Swag Lighting from Vintage Steel Cans


A consignment shop contacted me about a few items the saw on my Facebook page asking me if I would be willing to consign with them. If I were not already committed to one shop (It’s Nice 2wice) I may have considered it. We’ll see. If I run out of room I may need a space somewhere else.

So I asked what was popular in their area. Swag lighting came up. In the ongoing endeavor of satisfying my tinkering crave I decided to take this on. It wouldn’t have occurred to me because it really isn’t my style, so I am glad we had the conversation. As it turns out, there are a lot of older homes in my area and they don’t have much in the way of overhead lighting.

Industrial is very popular in central Pennsylvania. There seems to be no demographic that doesn’t like it. I set out looking for interesting galvanized steel cans. I found a vintage oil can at an estate auction then later a vintage gas can at a moving sale. The looks you get when you buy someone’s junk are a fun part of upcycling. It never gets old.

The first one was the oil can. It was sold as soon as I walked into the shop! I didn’t even get a chance to display it. The customer is a regular and was looking for something interesting on his porch.

I just finished up the gas can as swag lighting. I should have this in the shop by Friday. We will see how long it sticks around.

The most important tip I can give you is to wear hearing protection when working with metal like this. The tools you’ll most likely need are a saw-zaw to cut out the bottom and drill bits for hard metals (Colbalt or Carbide). Be patient. Be prepared for what might be in them. I found the long mummified remains of a few mice in one. Scrub them out thoroughly and air out to get rid of any chemical odor. The gas can hadn’t been used in a long time but it did have a faint odor of fuel. After it was cleaned and aired out for a few days it was good to go.

I’ll be looking for more interesting pieces to upcycle. Please share your creations!


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