14 Tin Can Crafts for the Whole Family

Every time you take a trip to the store, you bring home canned food. When you use this food, you leave the empty, used tin cans that you throw away, recycle, or they just take up space. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Have you ever thought of doing tin can crafts on your own or with your family? A little bit of patience and creativity can breathe new life into these tin cans, and you’ll get rustic pieces of decor to showcase around your home. 

We’re going to give you several tin can crafts with quick guides that you can use to transform your tin cans. They make great gifts, but you may just like them so much that you keep them for yourself. 

1. Planters With Chalkboard Tags 

This quick and simple tin can craft needs only a few materials and a little time to transform tin cans into stunning tin planters. They’re great for herbs, especially if you use the chalkboard tag to tell them apart. You’ll need: 

  • Tin cans
  • 1/16-inch thick balsa wood 
  • Copper spray paint
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Soil
  • Herbs/plants 
  • Hemp/rope 
  • Xacto knife

Start by getting your tin cans and peeling the labels off. Make sure there’s no glue left on them. Rinse them out and dry them thoroughly. Take your cans outside and give them a coat of your metallic copper spray paint. You’ll need two or three coats. While they’re drying, get your tags ready. Cut your balsa wood into three-inch wide rectangles using your exacto knife. 

Punch out a small hole in the top of your balsa wood for your hemp or rope to go through. Apply four layers of chalkboard paint, allowing each coat to dry for an hour before applying the next. Let them dry for 24 hours when you get the final coat on. Run your hemp or rope through the hole and wrap it around the can. Secure it with a bow to complete this tin can craft. 

You’re now ready to fill it with soil, add your herbs, and label your sign. 

Tin Can 1 Chalkboard Sign
You can freehand your chalkboard signs for this tin can craft or use templates. 

2. Lanterns 

Not only can outdoor lanterns be expensive, but they can be difficult to find outside of the spring and summer months. Never mind trying to find a pattern that matches your decor. But, you can make your own with this tin can craft. You’ll need: 

  • Tin cans
  • Tape
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Pencils
  • Paper 
  • Candles (real or fake)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Wire (optional)

Before you do anything, rinse out your tin cans and pull the labels off. Fill the cans with water and let them freeze overnight so they don’t dent when you punch your design in them. Decide what you’d like to have on your lanterns. It can be a defined pattern, or you can just use dots. Put your design on the paper and outline it with markers. Pull your tin cans out of the freezer and tape the paper with your design on the can. 

Get your hammer and nail and gently go around the edge of your design, poking light holes all of the way around. Make sure you don’t tear the paper, and resist the urge to use a drill because you won’t get a clean look. When you finish your design, peel the paper off and melt the water. You can paint it if you’d like. If you want to hang it, you’ll have to punch two holes along the top and thread your wire through to create a handle. Put your candle in and it’s ready to go. 

Tin Can 2 Lantern
Your lantern can double as wedding or party decorations with this tin can craft. 

3. Tea Lights

If you want something with a more rugged look, this is it. You’ll end up with a slightly squashed tin can that balloons out of the sides with slits to allow the light through. This tin can craft requires: 

  • Paint
  • 1-inch flat brush
  • Dremel tool
  • Metal cutting disk
  • Tin cans
  • Safety gloves and glasses
  • Tea lights
  • Heavy object to squash the can

Start by rinsing out the cans and removing any residue from the label. Get your dremel tool with the metal cutting disk and cut the cans vertically. You’ll want to leave around a ½-inch space between each slit. Your safety gloves will protect you from cuts while the glasses protect against flying metal in this step. Paint the cans whatever colors you like. You can leave them bare too. 

Add weight to the top of your can and start to slowly squash it. The weakened area where you cut into earlier will start to bow out into a V-shape. Remove the weight and put on your safety gloves. Slowly shape the can until it’s more of a U-shape. Pop in your tea lights and add any embellishments you like. You’re now ready to set this tin can craft around your home and let it shine. 

Tin Can 3 Tea Lights
Tea lights create a nice ambiance in your home, and you can get fake ones that run on batteries or real ones that burn for a few hours. 

4. Tin Can Organizer 

Could your kid’s art table or your own desk use an organizational boost? If so, this tin can craft is a fun and unique answer to your problem. You’ll only need a few supplies, and the paint patterns you can put on the cans make them truly unique. You’ll need: 

  • Tin cans
  • Paint
  • Scrap of flat wood
  • Paint brush (if you’re doing a pattern)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Glue sticks
  • Glue gun
  • Clear sealant 

Grab your tins cans and give them a good clean. We used five in varying heights. The scrap of wood you pick should be just big enough to hold your desired number of cans. Use your painter’s tape to tape off any design you’d like. Paint the rest of the can and carefully peel off the tape. You should do a minimum of two layers, and let them dry for an hour between each one. 

Paint your piece of scrap wood and give it at least an hour to dry. Spray or paint your clear sealant on the cans and on the board. Allow it to dry. Warm up your hot glue gun and use it to attach the cans to the scrap wood. You can also nail the cans to the wood, but this is a slightly longer process. This tin can craft is now ready for your scissors, pens, pencils, or whatever you’d like to put it in. 

Tin Can 4 Pencil Holder
If you have larger markers, you can use bigger cans to accommodate more when you make this tin can craft. 

5. Pencil Cups with Cork Covering 

Pencil or pen cups are perfect for your kid’s crayons, pencils, pens, or anything else they use to write and create their artwork. But, keeping them contained and organized can be challenging, especially if they have a lot of them. This tin can craft allows you to create an eye-catching and sturdy holder in your home. You’ll need: 

  • Tin cans
  • Roll on cork 
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Felt (any color you like)
  • Paint
  • Sealant (optional)

Start by picking out medium or large cans and stripping the label off. Wash the cans to remove any debris or leftover label material. Allow the cans to dry and apply a layer or two of your chosen paint. Paint both the inside and outside of your can. You can apply a protective sealant if you want, but this is completely optional. 

Open your thin sheet of cork and measure how wide the can is. You want the cork to overlap by 1/8th of an inch. This is just enough to ensure it sticks without creating a distracting bubble. Heat up your hot glue gun and slowly apply the cork to the cans. Work in inch increments, and you only need a strip of glue on the top and bottom of the cork. This will prevent any bubbles from forming in the body. Let it dry, double check that it’s all stuck, and you’re now ready to use this tin can craft.

Tin Can 5 Cork
A sheet of cork lets you poke small pins into it to personalize it more. 

6. Tin Lamps 

This tin can craft will use tuna cans. You don’t want to use regular tin cans because you’ll attach them straight to the wall, and normal cans will stick out too much. However, it’s a unique craft that will look nice in your home or business. You’ll need: 

  • Tuna or semi-flat tin cans
  • Scissors
  • Patterned paper
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wooden hanger
  • Clothespins 
  • Twine
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Felt (optional)
  • Tea lights (real or fake)

Wash out your tin cans. You can peel the labels off or leave them on. If you peel them off, make sure you get rid of all the glue. Cut your patterned paper to the size of the tin cans, leaving a ½ of an inch overlap. Slowly apply hot glue to the can and press your patterned paper on so it runs around the outside of the can. If you’re worried about the cans scratching your walls, add a circle of felt on the back of the cans. 

Using your hammer and nail, carefully punch a hole in the top of the can so you can hang it later. Take your clothespins and add small strips of the patterned paper to their face. Run the twine through the hole in the tin can and tie it off. Each can should have a slightly different length. Loop the other end of the twine around the hanger and knot it off. Put a clothespin over each knot to hide it with the patterned paper facing out. 

Hang your new tin can craft on the wall, using the wooden hanger as the secure point. Put a tea light into each can and light them or turn them on. 

Tin Can 6 Tin Lamp
These hanging tea lights let you light up corners and areas of your home where you have no overhead light. 

7. Rustic Wine Rack 

Wine racks can be expensive and large, but you can make your very own as big or as small as you like with this tin can craft. You’ll only need a few things, and it’ll be sturdy enough when you finish it. For this craft, you’ll need to have: 

  • 4 to 12 large tin cans (coffee cans work great)
  • White spray paint
  • Can opener
  • File
  • Glue
  • Drop cloth

Peel the labels from the cans and make sure they’re totally clean and dry. Remove the bottom of each can with a can opener so they’re open on both ends. This is where your wine bottle will rest. If you see rough edges, file them down. Spray the inside and outside of the cans with two coats of your chosen paint colors. For the best results, spray at least two coats and allow them to dry for an hour between coats. 

Allow the cans to dry 100% of the way. Arrange your cans in groups of three and glue them together. Regular glue or hot glue works well. Once you get a row of three or four, glue another row on top of them. You want to stagger the cans so they sit in the grooves left by the last row of cans. Set this tin can craft wherever you like and slide your wine bottles inside. 

Tin Can 7 Wine
Wine bottles can quickly take up a lot of space, but this easy tin can craft ensures you have everything you need to store them. 

8. Birch Planters 

This tin can craft looks like you end up with birch planters, but they’re actually a more sturdy tin can wrapped with paper that mimics birch. You can make them all the same size, or you have the option of creating staggered planters. You’ll need: 

  • 3 four-ounce succulents 
  • 3 tin cans
  • Decoupage
  • 2 or 3 sheets of birch scrapbook paper
  • Scissors
  • Foam brush 

After you wash out your cans and let them dry, you’ll want to measure and cut the birch printed scrapbook paper to fit the exterior of the cans. Once you have them cut, apply a very thin layer of decoupage to each can. Carefully press the birch paper to the decoupage, and you want to make sure you smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles for a seamless look. 

