I tried to do these a few years ago, but gave up when I couldn't get the nail through the can! But now I'm self isolating I had more time to work it out!
I saved a whole load of cans for various projects, so grabbed some cans as well as a hammer, different sized nails, a marker pen and a towel (to keep the can steady).
The first thing to do is to draw on the can the patterns you want to achieve. You can always go freestyle too, but drawing the pattern helps you to visualise the final look. Put dots spaced out on your design where the holes will go. You can go as intricate as you like, but think of your fingers & thumbs, as this will make them sore after a while!
I chose a few different lengths of nails to see which worked best. I started with a thin nail which was good for getting the hole started, although at first I chose one too short and made it difficult, so chose a longer thin nail instead which worked great. Once a hole is created you can then experiment with thicker nails to get different effects.
Hold the nail close to the can and give it a good hit with the hammer, watch those thumbs though!
After a while you will get the flow on how to do it and before long your pattern will appear!
You'll then need to create a larger hole either side of the can at the top, so that you can attach a handle later on.
I did several different designs and then went out into the garden for the second stage... colour!!
You don't have to colour your cans, especially if they're only going to up in the pitch black, but if you're going to have them hanging up at a BBQ or gathering, then it's nice to see a bit of colour too.
I chose to mark out some shapes to make the cans two tone. So with some masking tape, mark out some shapes on the cans. It's good to remember that you will then have to mask off the areas which you have then coloured afterwards, so don't go too crazy with the designs! Here are a few I tried...
Next is the best bit! Spray painting the colours on. Make sure that you do this somewhere very ventilated, like your garden/yard as the fumes are toxic. I am fortunate enough to also have a specialist spray mask too, if you don't have one, use a regular paper or cloth version which will be better than nothing, otherwise you'll be geting a horrible headache later.
Next find something to put your cans on to to spray so that you don't spoil your patio/table. I have a big piece of wood I use for this purpose, but you could just use some newspapers.
You can spray one colour, or you can add a few spray effects with a different colour to make it blend .
Once you have done your first spray job, leave them out to dry... go make a cuppa and come back later to remove the first layer of masking tape...
You could leave it there, or add a second colour. If you want to do this you will need to cover the colour you have just sprayed with masking tape and then spray your new colour on. Here are my finished colour jobs...
Next you need to add some wire as a handle. This is so that you don't burn yourself picking up the can once the candle has made it hot... as well as allowing you to hang them up. Please remember though that when hanging them, make sure you don't hang them from something flamable or meltable!
Here are my finished lanterns...
All that is needed now are some tea lights, a lighter or matches and darkness! (on hindsight, I think I could have sprayed the insides too, as the colours are seen through the holes, maybe next time!)