Light the Cinco de Mayo night by upcycling cans into tea-light luminarias (easy with the help of my free printable template), and adorn your tablescape with DIY fiesta tissue paper flowers. These crafts are perfect to bring the whole family in on, with luminarias for the strong folks and flowers for the kiddos. So hang on to your sombreros senoritas… we’re about to craft a fiesta!
As a kid, I was delighted by long rows of luminarias lighting the way to fiestas. I wanted to bring some of that enchantment inside by making miniature versions with tea-lights for the table.
I love upcycling free elements into something useful… and I do mean free because this project cost me nothing as the cans were just a leftover bonus from my dinner menu. The project made perfect use of the small tomato paste cans used in my recipes. (See my Meatloaf Cupcakes here, and my Nacho Average Fiesta Dip Here.) Waste not, want not… right?!
The best way to open the cans is by using an opener that doesn’t create a sharp edge, but rather a smooth top separated from the sides. Several well known brands sell this type of safe can opener. After washing the cans well, fill them with water, and place in the freezer overnight. Yes, you read that correctly. The ice is so much easier to hammer into rather than the traditional wooden branch.
While they’re freezing, print my piercing template (free for personal use). To do this, right click on the small image and select print. (You can also forgo employing the template, and use a permanent marker to freehand draw your own shapes onto cans before the freezing step.)
My mother actually came up a great tip for keeping your paper’s ink from getting soggy… try wrapping the iced can in clear plastic wrap before wrapping with the paper template. ¡Gracias Mamá!
Cut out the 3 identical templates featuring arrow pierced hearts and festive zigzag patterns. Wrap each one around an ice filled can and tape the edge.
Use identically sized nails to hammer into each dot on the template. (This is what makes it a good craft for the hombres in your life!) You only need to hammer the nails in far enough to make a hole, leaving them in or pulling them out as you go. Begin with the top of the pattern, because ice will chip out as you work on it. If too much pops out, simply add water and refreeze.
When the dots are done, so are you! Let the ice melt out into the sink then dry the can well. (Just be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp edges on the inside of the cans.) Now light them up compadre!
The luminarias add ambiance to a lunch of Tex-Mex Nachos made with my Nacho Average Fiesta Dip Recipe.
They also look lovely with another one of my recipes, Gluten & Dairy Free Chicken Spinach Quesadilla.
Here they’re featured in an upcoming San Antonio styled Fiesta tablescape next to some cascarones I’ll demonstrate how to make.
I think they look really lovely next to my fiesta flowers too… let’s make them together now!
Use any new store bought tissue paper, or upcycle some former gift bag tissue into something spectacular.
The size of the sheet you use will equate to the size of the flower you end up with.
Here I’m beginning with one sheet cut into two halves, one placed over the other.
You can actually stack as many layers of tissue as you like to add fullness. Here is a fuller flower next to one made with less layers.
Accordion fold these into a fan, short side to short side. (This part is a great hand-eye craft for the kiddos!)
Next, fold the bar over in half.
Cut an upside down V into the ends… this will make a prettier flower.
Take those trimmings and cut them into tiny pieces, then separate the layers. You just made matching confetti for the table… for free. You can also use this confetti for cascarones crafting in the future!
Green fuzzy pipe cleaner sticks make the perfect stems.
Wrap one around the folded portion and twist. You will be able to use the stem to hang the flowers with later.
Next pull apart all the layers.
Pull these slightly taut, in an arrangement that appears pleasing to the eye.
Wrap one end of the fuzzy stick around the base to secure your arrangement of the petals.
I tied some of them between panels of traditional papel picado in a fiesta banner for the window. The light streaming through them was much prettier in person.
I also used them to further adorn a burro piñata decorating a side table.
The larger flowers were easily strung onto a chandelier as an overhead centerpiece, leaving room for tortilla, chip, and buñuelo baskets on the table.
Time to go ¡Fiesta! forever…