From Drab To Fab: 48 DIYs For Average Tin Cans

Warhol was on to something with his tin can fanaticism — these versatile little containers can be used to make everything from flower vases to napkin rings to wine racks. A helpful hint for ALL of the below projects: invest in one of these can openers that creates a smooth (not sharp) opening.

1. 1. Wine Rack

Remove both ends of the can, arrange, stack, and glue. Paint the cans beforehand if you want to add some color.

2. 2. Art Supply Caddy

Cover tin cans with Mod Podge and fabric, then use wire to attach them around the perimeter of a larger can. Nifty storage for paint brushes, pencils, and other art supplies.

The trick is to freeze the cans before cutting into them. Carefully cut S-shaped slits along the outside of the can, allow the ice inside to melt, then gently push it down. Check out a more detailed tutorial here .

5. 4. Beer Holders

Attach tin cans to 28” rods via smashed bottle caps, stick ‘em in the ground, then sit back and drink.

6. 5. Bling Pencil Pot

Use Mod Podge to coat the tin can with white paper, paint marbles with nail varnish in colors of your choice, and attach marbles with a hot glue gun. Here’s a nifty tutorial.

7. 6. Vase, Toothbrush Holder, and More…

Tin can toppers make for easy vases, toothbrush holders, coffee containers, and more. Toppers are by Jack Bresnahan.

8. 7. Can Clock

Attach a couple wooden legs to the sides of a can, paint the jar and legs in color of your choice, insert a clock mechanism inside the can, and voila. All the details are here.

9. 8. Upcycled Mugs

Bend silverware into a handle shape, then glue to the sides of painted tin cans.

10. 9. Stamp Can Containers

Cover the outside of cans with fun and colorful stamps.

Yep, you can bake a cake right inside the can. Here’s a recipe, but there are many more out there.

13. 11. Or Boston Brown Bread

Recipe can be found here.

14. 12. Desk Drawer Storage

Easily make your own by trimming tin cans in half. Great for keeping your office supplies in order.

15. 13. Mini Bongos

Fill the cans with rice/lentils, then stretch a balloon end over the top and secure in place with a rubber band. These plus a pair of chopsticks will keep kiddos occupied. See a full tutorial here.

16. 14. Plant Markers

Cut out strips from an aluminum can, then write the names of your plants on a piece of paper. Trace the the lettering into the aluminum strips, and trim the edge so you can stick it into the ground. Check out these step-by-step directions. And if you’re not a gardener, make cheese markers instead.

17. 15. Wind Chime

Paint cans of various sizes, string them together, and hang outside.

18. 16. Advent Calendar

Paint your cans red, drill holes in the sides and add wire handles, then cut out number silhouettes from white vinyl. Fill them with Christmas candies or messages.

19. 17. Sideways Storage

Cover your cans with decorative paper using double-stick tape or glue. Stack the cans on their sides and glue them together. Use gallon cans to store larger items.

20. 18. Pendant Lights

Paint the cans to mach your interior decor. Drill a hole in the bottom of your can, insert a wire and attach a light socket in each. Hang ‘em and you’re done!

21. 19. Crushed Can Decor

Paint soda cans white, gently crush them, and fill with flowers. Shabby and stylish at the same time.

22. 20. Hang Bouquets

Fill tin cans with flowers, then attach them to both sides of a thick chain and hang over a pole. These would make for beautiful wedding decor.

23. 21. Make Robots

Decorate cans with electrical tape, hardware and other recyclables, disk magnets, and hot glue.

24. 22. Get Your Grill On

Cut slat around the can, fold them back, then fill up the can with charcoal. Place a cooling rack on top and you’ve got an instant mini-grill.

25. 23. Create a Cake Stand

Paint a tin can to match your plate, then use strong glue to attach the can to the bottom of the plate.

26. 24. Table Numbers

Spray paint the cans with gold, wrap a printed number stencil around each can, and drill little holes inside the number outline. Place a little candle inside for great dinner party decor. Number templates and detailed instructions can be found here.

27. 25. Lamp Shade

Paint a tin can and cut out the design of your choice. A lamp kit will come in handy.

28. 26. Jack O’lanterns

Drill out spooky faces, fill with candles, and decorate for a Halloween party.

29. 27. Cork-Wrapped Pencil Holders

Use stencils to paint cork sheet with animal silhouettes, then wrap the cork around your cans. All the DIY details can be found here.

30. 28. Recycled Wreath

Decorate cans with paint and paper or ribbon, string in a circle, and hang on your door.

31. 29. Biscuit Cutters

Topless tin cans are the perfect size for cutting out pastries.

32. 30. Tin Pin Cushion

Cover a can with decorative paper, stuff with polyfil stuffing, and cover with fabric. Read this tutorial for all the details.

33. 31. Dented Planters

Paint tins in pastel shades, gently dent, and fill with dirt and bulbs.

34. 32. Yarn Holder

Mount cans sideways on the wall for fuss-free and pretty yarn organizing.

35. 33. Chalkboard Tins

Decorate the outsides of chins with chalkboard paint to easily label your storage containers.

36. 34. Windsock

Hang ribbon from the bottom of a decoupaged tin for whimsical outdoor decor. Check out this tutorial.

37. 35. Yarn-Wrapped Candle Holders

Wrap yarn around the outside of a tin and place a candle inside. Super speedy garden party decorations!

38. 36. DIY Cookie Cutters

Make cookie cutters in any shape you like by bending strips cut from the sides of tin cans.

39. 37. Tin Can Bouquet

Cut out curly cues from the sides of a tin can, mold them into roses, and make a bouquet that’ll last a lot longer than the real thing. All the steps are here.

40. 38. Cute Kitchen Container

Embroider a piece of linen with a kitchen utensil motif, then cover the outside of a can. Check out this tutorial for tips.

41. 39. Speakers

It might help to be tech-savvy for this one, but this site should help a lot.

42. 40. Leaf Ornaments

Trace and cut out leaves from the side of a tin can, drill a hole, and hang them inside or out. Here’s some helpful instructions.

43. 41. Napkin Rings

Cover squat tin cans with decorative paper for one-of-a-kind dinner party favors.

44. 42. Build a Birdhouse

Cut a hole in a large can, fill with bird seed, and enjoy having birds in the yard.

45. 43. Tin Can Knitter

For those who are intimidated by knitting needles, tin can knitters offer an easy alternative. Here are some tutorial links.

46. 44. Perpetual Calendar and Pencil Holder

Create a calendar and storage unit in one. You’ll need cardstock, paper, an X-acto knife and ruler, rubber cement, double-stick tape, and the templates and instructions found here.

47. 45. Newlywed Car Decor

Use pretty ribbons to string tin cans from the back bumper of a newlyweds’ car.

48. 46. Statement Bracelet

Cut out circles from vintage cans (or decorate new ones with pretty paper), drill holes, and string them together with small metal jump rings.

49. 47. Soap Dispenser

Reuse an old pump to make a new soap dispenser. Check out this easy tutorial.

50. 48. Warhol-Inspired Flower Vases

Find cute soup cans like these colorful Andy Warhol ones from Target, clean them out, spray paint around the outside, and fill with flowers. Tutorial here.

Pippa Armbrester is a quilt maker and designer. Follow her adventures in quilting and life on her website.

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