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4th of July Luminaries

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One of the best parts of celebrating the 4th of July is staying up late to do fireworks and partying with family and friends.  If you want to jazz up your 4th of July party, why not make these easy 4th of July luminaries to add some ambiance to your dinner party?  I got this idea from here and I loved how she made the words her font.  I used candles for my luminaries but you could just as easily drill a hole in the back for icicle lights to go in and out and even hang your luminaries up!

4th of july tin can luminaries

It gets dark really late in Utah, but you don’t have to wait until it’s pitch black to enjoy luminaries…just set them up on your table and the red, white, and blue will add festivity until the sun sets. Then everyone will see the cool message on your luminaries and be like WOAH!

patriotic luminaries

Tin can luminaries are easy to make, as I shared last year with my Halloween luminaries. For this project, I used smaller cans I saved and washed.


  • Tin cans
  • Mallet
  • Awl
  • Printed Letters

4th of july luminaries

The first thing you do after washing out your cans is filling them with water and freezing them until solid (like overnight.)

Then you will want to print some large letters with a cool font. I opted to use a font with a strong serif so that it would show through when I punched it in the tin. My letters were about 2.5″ tall.

4th of july luminaries_1

Wrap the letter paper around the can and tape in the back so it doesn’t shift. You will probably have to wipe down your can of the frost.

4th of july luminaries_2

You have to work quickly since the melting frost will make you paper wet and unusable. Start hammering your awl into the letter, filling the space of the letter with little dots of varying sizes. You can get varying sizes by hammering harder or softer.

Once you’re done with the letter, remove the paper and dump out the ice inside (run hot water over it.) Then pound down the bottom of the can to be flat…it will be warped from the freezing water inside.

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Then spray paint your can with red, white, or blue. That’s it!  Just put some tea lights inside and you’re good to go!  You can use these year after year.

usa luminaries

Aren’t they pretty?  I’m going to be demonstrating how to make these on TV this friday, the 4th.  If you’re local, it’s channel 2 news in the morning!

tin can luminaries 4th of july

How are you celebrating the 4th?


  1. What a great, simple idea. Probably something even I could handle…

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Yes, they really are easy and pretty fun. I love these for Halloween also!

  2. Just…so…great Heidi! We’re adding this into our Labor day decorations post and I’ll get a link over to you as soon as it’s live. Thanks Jamie

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:


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