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18 Cute and Clever Tin Can Crafts

Jamie loves writing about DIY projects, decorating on a budget, craft ideas, and creative ways to reuse and upcycle products.

Tin cans are not just for stacking up in your cabinet, tossing in the trash, or sending to the recycle bin. For a while now, I've been seeing tons of great craft projects made with tin cans of all sizes.

Besides making fabulous craft and décor projects, tin cans are also frequently used for storing and organizing. I love these types of crafts that re-use and re-purpose normal things we have around the house. Not only are you doing something positive for the environment, but you also save time and money by using something that is always available and practically free. I am happy to share this round-up of all the best tin can crafts I could find around the internet. Most of them have tutorials and additional photos, so be sure to click on the links to go and have a look.

A couple of things about safety—you can buy special can openers that will open cans without leaving a sharp edge; these are great to use when you will be using the can later for arts and crafts. They cost about the same as a regular handheld can opener. Also, make sure to always wear good sturdy gloves when working with raw cut edges of tin cans. They can be really sharp.

As usual, when I do these craft round-ups, I find myself greatly inspired with tons of ideas, so I thought I would share a few of them as we go along. I would love to hear any ideas you may have in the comment section.

jute wrapped tin cans

jute wrapped tin cans

1. Jute-Wrapped Tin Cans

If you are into that rustic look, you will probably love this vase tutorial I found at the thrifty crafter. It's made from a tin can wrapped in jute. You could also use other things to wrap around cans to achieve that rustic look.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Raffia: straw-colored or in shades of brown
  • Strips of burlap
  • Twine in shades of cream and brown
  • Strips of muslin that have been dyed brown like with coffee or tea
Tin can lamp shade

Tin can lamp shade

2. Tin Can Lampshade

I have never seen a lampshade made out of a tin coffee can, but I found this one online and LOVE it! What is really nice is they have shared the tutorial so everyone out there who is saving those large coffee cans (or even the smaller ones) and do not know what to do with them, here is just one option.

The tutorial specifies using a Dremel, which is excellent because you can cut any shapes you want with the metal-cutting attachment and the Dremel also has a grinding stone bit that will help grind down any sharp edges. You can choose to do an entire lampshade or you could do a wall-mounted sconce-type light. You could even do a hanging light if you wanted.

tin can candle

tin can candle

3. Primitive Tin Can Candles

At My Country Blog of This and That, I found these darling primitive candles that were made with just regular tin cans. Also, in the same style, she made a can for storing pens and pencils on her desk. If you are into country primitive décor, these are impressive and easy to make. She explains exactly how she did it and also gives lots of useful tips along the way.

These could be customized according to the style or look you are going for. Here are a few ideas:

  • You could use shades of pink or lavender color paint to paint the can with pastel artwork or print and wrap a ribbon bow around it for a softer, feminine look.
  • Use black and/or white paint to paint the can and choose artwork with a pop of red or hot pink for a modern and elegant look.
  • You could wrap the whole can with a print or pattern and wrap it with a suitable ribbon and a bow.
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Read More From Feltmagnet

rustic tin can crafts

rustic tin can crafts

4. Rustic Tin Can Crafts

I can never get enough of that rustic look. Look at these tin can goodies I found at Crafts and Chic Décor. I LOVE the one wrapped in the old newspaper print. There are really all different ways you can make these cans have that country, sort of rustic look.

Here is an idea for a can with a more shabby chic look to it:

  • Paint the can a cream color and then add some light blue or pink paint over it. Sand around the can to make it look like the paint is worn and let some of the cream paint show through. Wrap a wide piece of lace around the can and then glue some sort of bow on the front and add a matching button to embellish.
Tiered Base from Tin Cans

Tiered Base from Tin Cans

5. Three-Tiered Tin Can Vase

I really like this three-tiered tin can vase! The first thing I thought about when I saw it was the table centerpiece for a wedding. I think decorated just right, it would make a really nice and much cheaper alternative than other centerpieces. I found this at Shelterness along with the how-to. Here are a few ideas I think may work with this:

  • For wedding centerpieces, because it is taller, I think it would look nice with crystal drops hanging around the bottom edges-either connected directly to the bottom edge of the tins with an o rings.
  • I think it would look nice with lots of greenery in each tier with some cascading over the edge with pops of color here and there with maybe some roses or begonias strategically placed.
  • Of course, you could embellish the outside of the cans with glitter, crystals, etc.
  • How about growing herbs in each tier and maybe labeling each tin with the name or making cute labeled picks to stick in each tier with the corresponding herb.
faux tile cans

faux tile cans

6. Faux Mosaic Tile Containers

I wonder if you will be as surprised as I was when I learned these were made with square pieces of craft foam instead of real glass tiles glued onto tin cans! Yep, you heard me right! I ran into these at Instructables via Creativeman, and creative he sure is!

