14 January 2013

Australia Day Recyclable Lanterns

We celebrate Australia day with a barbecue, sometimes in the backyard at home, sometimes in the bush, sometimes at the park. However we celebrate we start at lunchtime and enjoy the day as it slowly progresses into evening.

A really nice way to enjoy summer evenings is by lantern light, it's a great "mood" lighting.

You can buy lanterns of course. Or you can be a Cheapskate and make them. I like these old fashioned tin lanterns, made from recycled tuna and fruit cans (well washed of course).

Basically you take an empty tin can and hammer a festive pattern of holes on the can using a small nail. That's it in a nutshell.

If you need a few more detailed instructions and a couple of tips to make it easier, keep reading.

Step 1. Choose your can, and make sure the top edge is smooth and safe. My can opener does this, you may need to carefully fold the edge over if it's sharp. Wash it well in soapy water and dry it thoroughly. Fill the can with water and freeze it. This will make punching the design so much easier as the nail will punch into the ice and the can will keep it's shape.

Step 2. While the can is freezing, choose your design. Look online, use the kids' colouring books for simple line drawings you can copy or if you're very clever you can draw your design freehand. For example you could have stars as the design, or boomerangs or kangaroos, or perhaps wattle or a gum tree - whatever takes your fancy. Use a fine Sharpie marker (or similar) to transfer your design to your can using evenly spaced dots (one for each nail hole).

Step 3. Place the tin  on a folded tea towel or a cutting board, so it doesn't move around when you are punching the design. This is so you have a base to nail into. It just makes it easier than trying to not punch the nail right through the can.

Step 4. Using the nail and the hammer, carefully dot out the design, turning the can as needed to complete the design.

Step 5. Insert a tea light candle and you have a beautiful Australia Day lantern.

You can paint the can if you want to. White or cream looks nice, or you could go green and gold for Australia day, but I like the natural metal look of the cans as they weather.

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