No Thanks
Keep In Touch With

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.


Tin-Can Jack-o'-Lanterns




Create a new Halloween tradition by punching robotlike faces into cans. Add votive candles, and the heads come to life. Place in window, or stack as a centerpiece.


  1. Step 1

    Clean empty coffee or soup cans and remove labels.

  2. Step 2

    Fill can with water, and freeze.

  3. Step 3


    Steady frozen can on a bag of rice, and punch holes with an awl and hammer.

  4. Step 4

    Defrost and dry.

  5. Step 5

    Paint exterior with oil-based enamel; if holes get blocked, poke with a toothpick.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2002



Reviews (8)

  • DiverDar 22 Sep, 2008

    We have an adult Halloween party every year

  • ringlet1 14 Aug, 2008

    When my son was in second grade we painted and designed these but needed an electric drill to drill the holes. We filled in the faces with black paint and putting curly wire across the tops of the coffee cans. Each year I bring these out and put large candles in them. The silvery insides of the cans give off a warm glow. This year my son starts college and it'll be the first year without him at Halloween, but our little craft project will be another reminder of our time together.

  • gmwright 14 Aug, 2008

    I have made these tin can decorations for several years now and have found that it works just as well if you use a cordless drill and a small drill bit to make holes - You dont even have to fill with water and freeze that way. I came upon this new strategy when I was too impatient to wait for the cans rto freeze. This craft is fun for Hallowe'en, summer BBQ;s,

  • kimwylie0523 14 Aug, 2008

    I've done these for Fourth of July (with stars and stripes designs) and Thanksgiving (leaf outlines). It's a great idea and fun to do with kids -- let them draw the design and put the awl where they want the holes to go...make sure an adult carefully does the hammer work!

  • EdithGeekler 14 Aug, 2008

    I've made these before without doing the freezing water step. The cans were so dented, I couldn't use them. Working with the frozen cans felt a little clumsy at first, but I eventually got a groove going and they turned out fabulous! I didn't use the robot designs - just typical Jack O Lantern faces. I painted the outside of mine black and dark purple. The insides were painted chartreuse and bright yellow - the brighter the better.

  • wholesalerre 14 Aug, 2008

    i have been doing this for years-i saw them on Martha's show, and i do not paint them and I let them rust. the rust adds to their scary look. I love this and it's a tradition for every holiday.

  • Nomi01 14 Aug, 2008

    This is such a great project. I would have never thought of the idea with the water!
    I'm thinking of making these in Christmas designs as well.

  • troyiam 26 Mar, 2008

    I made these last year in various sizes. Instead of using latex paint, I used Martha's glitter glue and glitter in greens and silver. It was a delightful effect! I decorated the mantle with 5-6 various sized "jacks", twin silver candlesticks with ivory candles, a hurricane with an ivory pillar candle, and put votives in each "Jack". It was just beautiful. I highly recommend this craft.