These mosaic containers look heavy and just like the real thing, and I just love the matching lids. This is one of the most impressive crafts using tin cans that I've ever seen. I can not wait to make some of these for myself. I just hope they come out as nice as these.

tin can covered with buttons

tin can covered with buttons

7. Button-Covered Tin Can

All You has a post showing how to make these button covered tin cans and anything covered with buttons is super cute in my book. I like how all of the buttons are in coordinating colors of greens and blue.

Here are some more button embellished tin can ideas:

  • Glue buttons on the can in vertical or horizontal rows. You can do rows of different colors or vary the size of buttons in each row.
  • Do a sort of 'potpourri' covering of buttons—different sizes, shapes, and colors
  • Draw a design on the can with a sharpie with swirls, etc. Use different buttons to fill in the design.
  • Drill some holes and add a wire handle . . . then you have a little button bucket.
Tin can wall storage

Tin can wall storage

8. Tin Can Cubbyhole Wall Storage

Use tin cans to create little cubby holes for storage on your wall. These are all different sizes, and I like the freestyle way that they are all arranged and connected. Of course, these would be perfect for a craft room, but I had some other ideas too! Here they are:

  • I think they would look nice placed in neat rows or columns too.
  • Perfect for putting on a wall near a sewing machine to help hold all of your sewing accessories like threads, buttons on cards, and even material remnants and scraps.
  • How about poking holes in the middle of the bottoms of the cans and mounting them on the wall open side against the wall. Then add ribbon inside the cans and feed it out the hole in the bottom of the cans . . . ribbon dispensers!
  • They would be great in the bathroom to hold Q-tips, cotton balls, razors, bars of soap, etc.

I found this at Scout's Stitches via BHG.

tin can table numbers

tin can table numbers

9. Tin Can Luminary Table Numbers

Using punched tin can lanterns as table numbers for weddings receptions is such a neat idea! I think they look great plain but I think you could definitely glam them up if you wanted to. I found these and tons more great stuff at 100 Layer Cakes.

Here are a few ideas on how to glam up the tin can table numbers:

  • Instead of punching out plain fonts for the numbers, punch out fancy numbers
  • You could paint them to match your wedding colors/theme
  • To add some glitz, after they are painted your wedding color, embellish them with a coat of glitter. Krylon has spray-on glitter paint now!
  • For even more sparkle, embellish them with crystals or rhinestones- You could even cover them with crystals that match your wedding theme/colors.
seed bead covered can

seed bead covered can

10. Seed-Bead-Embellished Tin Can Planter

I knew I had to share this seed-bead-covered can when I saw it at sewcraftalicious. I love seed beads . . . they come in different colors and shapes and they make such a pretty embellishment. You can apply them in a pattern or do a sprinkling of different colors and shapes like on this can.

There are lots of different colors to choose from when it comes to seed beads. You could also make these cans to use for decoration in your home for each and every holiday if you wanted . . . just throw in some flowers, and you have a cute vase, put a candle in it, or use it as a pencil/pen holder. You could also use these cans to hold napkins, utensils, etc. for summer parties and picnics.

Coffee Can Lanterns

Coffee Can Lanterns

11. Hanging Lanterns From Coffee Cans

These are hanging lanterns made from coffee cans that I found at Design Sponge via maggie makes. Just imagine these hanging all around from the branches of a tree at night or sitting on a table outside in your backyard, balcony, or patio . . . so pretty!

This is a nice, photo-illustrated tutorial, and they were even kind enough to share a printable template of the designs they used for these beautiful lanterns. Here were a few things I was thinking as I read the tutorial:

  • In the tutorial, it says to use a hammer to punch the holes but I think you could probably use a drill also if you wanted. You could drill different-sized holes by changing the size of the drill bits.
  • You could even use a Dremel with different attachments if you wanted. They even have a Dremel attachment that you can use to cut shapes into metal cans.
  • DO be very careful when working with cutting these cans! Make sure the cans are firmly in place when you are working on them and as always use high-powered tools with care! It's also a good idea to wear gloves and safety goggles.
tuna can candle holders

tuna can candle holders

12. Hanging Tuna Can Candle Holders

What a creative idea! I have never seen anything like these hanging tuna can candle holders I found at Crescent and Old Lace. Even though they look to be mounted on the wall, they are actually suspended with strings of jute that are connected to a wooden hanger. You can see lots of other photos plus the instructions on how to make them at the link. This one really sparked some ideas . . .

Here are a few thoughts:

  • The first thing I thought was that you could also use those cans that have wet cat food in them. They are similar in shape and size to tuna cans.
  • I was picturing some with pretty patterned paper covering the inside of the cans. I think that would really add to the look but I'm not really sure if this is a good idea or not because of the candles.
  • You could paint the inside of the cans if you wanted. You could do them all different colors or a particular color.
  • What about embellishing the insides with glitter . . . I bet they would really sparkle with the candlelight.
  • WHAT mounting these cans on a string of lights. Drill a hole and somehow anchor the lights in the hole . . . that way, you really could use papers inside, and the lights would illuminate each one. Sounds very pretty!
Tin can wine rack

