Plug Cans with Ice
Fill cans with water and freeze them. The plug of ice will keep the can firm for punching. You’ll be making holes with a hammer and an awl or a chisel, and if you just start pounding away, you’ll have a mangled mess.
Create a Steady Surface
Build a jig to hold the cans steady while you work. Screw scrap 1 x 1s to the long sides of a board (a 1 x 6 was used here).
Draw templates, thinking of them as reverse stencils; the lines are the negative space through which the light will shine. We provided free templates above in “download plans”.
Punch out The Design
Clamp a frozen can to the jig, and use a marker to trace on the image. With a hammer and an awl (for dotted lines) or a chisel (for wider slits), puncture the metal. When you’re done, run the can under hot water, dump out the ice, and clean off any remaining ink.
Attach a Handle
Snip a length of 18- to 21-gauge wire and attach it to the can through two holes punched on opposite sides near the rim. Use pliers to crimp the ends closed.
Place a tea light or LEDs at the bottom of each can and they’re ready for display!