Learn how to make durable Chinese lanterns from soda cans! Paint them any color and fill with LED tea lights. Great upcycle decor for all occasions and unlike paper lanterns they last a long time. You can also hang them as is without lighting for a daytime event. We used LED tea lights with timers for these. Just like the ones used for our Upcycled Ceiling Fan.
Chinese Lantern Supplies
NOTE ABOUT SHARP EDGES: Most soda cans are now made with very thin, soft aluminum. It would be difficult to get cut on them.
- Soda cans (with tab still attached )
- Spray paint (We used Krylon Rich Plumb Gloss and Krylon Sun Yellow)
- Utility knife
- Raffia etc. for hanging
- Tea Lights, Battery Operated (this is the exact set I purchased which works on a timer 6 hours on 18 off) *
Note on these specific tea lights: I’ve not had mine long enough to determine the usage on these specific lights but from what I read it will be about two to three months if they are kept on the timer 24/7. The way the timer works is you turn them on at the time you want them to stay lit for 6 hours. They will then auto shut off for 18 hours and come on again the next day.
Video How To
You can measure around the can and make tiny marks where you will cut. You can also just eyeball it and cut, which is what I did. Make sure to keep the tab on!
Fill the can with water to about 1/2″ from the top and freeze. If you fill it too full it can split the can.
Frozen water in can.
Make cuts with a knife about 1/2″ apart and about 1″ or so from the top and bottom.
Set the can in the sink to let the ice melt.
Once the ice is melted paint the can. Handle the tab very carefully as you want it to stay firmly affixed to the can for hanging.
Carefully push down, making sure the cuts go outward.
Add battery operate tea lights if desired.
Carefully place them in the lantern.
Despite the name, “Trash the Dress” is really about taking photos in very unusual situations while wearing your wedding dress. Should you choose, some of those ways can be fairly dramatic… and the dress might not make it out alive. But others are not so final in outcome and can even have very personal and lasting meaning.
No matter which route you choose, we’ve got a wonderful unique list of trash the dress ideas below that you can read and download plus a printable planning sheet and the list of ideas to help you decide how you want to handle this special tradition. Then you can take a peek at our daughter Jennifer’s beautiful Trash the Dress session below.
- Rollin’ In It Squirt paint onto a large area covered in plastic sheeting and roll in it.
- Hit Me With Your Best Shot! Get shot with paint ball guns.
- Go Hog Wild! Roll in the mud.
- Back to the Future: The bride and groom write messages to their future selves all over the dress in permanent sharpie markers.
- Hanging With the Homies Spray paint it with one large piece of graffiti art.
- Ease On Down the Road Ride a three wheeler through the dirt or mud.
- A Picture Paints a Thousand Words Let little kids surround you and finger paint all over it.
- Out On a Limb! Climb a tree.
- Here Kitty, Kitty… Let kittens attach themselves to the lower part of the dress.
- Piece of Cake! Sit on the ground eating a huge piece of your wedding cake, chocolate is best, with cake and icing smeared all over your face and the dress.
- Can I Have Your Autograph? Everyone at the wedding or reception autographs your dress with sharpie markers. You can buy them in various colors too!
- Taking Root Compost your dress and plant a tree with it. (Natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, hemp etc.)
- Last Kiss Have guests put on red lipstick and cover the dress in kisses.
- Security Blanket Have a quilting party and cut it up and make a quilt out of the pieces.
- Don’t Burst My Bubble Sit in a bathtub overflowing with bubbles.
- New Beginnings Make a christening or blessing gown or suit for a new baby.
- For the Birds Sitting on the ground with the dress spread out, cover yourself with bread or birdseed near a pond with tame ducks or near a spot with lots of pigeons.
- No Strings Attached Give guests silly string. They squirt the bride with it while photos are taken.
- Full of Hot Air Attach helium filled balloons all over and around the dress.
- I’m Kinda Buried Right Now Bury the bride in a semi filled shallow hole with the dress sticking out in places.
- High Five! Guests dip hands in paint and place handprints all over the brides dress.
- You Light Up My Life String twinkle lights all around the bride.
- Head Over Heels Bride climbs monkey bars, hangs upside down. (Make sure the bride has underwear on. Ü)
- In Your Face Everyone tosses cream filled foil pie plates at the bride.
- Over My Dead Body Photograph the bride in a graveyard at night.
- Peeping Tom Eye Holes are cut in the dress and the groom gets under it and peers out.
- Come Rain Or Shine Photograph the bride in a rainstorm.
- Tie the Knot Bride is tied up completely with rope.
- A Drop in the Bucket Give guests buckets of water. Take photos at everyone pitches the water onto the bride.
- Zombie Apocalypse The bride is made to look like a Zombie with Halloween makeup and the dress is likewise converted to Zombie wear.
- Close To My Heart Purchase pendants that allow you to put photos in them. One’s with clear fronts are perfect! Put pieces of our wedding dress into them to keep and/or give to female family members.
Download Planning & Idea Kit
Contains a pdf of all the above ideas plus a sheet to plan your own Trash the Dress.
Jennifer was married on our property on a secluded hilltop in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She had a beautiful Fairyland Wedding which we wrote about previously.
