DIY Diaries: Beautiful Wall Lamp From Empty Tin Can

  • tin-can-light
    Use any tin can - baby food, paint, soda cans
  • tin-can-light-drill
    Drill holes using a hammer
  • tin-can-light

Light fixtures are usually expensive, a simple wall light fixture can set you back by a thousand bucks. But what if you can make one yourself from things lying around in the house, things that you are almost certainly about to chuck in the waste? If it sounds interesting, check out how to make this beautiful wall lamp shade from a used tin can (in this case, an empty baby food can).

Things You Need:

1. Empty Tin Can – Any tin can such as those for baby food, paints, big soda cans or any type of food can. Make sure it is big enough to accommodate your light and a holder (which measures around an inch). Avoid using pressurized tin cans such as deodorants, mosquito sprays, etc as it is dangerous to cut them and they can most likely be inflammable.

2. Hammer – Small or medium sized. If you do not have one at home, you can easily buy it from your nearest hardware store or even a supermarket.

3. Nail – A nail to drill the holes (should be sharp enough and exactly the size that you want the holes on the light fixture to be).

4. Bulb Holder – You can use your existing bulb holder which is already fixed on the wall or buy one from an electrical shop. Make sure the holder you use has a plastic covering, as tin can conduct electricity if it comes in contact with the exposed metal of a holder. A holder will cost between INR 10 and 20.

5. Line Tester – It will help you check for any electricity flowing in the wire and you can also use it as a screwdriver to fix the wires to the holder. Available at your nearest electrical shop.

5. Electric Drill (optional) – If you have an electric drill, you do not need a hammer and a nail. It is easier and quicker to make holes using the drill. You can buy it at a local hardware shop or even online and these are generally priced around INR 1500 to 3000.

How To

1. The idea is to attach a holder on the bottom of the can by making a hole in it. If you are not comfortable drilling and connecting wires, wear safety gears such as gloves and shoes.

2. Remove the lid of the can. Using the nail and hammer (or drill), make a hole at the centre of the can at the bottom (you’ll use this to insert the wire from the wall). Now make holes around the can in a similar way in any design you like. You can also paint the can to make it look prettier (optional).

3. Once you’ve made the holes, start working on the area where you want to add the fixture on the wall. Turn off the light and unscrew the wires connecting the holder (use the tester or screwdriver). Make sure you’re wearing all required safety gear. Check the line using the tester – if the tester glows after you’ve turned off the switch, it either means it’s not the right switch or there’s something wrong – consult a professional electrician in such a case. Do not touch any exposed wire and see that no exposed wire touches the tin can. If you have any concerns, have an electrician do this for you.

4. Insert the two wires (that you removed from the wall) into the hole that you made at the top of the can. Screw the wires onto the holder and let it hang inside the can. Alternatively, you can drill a bigger hole and screw the holder on the can’s surface. Insert the bulb into the holder and turn on the switch. Done.


The safest material to use is plastic as it doesn’t conduct electricity and is easy to cut. Glass bottles can create beautiful effects, but be very careful, as cutting glass at home is not easy or safe. One advantage of using a tin can is that it is internally reflective, which means the light will show off better.

If you do try this out at home, do send us the pictures and tell us about it. Feel free to ask us if you have any queries as well.

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