I had actually taken quite a few photos for this post so I could show you all the magic behind this Coffee Can Christmas DIY project, but our 4-year old daughter got a hold of my camera before I had a chance to download them. Just one more lesson that may someday quell my propensity for procrastination.
Not only did she figure out how to overwrite my amazing photos but she also replaced said photos with a random photographic journey that included blurry closeups of our toilet, baseboards, and shower curtain. She’s very proud of them so be sure to watch for her upcoming coffee table book entitled, “Scuzz ‘n Fuzz: A Bathroom Pictorial.”
My wife and I love to decorate our house for the holidays. Outside and inside, our home is awash in white lights, garland, and red bows. We try to stick with what we perceive as traditional. We don’t have enormous holiday inflatables scattered about our front lawn, we don’t drive giant candy canes into the earth, nor do we allow colored or twinkling lights anywhere near our property.
Heather makes the inside of our home look all Norman Rockwell’ish so I try my best to do the same with the outside. Armed with lights, garland, and wreaths, I spend the day with a hammer, nails, and a staple gun trying to echo the holiday beauty she crafted indoors.
The problem is that while I think the house looks great during the day, it takes on a far more ominous vibe at night.
The Holidays By Day…
The Holidays At Night…
To tackle the issue of delivering a mixed message over the Christmas season, I wanted to create an uplight effect on each of the wreaths on the upstairs windows. I’ve always loved the look when houses are all lit up in white to showcase the decorations but I abhor the thought of planting a bunch of spotlights on stakes in my front yard.
My initial thought was to nail three floodlights into the porch roof but my far wiser wife made it clear that I would only cause hundreds of dollars in damage and a leakage problem. It took some convincing, considering the trade-off was a beautiful holiday effect, but I finally let go of my “How To Ruin Your Porch In Three Strikes of a Hammer” project.
Instead, my plan was to buy three floodlights, place them in track lighting canisters, affix them to boards, brace the boards on the porch roof, and jimmy-rig some sort of filter so I didn’t light up the entire night sky or signal aliens. On paper, the plan was genius. At Lowe’s, the plan was $160.
Standing in the aisle with a cart that was getting fuller with each passing “we’ll also need this” moment, Heather suggested that we just hammer some leftover coffee cans onto some boards and then jam a string of lights into each one to replicate the spotlight effect.
Little Miss Brainiac’s project cost? $6. Time to complete? 10 minutes. If you count roof time.
What You’ll Need
For this project I needed to cast an uplight on three windows. After some careful planning as we restocked Lowe’s shelves, we determined that we’d need the following:
- Three boards, which we already had. Make sure they’re kinda thick and heavy to battle wind gusts.
- Three extension cords, which we already had. Make sure they are rated for outdoor use.
- One multi-outlet Christmas stake, which we already had.
- Three large metal coffee cans. Make sure they’re void of coffee.
- Six roofing tacks or nails.
- Bottle opener. Needed for more than just the celebratory cracking of a cold one once finished.
- Three flat rocks or anything capable of angling the boards upward.
- Three strings of 50- or 100-count Christmas lights. We went with 100.
This is the part where all the glorious photos that Kamryn erased were supposed to appear. Fortunately, the project is incredibly easy so I doubt you need a flurry of images showing you how to nail a metal can to a board. If it’s something you just can’t grasp without explanatory visuals, it’s probably best that you stay off the roof anyhow.
Take your can opener and gouge one or two holes at the bottom of each can. This is to allow rainwater or melted snow to escape. If you skip this step, you better hope your lights and electrical cords are submersible and that your house isn’t flammable.
Nail each coffee can in the center of each board with two nails or roofing tacks. Make sure the H2O escape hatch is at the very bottom. I highly recommend that you do this during the day because you’re going to make a TON of racket as the hammer jingle-jangles and rattles around the can as you try to strike it with enough force to pierce metal.
Get yourself onto the roof via ladder, window, or pogo stick and place the boards about two feet from each window. Prop the board at a pretty good angle with your re-purposed rocks, wood scraps, or Justin Bieber dolls so the lights will shine upwards on the windows.
Stuff one strand of lights into each canister and plug each strand into an extension cord.
With the multi-outlet Christmas stake plugged into your main power source, plug each of the three extension cords into it. Wait for nightfall and then mess with the angles of the boards until you’re happy with the effect.
Oddly enough, this totally works. The canisters are large enough to where the lights don’t get hot and the escape hatch for the water ensures that rain and snow won’t cause any problems. When we plugged everything in after nightfall, I was stunned to see what we accomplished for six bucks and ten minutes of our time.
In the end, we saved more than $150 with her idea and I was able to achieve the exact effect I was going for. Is she not awesome? I totally love this woman.
Aside from being incredibly sexy, a wonderful mother, and an amazing wife, she’s also pretty handy to have around the house.
With Heather, I get the best of both worlds. I get an in-house handyman without the man.
In a way, it’s like I married Bob Vila. Only I don’t have to navigate any facial hair when planting a kiss.