Bleach Bottle Lanterns - DIY Guide

oCe had the idea to make some lanterns for camps out of bleach bottles. I was curious to try a paint can because they’re made out of a similar, but thicker plastic. I work at a paint store and have access to a lot of old, used paint cans, so I figured: Another man’s trash is MY treasure.

I did a quick rough of the idea I wanted to put on my paint can with a silver metallic sharpie and went to cutting it with a break-away Olfa blade.

It cut pretty smoothly, but I had a lot of problems with breaking the tips off my blade. This knife worked well for the straighter cuts, but really wasn’t helpful for the more jagged lines I wanted to incorporate into my design.

So my second thought was to try a Dremmel, or a rotary tool, to cut and shape my design. I used it to help round off the sharp edges the knife had left in my initial cuts, then began to carve a channel that my tool could “route” itself into.

This is the design finished with a flash light from Harbor Freight in the bottom of the can. The one problem I’ve found with the rotary tool is that the plastic that these paint cans are made from is really soft and can easily gum up your tips. I had a block of wood at arms reach so I could quickly clean the plastic off my tips by pressing to tool into the block of wood in the instances where it got gummed up. It’s easy enough to be patient and take your time making quick, short mars and cuts into this soft plastic so that your tool doesn’t get clogged or bogged down with the plastic. But in my own excitement, I kind of rushed through it.

I found a black plastic can from work and wondered how that would block or redistribute the light in side the can differently. I’m pleased with the results!

This was a fun project and I’m excited to have some rockin’ cans around my camp to help light up the night!

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Also, if any one else wants to try using a paint can for their lantern, I have plenty of extras! I have quart sized plastic cans, gallon sized, and 1 5 gallon bucket (that may be reserved for us to get water to put camp fires out with before bed time, etc) but I can get a hold of any of these sized cans!

Have you tried beer cans?