Tin can wine rack

13. Tin Can Wine Rack

This tin can wine rack I found at Michelle Kaufmann's blog is just as functional as it is fabulous to look at. She decided to make this rack out of reusable tin cans to store her organic wines in. This is such a great idea! As with all of these tin can projects, the colors you choose and the way you decide to decorate your cans is up to you. This project actually sparked an idea in my mind. Here it is:

  • Dish dryer—make this and seal the paint job really well so that water will not rust the cans, line the walls of the insides of the cans with dish towel material, and use it as a rack to dry washed silverware and drinking glasses? It's prettier than a regular dish drainer, at least I think.
Tin Can Storage Caddy

Tin Can Storage Caddy

14. Tin Can Storage Caddy

If you are really big into organizing and shabby chic is your style, you are going to love this one that I found at Shabby Chic Inspired! This is a tin can storage caddy made with all different sizes of tin cans. She doesn't share the tutorial for this particular one, but she does include a link to the place that inspired her to make it, which is Cynthia Shaffer, and a detailed tin can caddy tutorial is located there.

This is one of those that you can really have fun and get creative with. If you like this particular caddy, it looks like she used some handwritten letter gift wrap to cover most of the cans. I love the trinkets and doily flower she used to decorate them with.

Decorative International Coffee Tins

Decorative International Coffee Tins

15. International Foods Coffee Tins

I have always loved those International Foods Coffee tins that are square with the rounded corners, so I was super excited and inspired when I found these at craftapple by guest blogger Natalie Jost. You won't believe how easy they are to make . . . basically, just cover them with pretty paper and viola! You have a beautiful storage container.

She mounted hers with magnets on metal but you could always decorate the lids too and use them as either gift or storage containers. If you choose to decorate and use the lid as well, here are some ideas I thought of:

  • You could turn the lid upside down and trace around it, cut it out and glue it on the top of the lid. This will make a perfect decorative cover for your lid.
  • You could paint your lids to match the patterns of the paper you used to cover the cans.
  • Make some 3D paper flower embellishments and glue them on top of the lid. This would make a cute gift box!
Bread in a Can

Bread in a Can

16. Mini Loaf of Bread in a Tin Can

Bread in a tin can! Who would have thought it? Chasing Fireflies thought it! I LOVE the idea of giving away these breads in a can . . . I've never even thought about baking bread in a tin can, but it most certainly can be done. This is truly genius! Go to the link for the how-to plus a recipe for the banana bread.

I just can't get over what a neat idea this is! What a sweet little gift for teachers, students, a sick friend or anybody really . . . plus it would be great to give for any holiday and special occasions. Just think of all the different ways you can decorate these cute cans of bread!

Tin Can Vase

Tin Can Vase

17. Tin Coffee Can Vase

Snippets of Wonderful has the tutorial for this simple tin can vase. I like the simple look of this one . . . with the one line of cursive writing on it. It is simple yet elegant with the roses inside. She painted it with craft paint and then used a sharpie to embellish it with writing. Depending on the 'look' you are going for, you could write something different or even use the sharpie to draw a unique design on it.


18. Tin Can Treats

These tin can treats are the neatest little things! It's little tin cans full of candies/goodies, but you can only get to the goodies by pulling off the tab on top. How do you make something like this, you may ask? They are actually those small Del Monte canned fruits with the pull tab tops.

Basically, you just open the other end/bottom of the can with a can opener, pour out the fruit to save and eat later, decorate the can and fill with candies and goodies, glue the bottom back on and give them away as gifts! To get to the goodies, the recipient will have to open the pull tab on top.

These tin can treats at Our Best Bites were made specifically for Teacher Appreciation and Mother's Day, but they would be perfect for any occasion or holiday!

Have Fun Crafting With Tin Cans!

I hope that you have enjoyed this tin can craft round-up! Hopefully, you are inspired to make a few of these. Just be sure to always wear heavy gloves when working with, especially when cutting, tin cans. The raw cut edges are extremely sharp! Happy tin can crafting!


Abigail Hreha from Oregon on May 22, 2019:

What fun ideas! Love the lamp shade!

ken lynch on August 27, 2017:

i have made 6 coffee can lanters i put christmas lights in them .you can use battery operated christmas or thread the electric christmas through after finishing your coffee can lanter .

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 03, 2015:

Thank you Diane Abrahamson!

Diana Abrahamson on April 24, 2015:

Great ideas for the tin can.Love the button and storage idea!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 29, 2014:

Journey- Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 29, 2014:

Kathleen Odenthal- Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 29, 2014:

choosetolive-Thank you so much! I appreciate you dropping by :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 29, 2014:

mueblesdejardin- Thank you!!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 29, 2014:

NikkiThePoet- Thank you :)

Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on August 01, 2014:

These tin can ideas are really very nice. Thanks so much for sharing. I'll be pinning this to my crafty Pinterest board.

Kathleen Odenthal from Bridgewater on June 10, 2014:

Great, creative post! Voted up and shared :)

Ravi and Swastha from London, Canada on May 15, 2014:

Very good information. Thanks for sharing. Voted up & informative.

Muebles de jardin from madrid on May 03, 2014: