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JOY Holiday Tin Luminaries

Repurpose your old tins to make these beautiful DIY joy holiday luminaries!

Luminarias, an ancient Spanish Christmas tradition, are typically brown paper bags filled with sand and illuminated with candles. The tradition has continued throughout the Southwest as a way to welcome travelers and guide them along their journey. Mostly, they just look pretty.

Here’s my more modernized version of luminarias, JOY tin luminarias. I love that this version can be reused year after year. I can’t wait to place these outside on Christmas Eve. So, save your cans and reuse them as beautiful holiday décor.

If you're like me, the holiday season is also the time of year when relatives overload my mailbox with popcorn tins. Use this tutorial to turn your larger tins into luminaries as well! Since you have more room on the larger tins, you can get creative and swap the letters "J-O-Y" with 

  • 3 Large cans or tins (I used family sized, 5 inch tall cans of green beans)
  • JOY Template
  • Tape
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Towel
  • Red Spray Paint

Step 1: Fill 3 clean and empty cans with water 1/2 inch from the top. Freeze for at least 12 hours or until solid.

This will prevent the cans from bending when you hammer them. The bottom will look misshapen from the ice expanding, but we’ll fix that later.

Step 2: Print out the JOY template and tape each letter around the frozen cans. The tape will probably have a difficult time sticking to the frozen can, so you’ll have to cut a piece long enough to overlap.

Step 3: Place the J can on a towel and hammer a nail into each of the x’s. Repeat with the O and Y cans. 

Step 4: Remove the paper templates and run under hot water until the ice melts. Beware of sharp edges.

Step 5: In a well-ventilated area, spray paint the cans red. I recommend doing 3-4 light coats and allowing dry time in between coats so the paint doesn’t run. Allow to dry.

Step 6: Place a tea light candle inside each can to illuminate the JOY design.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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