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.

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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.

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3. 3. Can-dle Lanterns

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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 .

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5. 4. Beer Holders

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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9. 8. Upcycled Mugs

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

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10. 9. Stamp Can Containers

Cover the outside of cans with fun and colorful stamps.

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11. 10. Bake Mini Cakes

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

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13. 11. Or Boston Brown Bread

Recipe can be found here.

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14. 12. Desk Drawer Storage

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

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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.

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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.

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17. 15. Wind Chime

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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21. 19. Crushed Can Decor

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

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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.

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23. 21. Make Robots

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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27. 25. Lamp Shade

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

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28. 26. Jack O’lanterns

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

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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.

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30. 28. Recycled Wreath

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

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31. 29. Biscuit Cutters

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

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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.

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33. 31. Dented Planters

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

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34. 32. Yarn Holder

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

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35. 33. Chalkboard Tins

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

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36. 34. Windsock

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

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37. 35. Yarn-Wrapped Candle Holders

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

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38. 36. DIY Cookie Cutters

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

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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.

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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.

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41. 39. Speakers

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

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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.

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43. 41. Napkin Rings

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

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44. 42. Build a Birdhouse

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

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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.

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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.

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47. 45. Newlywed Car Decor

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

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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.

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49. 47. Soap Dispenser

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

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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.

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

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