this pear-shaped thingy I found in my husband’s tool box! I found out it is used for securing roman shades, but any hook that closes would work fine.

16. My new outdoor lantern is ready to hang up! I screwed a cup hook into the ceiling of our front porch. It worked perfectly because there were already a few small screws in place, and I just replaced 2 of them with the hooks for my lanterns!

upcycled candle lantern


I added a small white candle in the bottom of my jars, and that’s it! Now I have two new beautiful lanterns for my updated front porch:

mason jar light
Here’s a close up…
mason jar light
Want to see what my porch looked like last week, and how it looks now?
porch update
At night, the new lanterns cast off a beautiful glow and really warm up our new sitting area!
outdoor candle lantern
We hope you enjoyed this simple “trash to treasure” idea! Here are some of our other favorite upcycle projects:
upcycled chair
shopping bag aprons
icecream parlor
We’d love for you to check out some of our free printables, and DIY home decor projects too. Thanks for having us Beckie, we can’t wait to come back next month!

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  1. wow this is a great idea, have you guys tired buying wires that are bendable? that way you can bed the lantern in any shape!

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