I've wanted to make these for ages, and I finally got around to finishing one.
-Optional: Using some fine sand paper, sand the color off of the soda can. This is a giant pain in the neck and might not be worth it in the end, though it does make it a nice shade of silver. If you're going to do this I recommend using lighter colored cans (like Diet Dr. Pepper, which is mostly white) because some spots of color just refuse to come off. Also beware of the stuff that comes off -- I got a tiny shard of metal in my toe. It seemed to be the only one of its kind, but still. Ow.
After sanding and poor freehand design:
-Using a can opener, take the lid off of a soda can (I'd recommend rinsing the can out and shaking off the excess water). The opener will grip the top rim and cut out the inside. You might need to go around a few times until it comes all the way off. Then when it does, run the can opener around it again -- this will bend down any sharp parts.
-If you're not using a pattern then use a thumbtack (I recommend one that sticks out as it's easier to control) to stab away in random or freehand drawing-style ways into the can. It'll dent a bit, but you can easily bend it back. I've heard good things about freezing water in the can so it won't dent, but when I did that it split the metal (I might've left it too long). You can also use your fingers to brace the can but OH BE CAREFUL OF YOUR POOR FINGERS! They might be stabbed!
-If you're using a pattern tape it down tightly to the can. The more secure it is the easier it is to read and follow. See how mine is not so tight (if you can even see it in this pic) as I ran out of tape:
-Using the aforementioned thumbtack poke holes along the pattern. Points are kind of difficult to do, so be aware. Again, PLEASE OH PLEASE BE CAREFUL OF YOUR FINGERS!
-Since I don't much care for having what appears to be an empty soda can hanging out in my room I decided to paint mine with acrylic paint, and then a coat of Mod Podge. And I have to say that I was not pleased with the streaky, uneven appearance of the Mod Podge when I put on the first coat. I recommend painting the Mod Podge on, and then wetting your brush or sponge with some water and then going over it again. It'll drip and take a little longer to dry, but I think it makes it smoother. I think.
Um, keep in mind that if you're holding it and you paint the whole thing (including the bottom) then it might be hard to put down. I kind of forgot that. Heh.
And now you might have something like this:
And in the dark:
If you're going to put a candle in the bottom (as opposed to the flashlight that I used for the above picture) then use something like the handle of a screwdriver and pound the convex bottom down. Or if you're handy with sharp cutting things, take the bottom off.
If you want to hang it you can use a hole punch to punch holes in either side (see top picture), then thread some wire through (not string -- a candle would burn through it).
OR you can punch holes in the top (like in the top picture) and then clip it from the hole to the rim (I used wire cutters), and with some gentle bending you could lay christmas lights inside and hang them from your walls. (In the pic I used my headphone cord because my lights are packed away).
If you aren't going to hang them you can just punch holes in the back with a strong, thick nail and insert the light into it.