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15 Simple ways to Upcycle Tin Cans

If you’re going to make something from scratch and put in a lot of effort to the crafting project, and you actually the kind of DIY lover who adores making almost anything you make into an opportunity for upcycling and repurposing? Well, we’re exactly the same way, so we honestly can’t say we blame you! There’s just something so satisfying about giving just about any object or household item a new lease on life where it would otherwise be thrown away. After all, what’s not cool about having a positive green impact on the environment around you or making something you don’t need into something practical that you’ll actually use? One of our very favourite things to upcycle, because we have lots of access to them and they’re affordable, are tin cans! Each time we make a can of soup or something for our kids, we rinse the can out and set it aside to be made into crafts later.

Just in case you’re as in love with the idea of transforming tin cans into crafts of all kinds as we were, if not more, here are 15 of the very best ideas, designs, and tutorials we’ve found so far in our quest to make as many tin cans projects as humanly possible!

1. Ombre painted tin can luminaries

Ombre painted tin can luminaries

One of the best parts of crafting with tin cans is that they’re hardy and durable, since they’re made of metal. That’ makes them fantastic for outdoor projects because they’ll withstand changes in weather better than most things if you forget to bring them in. At the same time, they’re not so hard that you can’t alter their shape or do things like poke holes in them. This fantastic ombre painted luminary outlined step by step on Crafts Unleashed is the perfect example of what we mean! Your candle’s light will glow through the holes when it gets dark out but your paint job will look pretty during the day before the sun goes down.

2. Napkin decoupage tin can flowers

Napkin decoupage tin can flowers

Are you quite intrigued indeed by fancying up the outside of your tin cans like you saw above but you’re just not a huge fan of the idea of making something involving candles because you don’t like keeping open flames around since you have little kids? Perhaps you just prefer other crafting techniques over painting. In either case, we’d definitely suggest taking a look at how Party Delights made these fantastic tin can flower vases by decoupaging floral pattern napkins across the outside surface of their cans!

3. Tin can drums

Tin can drums

Are you actually mostly interested in crafting with tin cans because you like the idea of giving your kids something a little more structured and unconventional to work with without having to buy expensive or complicated crafting supplies from the nearest store? Well, if your little ones are noisy music makers like ours, drumming on pots and pans or always singing, then we have a feeling these adorable tin can, balloon, and elastic band drums might be right up your alley. See how Red Ted art made these ones happen in just a few simple steps.

4. Paint dipped tin can planters

Paint dipped tin can planters

Were you very interested indeed in the idea of making tin can vases or planters but you’d prefer an aesthetic that’s a little more industrial chic or minimalist than the napkin decoupage idea we showed you earlier on? In that case, we’d definitely suggest taking a look at how A Greener Life for Us made these fantastic paint dipped planters in a way that’s quick and easy but still visually pleasing. We think these are perfect for setting on the patio or in the kitchen, depending on the time of year, the weather, and where what you’ve planted will thrive the most.

5. Tin can mini shelves

Tin can mini shelves

Do you have some wider cans, like coffee cans or cashew tins, that you’re keen to use in crafting as well because you love the larger size and the possibilities that gives you? Well, to get you started thinking about what you might like to make, here’s a fantastic DIY shelf idea outlined step by step on Blue Bear Wood! We love the way they painted the outsides, wall papered the bottom (which becomes the back when you mount them on the wall), and filled them with kitschy pop culture characters.

6. DIY tin can wasp deterrent

Diy tin can wasp deterrent

Have you actually been thinking about the outdoor candle idea we showed you earlier on the list since we talked about it, but you can’t help wondering whether there’s a way to make an outdoor tin can candle that will help you with pests like the store bought kind, just with less harmful chemicals? Then we’re pleased to direct your attention to this fantastic wasp and bug deterrent candle featured in detail on Missie Lizzie! The best part is that you’re upcycling a tin can in this one just like you saw in the last tutorial too.

7. Washi tape pen cans

Washi tape pen cans

Part of the reason we love making things with tin cans so much is that they’re awesome tools for simple storage and, because most of them are tall rather than wide, they’re space efficient for small surfaces too. That’s why we have so many holding art supplies, paint brushes, writing utensils, and so on, dotted all around our ouse. We also always prefer jazzing up the outside of the cans to make them a little more decorative though, and one of our favourite easy ways to do so lately is with wonderfully patterned and brightly coloured washi tape, just like you see here on Red Ted Art!