For her Trash the Dress she choose the nearby Gulpha Gorge which is a stunning area complete with a creek. Her sister Amy did the photography.
Looking for something different to do for your wedding or reception? Invite the fairies! (Well, not literally though we can’t promise that they won’t attend.) Our daughter decided to have a fairyland themed outdoor wedding and reception combined. So we’re sharing her ideas and hints on how to add a little magic to your own special day. Plus we’ve got lots of photos!
To have a country type fairy themed wedding with a casual, fun feel and to feed the guests a full meal and have it all cost less than $2000. (You could do a fairy wedding for less if you desired using some of these great ideas and adapting them.)
The theme colors were taken entirely from this pieces of artwork entitled Oak Fairy by Josephine Wall. This is a great way to choose color pallets. Find some artwork you love the feel and energy of and use it as a focal point for colors. This artwork was perfect in content and colors for what she wanted.
The beautiful wedding dress you see cost…..<drum roll>….. $200 including shipping. She ordered it from a company/seller in China named mz_ioc on eBay. They have a large selection of styles and prices, all very inexpensive. The quality was wonderful. They take wedding dress photos from catalogs and custom make a “similar” version (not exact) to your measurements. She said when she received hers she had to adjust the sides just a bit to make it fit right – but it was worth every penny! Since she was going for a specific color scheme she bought some craft store flowers and pieced together a small bouquet to attach to the front of the dress.
Foot Attire: She chose to go barefoot as that seemed to fit the setting.
Groom & Ring Bearer Clothes
The Groom wore an inexpensive white linen shirts and tan pants to keep it simple as did Jennifer’s son Ashton who was the Ring Bearer. Purple fabric was purchased to make them matching vests.
Rather than the standard ring pillow a small artificial bonsai tree was purchased from craft store to hang the rings from as the ring bearer brought them up.
Goodies for Guests
A dozen fairy wings were made for the gals and a dozen head wreaths for the guys. Those who wanted to wear them could!
Fairy Wings: The wings were purchased online through an inexpensive party supply store. (We could not find the same one but this eBay seller from China has some smaller 19″ wide one’s that would work.) As the wings were not the right color they were easily spray painted. Three colors from the color scheme were used to give a gradient effect. Some glitter spray was also used. The wings came with cheap flowers in the center of each one which were removed before spraying. Then nicer flower’s that matched were glued to the center instead.
The wings were tied to the back of random chairs and the garlands were hung over random chairs.
Head Garland: The garlands were made from a long single strand pip garland 18′ long. It was cut into pieces and curled around two or three times to create the head garland then tied together.
Gift Bags: Gift bags were made to give everyone who attended as they left. They held a small triangular tea bag with a leaf tag , little mirrors from the crafts store with “Happily Ever After” in vinyl on the glass , cookies in the shape of sunflowers, and a few other things we can’t remember.
The wedding was held in Roy and my yard which was surrounded by trees. Jennifer did the following to turn the back yard into fairyland.
Lanterns: Battery operated paper lanterns were purchased to hang in the tree’s for evening time. Small paper butterfly silhouettes in the theme color were cut, bent so the wings would stand out a little and then glued onto the lanterns.
Fabric: Jennifer found a good deal on some wonderful silky fabric in her colors. She purchased yards and yards of it. Some of it had sparkles. It was perfect and was used to drape in various places such as the doors and hanging as backdrops from ropes tied between trees.
Photography: The brides sister, who is a professional photographer, took the staged photos. A couple of disposable cameras were placed on each table so guest could take photos for the bride and groom.
Doors Backdrop: An old set of doors were used as the backdrop for the ceremony and for photos afterwards. These can easily be found at larger thrift stores. They were draped with some fabric and a simple plaque was made with “Happily Ever After” on it to hang above the doors. Half curtain rods were stuck into the ground on each side of the door to drape fabric onto.
Tables, Chairs & Awning Tents: These were rented.
Table Decorations: Tablecloths were purchased from Wal-Mart in a matching color. Standing fairy dolls were ordered for each table. They were given as gifts at the end to those who helped. Flat clear marble pebbles were purchased at a thrift store to sprinkle on the tables. Real flowers were on each table along with small matching candles that could be lit at night.
As they didn’t want to be cliché they decided to forgo the wedding cake and put the money into having wonderful choices of foods. Ribs and sides from a local mom and pop barbeque joint. There was also a bar. Cheesecake for the “cakes” and bins of soda, beer, etc. The goal was to have people feel comfortable helping themselves to anything they wanted to eat and we wanted them to enjoy it. (Cause who REALLY likes white flavorless butter cream frosting and fondant?!!?)
As Jennifer’s dad is an entertainer and both her brothers play guitar and piano they were the entertainment.
The fire pit was already in our yard already. It was not lit but it made a nice focal point.
Material draped over rope tied to trees.
Even our little dog Maggie wore wings.
A small set of wings was made for Jennifer’s niece.
The flowers Jennifer added to her wedding dress.
Me and my 81 year old mother.
Jennifer and son Ashton.
Our entire family.
Jennifer’s Son Ashton
Jennifer’s Niece Alyssa Mae