Tin can tea light: Why compound lever tin snips are the best tool you'll own

Some tools are so useful you can’t believe you survived without them - the Compound Lever Tin Snip is one of those tools.

It’s like owning a pair of Superman scissors - they cut through metal like normal scissors cut through paper. This project, a tea light holder made from an old tin can, highlights there capabilities perfectly.

Tea light holder made from a tin can
Who said baked beans and a naked flame don’t mix…

Now you make one

You’ll find instructions on how to make your own tin can tea light holder below, I’ve also included a stencil for download, this should make marking up the can much quicker.

Download stencil

Tin can tea light holder: how-to illustration
Can't read the instructions?

What you'll need

One tin can, a pair of compound lever tin snips (standard tin snips will do), a marker pen, ruler, pliers and a hot glue gun.

Step 1

Take the empty tin can and peel off the label. Hold onto the lid, you’ll need that later.

Step 2

Cut around the top of the tin using the tin snips, removing the lip.

Step 3

Cut out the stencil and wrap it around the can (starting from the seam). Use a permanent marker to mark even intervals on the top and bottom of the can. Join the marks using a ruler, and then snip along the lines using the tin snips.

Step 4

Orient the tin can so the base is on top. Now bend every other strip upwards, as shown in illustration 5.

Step 5

Next, curl the ‘bottom’ strips around a pencil, so they create the spiral shape shown in illustration 6, these are the feet.

Step 6

Now take the pliers and shape the ‘top’ strips, firstly by putting two folds towards each end, and then by curving the central section, use illustration 7 as reference.

Step 7

Take the lid and draw a circle around the tea light, use the tin snips to cut around the line.

Step 8

The next step is a bit fiddly. You need to overlap the ends of the top strips, in an alternating fashion (if they are too long trim them) and then apply hot glue to secure them, before attaching the tin disc with more hot glue.

Go your own way

Once you’ve got your hands on a pair of compound lever tin snips the world is your oyster. Hang onto bicuit tins, tin cans and soda cans - they are all waiting to be transformed, just start snipping!

Left illustration
Right illustration