8. Tin can bread

Tin can bread

Did you know that, rather than just using them to make decorative things, you can actually use tin cans as real cooking utensils when you’re doing things like hiking or camping? We didn’t either until we came across this awesome tin can bread recipe that makes a bread so delicious and warm we couldn’t believe how simple and good it was when we tried it. Get the full recipe, mixing technique, and tin can baking instructions in detail on Me and My Shadow!

9. Upcycled tin can lamp

Upcycled tin can lamp

Have you actually always loved the idea of incorporating bits and pieces of upcycled household items into your home’s actual decor scheme because you adore it when people can tell something was homemade by you, since crafting is such a big pert of your lifestyle and who you are? In that case, we’d absolutely suggest taking a look at how Shelterness made this fantastic DIY table lamp from a large tin coffee can.

10. Painted tin can stilts

Painted tin can stilts

Are you still scrolling through in hopes of finding the perfect tin can craft for your kids to help you with because you know they’d love to get in on the upcycling actions? Well, we find we have the most success crafting with our kids when the thing we’re making together is something they can both enjoy during the crafting process and continue to have fun playing with afterwards as well! That’s why we thought these super cute painted tin can stilts were such a good idea. Get the full details for making some of your own on Red Ted Art.

11. Tin can flag windsock

Tin can flag windsock

Have the ideas you’ve found the most interesting on our list so far been the ones that involve making some type of yard decor, since sprucing up your outdoor space is just as important to you as decorating inside your home? In that case, we’d absolutely suggest taking a look at how Fun Crafts Kids made this fantastic hanging wind sock using scrap fabric and a large sized tin can. Feel free to use this tutorial as a technique base but decorate yours however you please!

12. Tin can telephones

Olympus digital camera

If you’re going to help your kids get crafty with upcycled tin cans, why not create something traditional and a little old fashioned together, just like kids have been doing for decades and having fun with no matter the era? We are, of course, talking about funny tin can telephones! We used to play with these when we were young and now we love watching our kids have a blast with something so simple but so impressive. Just in case you’ve actually never tried them before, here are the full crafting instructions for tin can telephones from Childhood 101!

13. Fun and simple tin can wind chimes

Fun and simple tin can wind chimes

Are you still thinking about how much you liked the idea of using upcycled tin cans to make explicitly homemade looking things because you appreciate the DIY aesthetic and charm those kinds of projects have to them? We fully agree with you on that sentiment; we love anything that will let friends and family know they’ve walked into an enthusiastic crafting household! These awesome tin can wind chimes that were painted, glitter, and strung up by Hands On As We Grow are the perfect example of what we mean. We also love the way they clink together surprisingly delicately!

14. Spooky tin can monsters

Spooky tin can monsters

Did we almost catch your attention for good when we started talking about outdoor tin can crafts that you can hang in the trees outside to add a little personality to your yard but none of those ideas specifically have you quite convinced enough to choose just yet? Then we’d like to present another alternative along those same lines for your consideration! Check out the tutorial on Fun Crafts Kids to see how these funny little painting and bead embellished tin can “monsters” were made and hung from the branches for Halloween (or just for fun, since you don’t have to make them spooky if you’re prefer to use the basic technique but a different decor style. That’s the beauty of how customizable DIY projects are).

15. Tin can knitting loom

Tin can knitting loom

Are you actually an avid yarn crafting enthusiast who has many years of experience when it comes to things like knitting, corking, crochet, and yarn looms, and now your kids are finally old enough to start learning about your favourite things? Well, you can certainly buy them all the supplies they need to start learning about the yarn loom (which is probably the easiest first step of the options) or you can make the loom yourself more affordably out of a tin can, some duct tape, and some binder clip hooks, just like Cut Out and Keep did here!

Have you made other kinds of awesome upcycled tin can crafts before that you had a lot of fun with but that you don’t see anything quite similar to here? Tell us all about how you did it or link us to photos of your finished product in the comments section!