DIY Aluminum Lanterns + Vases

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. 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!

  2. @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 πŸ™‚

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. @Caitlin let us know which store and lanterns you’re referring to, we’d love to see how they compare πŸ™‚

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    1. 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!

  8. Hi Amanda, yes that helps πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

  9. 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!!!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

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

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