Creative Uses for Tin Cans

I’ve found a lot of the products I purchase come in tin cans. While I always recycle them, I also try to find creative ways to repurpose them. If you are looking for creative uses for tin cans, try one of my fun suggestions below!

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Easy and creative uses for Old Tin Cans

Easy and creative uses for tin cans

As a first step, properly clean each can and file any sharp edges. Consider lining the edges with Duct or masking tape for extra protection. As a reminder, please supervise your children during these crafts.  

photo of flowers in a tin can vase

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Make a Tin Can Vase

Remove any labels from the can and spray with white paint for a simple vase and lovely centerpiece. With a little water and some brightly colored flowers, you’ve just added a touch of spring to your table!  You can even leave the can unpainted for a more rustic look.  

Homemade DIY Ribbon Organizer Final

DIY Upcycled Ribbon Organizer

If you have ribbon in your house for wrapping gifts, it can often get tangled beyond repair.  Make a DIY ribbon organizer and keep your ribbon nice and organized for free.  You can paint your old cans and add stickers or decoupage for a festive look.  

Foods You Can Re-Grow Yourself from Kitchen Scraps in old tin cans

Indoor Herb garden 

Take several cans and create a unique herb garden! After you remove the labels, paint your cans the color of your choice, or simply leave them plain. Using a hammer and nail, poke a few holes in the bottom of each can and fill it with soil. Plant a different herb in each can, using a decorative plant marker to label each. Line them on a tray facing the sun and watch your garden bloom.

adult using tin can phone

Make a tin can phone

Remember that old game of telephone you played as a kid?  Help your child make a tin can phone out of your empty cans.  Here is a quick rundown on how to do it:

  1. Wash the empty cans and carefully dry them. 
  2. Hammer a nail through the base of the cans to make a hole in each one.
  3. Insert one end of a string through one of the nail holes. Tie a knot in the end so it doesn’t slip back out. Repeat with the other end of the string.  
  4. Hold one tin can, and give the other tin can to someone else.  Send them into another room to see if your voice carries over the string.  

robots made from old tin cans

Cheap Kids Craft Supplies

Whether you use them to store paintbrushes in or decorate them for the holidays, old tin cans are incredibly useful.  Make sure they have no sharp edges on the inside where the lid was removed.  If they do, you can sometimes file them down with a metal file to smooth them out.  

Outdoor utensil holder

Using a touch of glue and some attractive scrapbook paper, decorate the outside of three tin cans. Choose the colors or patterns of the paper you use to match the season or holiday you are celebrating! At your next picnic, fill the tins with forks, knives, and spoons, and place them next to your plates and napkins. The brightly colored cans will add a nice touch to your outdoor table. 

DIY desk organizer made from upcycled tin cans

Desk organizer

Small, round tin cans, such as the ones that hold canned tuna, are great for organizing small desktop items like paperclips and pins. Place several open cans in a large, shallow desk drawer and fill them with various office supplies.

Next time you go searching for a rubber band or push pin, you’ll find they are much easier to track when neatly contained! Check out Suburbia Unwrapped for this DIY desk organizer made from upcycled tin cans. 

earth day craft tin can bird feeder

Tin can bird feeder

This project can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. Poke a hole in the base of a tin can and thread a string through the hole. Tie a knot in at the top. Next, glue a dowel to the inside base of the can to act as a perch.

Fill the can with seeds and hang it sideways from the branch.  If you want to get creative, paint the can and use a decorative ribbon instead of plain string – see the photo for inspiration.

No creative uses left?  Recycle tin cans, please!

I’m sure your family goes through a fair number of tin cans. What creative uses have you found for them? If you have no other ways to use them, definitely toss them in the recycling bin.  Or, offer them up to crafters in your area or on Craigslist.  Tin cans should never end up in the trash can!

upcycled tin can painted and used as a succulent pot

Like these creative uses for tin cans?  Try these upcycling tips, too:

  • Creative Uses for Brown Paper Bags: From paper bag crafts to homemade book covers, learn to reuse paper bags instead of throwing them away. 
  • Creative Uses for Egg Cartons Once You Eat All the Eggs!  I have become quite the queen of upcycling and reusing egg cartons is incredibly helpful in many ways. 
  • How to Recycle Soap and Creative Uses for Soap Around the House:  I am going to share with you a few tips on how to recycle soap so that it stops going to waste. I will also share with you a few creative uses for soap around the house.  

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