DIY Aluminum Lanterns + Vases

DIY Projects

I originally came up with this idea as a good way to practice before I made a pendant lamp for our home, using the cloverleaf pattern below, and I just had to share them with you. Inspired by Moroccan lanterns, I used perforated metal sheets often used on radiator covers to create little lanterns and vases. You can also thread wire or ribbon on them to mark table numbers. They look as cute in daylight as they look when lit!

DIY lanterns made from radiator perforated metal sheets
DIY lanterns made from radiator perforated metal sheets

– perforated metal sheets or upcycle them from used radiator covers (found in places like here)
– tin snips + fine sand paper for metal
– 20 or 22 gauge wire
– flat pliers
– spray paint

DIY lanterns made from radiator perforated metal sheets

DIY lanterns made from radiator perforated metal sheets DIY lanterns made from radiator perforated metal sheets

Create templates on a piece of paper to play with the proportions before you begin cutting the metal sheet. Once you have all the templates you’d like to use, outline them with a pencil on the metal sheet. Slowly cut your rectangles away. To create the round cylinders, I used the help of the spray can I used to paint them. Wrap the metal sheet cutouts around the can (or a bottle or jar) and roll them a few times. It doesn’t matter if the size of your lanterns are not same as your can-roller, this is just to help you get a round shape. Once you tie the ends you won’t notice any bends that you would have seen if you had tried by hand.

DIY lanterns made from radiator perforated metal sheets

Thread both ends of your cylinder using 20 or 22 gauge wire and twist tight using pliers. Cut excess wire. Before spray painting, you can insert newspaper in the lantern to avoid spray paint from going through. This gives a two-tone coloring and it conceals the wire closure. To use them as vases, you can simply add kitchen-size glasses before adding flowers. See many more of the step-by-step images below!

View Step-by-Step Instructions

43 comments
  1. Sarah

    I am in love with this idea! They would look terrific on my patio :)

  2. Phyllis {My Wedding Concierge}

    Gorgeous!!! I’ll have to try this for our summer parties!

  3. shipra

    completely adorable in every way!!!

  4. Caitlin

    I love these lanterns! I saw some similar style lanterns in a store recently and they were $60 each, so to be able to make them this easily is fabulous!

  5. Anne From Shire Weddings

    Lovely, although I would worry about sharp edges (from the cut tin) and little fingers!! I guess you can fold over any sharp bits.

  6. Tammi

    Love this it’s gorgeous! x

  7. Amanda

    @Anne you can cut a straight edge if you’d like. I cut them through a line of small holes and left the left the semi-circle edge out, but you could also file them away or cut through the solid metal space :)

  8. Anna Auva

    Wow, these are amazing ideas.Thank you for sharing them. Now you have given me an idea on what to use as decor accents for my sister’s wedding tables. These would look great at night in a wedding occasion. Love your brilliant ideas – can’t wait to hear more from you…I have bookmarked your site!

  9. Linda Morroni

    Love this lantern idea. I’m having a patio installed and think they will look great. My daughter is getting married in July and I just had her bridal shower. I collected teacups since she was 15…she’s 26 now…to give away as favors. It was a great success…stop by and let me know what you think. Linda

  10. Amanda

    @Caitlin let us know which store and lanterns you’re referring to, we’d love to see how they compare :)

  11. Crystal

    Love this! So simple!

  12. CourtneyOutLoud

    I think those are beautiful!

  13. Ever - The red house by the lake

    Amazing!!

    I would love to have those ones at my wedding, but wonder if it is possible to buy that kind of sheets where I live. Thank you for sharing, they look wonderful!

  14. Rhiannon

    These are pure perfection!! So gorgeous :) Xo

  15. Amelia@ Wind Chimes

    Hi Amanda. I got your blog from centsationalgirl.

    I have two Moroccan lanterns – one in my living room and one in my patio. All I can say is that this DIY is a great help. You gave me an idea on my next project. I’m planning to redecorate and accessorize my garden this coming summer. These lantern and vases would be perfect for that.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Ashley @ DesignBuildLove.co

    new follower for sure! Just hopped over from Centsational Girl’s blog. :) LOVE your Morrocan lanterns! Can’t wait to make some. :)

  17. Steph @ BirdHouse Family

    These look great! I’ll definitely be making some.

  18. Jenny ~ Something Old, Something New

    Love these. Very pretty! I think I’ll have to make some

  19. Catherine

    AWESOME idea!

    ~Cat

  20. Sunflower florist

    Very pretty.. love them

  21. jesslope

    oh so sweet looking. I may have to try this.

  22. Katie @ Wildwood Creek

    Inspired! Beautiful and creative.

  23. Divya N

    These looks amazing…beautiful…

  24. Jamie

    Thanks for sharing- what a great idea! They are so versatile, for all occassions!! Perfect! Can you tell me how many “lanterns” (and sizes) you can get out of one sheet?

    • Amanda

      It depends on what size lanterns you want to make. I think I made 5 lanterns – 3 for pillar candles and 2 votives using scrap materials.

      Hope this helps!

  25. Jamie

    Hi Amanda, yes that helps :) thank you! I was also curious, did you have a bottom to these pretty lanterns? I saw the same kind Caitlin was talking about, b/c I really wanted them as well – it was on Crate & Barrel’s site. Thanks again for the fab idea :)

  26. Lanterns for Weddings

    Thats so creative! Thanks for the great idea

  27. Michelle

    So where do you get these cool metal radiator covers?

  28. Amanda

    Michelle,

    I got these perforated metal sheets at Home Depot.

    Hope this helps!

  29. Rosie Parsons

    Love love love love! Am going to make for my 30th birthday party. Such a smart idea!

  30. Cindy Hartman

    My husband and I are outdoor lovers…we would stay on our porch all year long if the weather allowed…can’t wait to make these as we have candles all over the place as it is!!!

  31. Kate

    Absolutely beautiful. And thank you for providing information on where to get the perforated metal sheets! Can’t wait to try this out.

  32. Ella

    These are irresistible. I featured this lovely article on my blog! I can’t wait to get started on making them :)

  33. Candie

    Radiator covers?! This is the best upcycle I’ve seen in a long time! Love it! Keep the clever ideas comin’! :) You should totally enter this project in Craftbaby’s ‘Upcycle Challenge’! http://www.craftbaby.com/contests/3/upcycle-it-sweeps

  34. Christina

    These look great! I’ve also been thinking about how to use perforated sheet metal to build a pendant lamp. Did you build yours after the above practicing, and if so, any advice? Thanks for sharing!

  35. topanga

    Oh how great! I was just at Home Depot pulling myself away from these beautiful metal sheets because i couldn’t think of a good use for them. Perfect!

  36. Linda

    Would you please contact me about this post which you submitted to The Happy Housewife’s Homemade Christmas Gift series last year. We would like permission to include it in an ebook.

  37. Ashley

    I love the light they give off!!

  38. Jennifer

    The sheets also can be ordered through Amazon.

  39. Jen

    Are there bottoms to these lovely lanterns?? I was assuming they had bottoms but I didn’t see anything in the how-to.

  40. Aaron Thornburg

    Amazing. Love it so much :)

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