DIY Luminaries/Lanterns with Recycled Materials You Already Have at Home! ~ Create it. Go!

Monday, October 19, 2015

DIY Luminaries/Lanterns with Recycled Materials You Already Have at Home!

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All opinions are mine alone. 

What do you do with those Christmas tree lights that only have half of the lights working on them? Throw them out? Well, don't! I've got a fun little DIY project you can use them for today! 

DIY Luminaries or Lanterns

I love DIY projects! It's fun to create! BUT...normally I have to go out and get a bunch of supplies to make them. This one however, I bet you have nearly everything you need already in your home! PLUS, this DIY project can also double as a little science lesson for your kids. It's simple, safe, and fun! AND all made from recycled materials!

This is what you'll need to get started:

Christmas tree lights
Electrical Tape
Cans (Just save a few of your tomato sauce or vegetable cans this week and wash them out.)
Wire cutters/strippers
Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ AA batteries
Paint (optional)
Accessories (optional)

Like I said, this is also a fun little project to do with your kids, no matter the age. They make it what they want it to be! So let's get started!

First thing you do is to wash your cans and make sure there are no sharp edges. I use the can openers that don't create sharp edges when opening. Let the cans dry.

Next, choose some colors and paint your cans. I just grabbed some spray paint for mine and it went really fast! I wanted some of them to have that rusted look, so I did a red base coat, and then brown on top. I love the way they came out!

While they are drying, you can work on the lighting for your can luminaries. Take your strand of Christmas tree lights that have SOME working lights on it, and cut off the working lights with your wire cutters. 

                You want to leave about an inch of space on each wire coming from the light.

Then strip back about a quarter inch to reveal the copper wire.

Let your kids have fun making the Christmas tree lights turn on, by creating a circuit with some Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ AA batteries and your Christmas lights. Just take the copper and tape it with the electrical tape to each end of the battery.

I picked Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ AA batteries for this project at my local "it-seems-to-have-everything-I-need" Walmart 

because Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ is a breakthrough in creating value for recycled battery materials – which until today had little use or economic value. This is the first battery on the market to use recycled batteries/materials and they are also "Energizer's® longest lasting alkaline ever". I love that almost every single thing in this little DIY project is recycled!

Okay, you're lights are ready and your cans should be dry. Now you'll want to fill your cans with water (leaving a little bit of space at the top for expansion) and then freeze them. 

This way, when you go to make you designs in your can, they won't dent in when filled with ice.

While they are freezing, find some designs to punch into your cans. I found some of mine online or had some already on my computer and printed them onto printer paper. You'll want some pretty basic ones for this project.

When my cans were frozen, I took my designs and just placed them on top of the cans and was ready to use my hammer and nail(s). Just follow the lines on the designs and pound holes with your hammer and nail evenly spaced apart.

When you pull the paper off, a little bit of it might stick to the frozen can, but no worries. 

Take your ice filled cans now and put them in some water to soak a bit, so that the ice melts enough that it will come out. AND the small bits of paper come right off too!

For a couple of my designs, I tried using two different sized nails to create different sized holes. It was fun to see how they came out like this pumpkin and the chandelier shown below:

Ok, now you can take your Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ battery powered Christmas light circuits and place them into each can creating a luminary.

At this point, I also decided to add a little more embellishment to each can just to make them a bit more decorative and I love the way they came out. 

Kind of a rustic little lantern/luminary or a great night light for the kids' room! The sky is the limit with the designs, from sports to monograms, to anything! 

I love the fun ones I got making these DIY Luminaries/Lanterns and I love the little science lesson kids can have fun learning making circuits with your recycled Christmas lights and Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ AA batteries! What has been your favorite recycled DIY project you have made? I love hearing from you!


Carolyn said...

I am loving these! I want to make a whole bunch of them for Halloween and put them out on our porch. What a great idea to get the kids involved too. I have to admit, you stumped me when you mentioned filling them with water... but I would never have thought to do that before punching the designs into them. Great idea. #client

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Miguelez said...

You made this look pretty easy. I'm always up for a nice LED project but sometimes it's a bit over my head. This is a great project for anyone to try. Looking forward to next Christmas!