Lines Across: Punched Tin Ornaments

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Punched Tin Ornaments

Welcome Lauren! These ornaments look amazing as well as a lot of fun to make.

Lauren from The Thinking Closet

Hi, dear readers! My name is Lauren. As a huge fan of Lines Across, it is such an honor to guest post here today. Fun fact: not only do Rachel and I both live in Orlando, FL, but we share an affinity for one of the world's greatest board games, Settlers of Catan. When I'm not trading sheep for brick, I'm usually splashing paint on my clothes with my d.i.y. projects over at my blog, The Thinking Closet. I'd love it if you'd stop on by to join in on the fun.

  The Thinking Closet

I'm eager to share with you my new favorite d.i.y. project: a punched tin ornament. What I love most about this ornament, is that it can be made using items from your recycling bin and toolbox! How sweet is that?

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet
"Where did the inspiration for this 'lil guy come from?"
I'm so glad you asked! Well, it came from a candle-holder I picked up at Crate & Barrel. I just love the way the gold shines through the pinholes, casting a brilliant light on the table where it sits....

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Mesmerized by the golden glow one evening, I got to wondering if the same effect could be an ornament. Wonder no more. Folks, I can be done! Here's the how-to, so you can make your own punched tin ornament this holiday season.
  • Tin can
  • Rice or sand
  • Hammer
  • Drywall screw
  • Black spray paint with matte finish
  • Metallic gold acrylic paint
  • Ribbon or hemp
  • Other items: towel, wax paper, permanent marker, rubber bands, paintbrushes.
  • Optional: Drill, scrap wood, and sandpaper.
Step 1. Prep your can. Rescue a tin can from your recycle bin and give it a good rinse in the sink to help remove the label (goo gone works wonders). Then, fill your can with rice or sand, up until 1/4" from the top. (I didn't initially do that...and you'll see in moment why I should have.) Fill it to the same level with water, and place it in the freezer for at least 6 hours. This will allow you to easily punch the tin without denting your can. The rice/sand helps keep the water from causing your can to bulge in the process of freezing. Thanks to Fine Gardening for that tip!

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Step 2. Prep your design. Remove your can from the freezer, place it on a thick towel atop a hard surface, and prepare to get to work immediately. You can sketch out your drawing on wax paper and secure it to your can with rubber bands, or if you plan ahead, sketch your design directly on your can using a permanent marker prior to freezing.

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Step 3. Punch your tin. Not with your fists! (But you knew that.) I used a drywall screw with a pointed tip, however a nail could suffice or an awl if you have it. Tap the screw with your hammer 1-2 times to make a tiny hole in your can; you'll find it easily punches through. Working from top to bottom will work best as you're trying to work on sections before they melt. Don't forget to make two holes on the sides for your string. When your punching is complete, let the rest of the frozen rice thaw in the sink. Rinse and dry your can.

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Step 4. Drill your tin. Now is the time to create a hole in the base of your can through which a Christmas light will nest. My hubby helped me with this part and used a 3/8" bit to drill a hole in the bottom of the can. For stability and to avoid denting the can, he placed a piece of scrap wood inside the can and drilled directly into that. Then, he used a tiny piece of sandpaper to smooth the sharp edges of the opening. No drill? No problem. Simply create the outline of a circle with your screw in step 3, and punch it through to make the hole.

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Step 5. Spray paint your can's exterior. Face your can downward to spray paint your can's exterior with a black matte finish paint. I used Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint that I already had from my Wooden Chalkboard Label project. I gave mine four coats, allowing the coats to dry at least 10 minutes in between.

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Step 6. Paint your can's interior. Part of what I love so much about my Crate & Barrel candle-holder is the vibrant gold on the interior, so I was committed to creating the same effect with my ornament. I used metallic gold acrylic paint on the interior of my can. Two thick coats sufficed! You'll see from the photo below that I didn't paint over the punched holes to avoid clogging. The top rim also needed a thin line of black paint.

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Step 7. Apply the finishing touches. Tie black ribbon or hemp string through the side holes (I made my knots on the inside). Consider including a personalized note and the date on the bottom of the ornament, so you remember it for Christmases to come.

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

You're done, dearies! Hang it up on your tree with a Christmas light nestled in the bottom. Then step back and take in the magic of your glowing punched tin ornament.

  Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

Punched Tin Ornament Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

If you're eager for more inexpensive d.i.y. projects that also make great gifts, check out these tutorials on my blog: Wedding Invitation Ornament, Wallpaper Coasters, and Mulling Spices Sachets.

  D.I.Y. Projects at The Thinking Closet Thanks again to Rachel for inviting me over here today. Wishing you all a cozy holiday complete with hot cocoa, Bing Crosby tunes, and glowing punched tin ornaments....

  This is Lauren, signing off.

Check out the other HANDMADE ORNAMENTS in the series:


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Bonnie! I'm a huge fan of your holly wreath photo ornaments.

  2. Magical ornaments!! I love that leaf design!


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