Punch two or three drainage holes into the bottom of the can. Add in a thin layer of soil and pop your succulent into the tin can craft. Carefully backfill the soil in until you cover the succulent’s roots. If you’re worried about the water running out of the can, you can set it on a small saucer and empty it as needed. You can add a sprig or two of fake berries in the winter months to create a festive look. 

Tin Can 8 Birch
Birch is a gorgeous rustic medium that can bring warmth to a room. 

9. Beach-Themed Vase

It’s important to note with this tin can craft that the water for your flowers won’t actually go right in the tin can. Instead, you’ll slip a glass vase inside the can and use the craft as a clever cover. To complete this craft, you’ll need: 

  • A coffee can or two
  • Felt (optional)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue
  • Hemp rope
  • Glass jar

Remove the label from your coffee can and remove any glue or sticky debris. Wash out the can and allow it to dry. Warm up your hot glue gun and hot glue the end of your hemp rope to the bottom of the can. Continue to tightly wind the rope around the can, and apply more glue every four inches. Wrap the can until you reach the top. Cut the rope and glue it tightly down. 

If you’re worried about this tin can craft scratching your table, you can cut a small circle of felt to match the bottom of the can and glue it on. Slip your glass jar into the can, making sure it doesn’t poke up over the top lip. Add your flowers and water. You now have a beach-themed vase that won’t rust or break down.

Tin Can 9 Beach
Hemp rope conveys a beachy feel with this tin can craft that looks perfect in the bathroom. 

10. Outdoor Drink Holder

The warmer summer months are approaching fast, and being outside enjoying the weather will be a daily occurance. Maybe you want to  have a bonfire with your friends but you need a place to put your drinks. This tin can craft can help. To complete it, you’ll need: 

  • Tin cans
  • Paint or fabric scrap
  • Paint brush or scissors 
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Outdoor Modge Podge 
  • 1 ¼-inch 20 to 36-inch threaded rod
  • 2 ¼-inch bolts
  • 2 large ¼-inch washers
  • Gorilla glue
  • Resin (optional)

To start this tin can craft, empty out the can and strip the label off. Wash out the can to get rid of any residue. Cut two strips of your chosen fabric or paint the can. The fabric should be the same length, but one should be much wider. Use the can label as your pattern to get the correct length, and add an additional inch for overlap. 

Hammer your ¼-inch nail through the bottom of the can in the center. Cover the outside of the tin can with a layer of Modge Podge. Slowly wrap the large cut of fabric around the can, making sure you get any air bubbles out. Secure the end with a thin layer of Modge Podge. Make a thin ring of modge podge on the interior of the can by the rim so your second strip of fabric will cover the sharp edge. Cover both pieces of fabric with outdoor Modge Podge to seal it. 

Twist one of your ¼-inch bolts around four inches down your threaded rod. Put a washer on top of this bolt. Put your can (bottom side down) on top of your washer. Attach the other washer and threaded bolt to the top of the threaded rod. Flip the tin can craft over and tighten up the bolts. You should have the can secured with the washers and bolts on one end with the rod sticking out the bottom. If you’d like to make the bottom of the can flat for your beverage, mix up your resin and pour a thin layer to cover the head of the bolt in the can. 

Add gorilla glue to the washer on the bottom of the can and let it dry for an hour. This will help hold it in place. Drive the rod in the ground by your chair. It’s now ready to use all summer long. 

Tin Can 10 Beverage Holder
These drink holders are excellent for almost any sized glass or can. 

11. Tin Can Bowling Set

If you want a fun way to keep your kids entertained, this tin can craft will allow you to create a bowling set they can use all year round. You can create several holiday themes, or you can color the cans to your kids’ favorite superheroes. You’ll need: 

  • 6 tin cans
  • Paint
  • Varnish
  • Paint brush
  • Tennis ball

Get six tin cans and peel the labels off. Carefully wash them out and remove any glue that may stick to the sides from the label. Dry the cans. Using an enamel-based paint, paint the cans however you like. You could do monsters for Halloween, holiday-themed for Christmas, or paint them your kid’s favorite colors. You may have to apply one or two coats before you get even layers. 

Allow the paint to dry. Once it dries, you can seal the paint to the cans by applying a thin layer of varnish. You should give this layer at least two hours to dry, and it shouldn’t be sticky to the touch. Stack this tin can craft in a triangle shape with three cans on the bottom, two on the second row, and one on top. Use a tennis ball to knock them down and keep score. 

Tin Can 11 Bowling
This fun tin can craft can keep your kids entertained for hours on end, and you can even set up tournaments. 

12. Windsock 

Traditional windsocks are very pretty, but they’re not as durable as people would like them to be. They fade, rip, tear, and break down. This tin can craft makes it easy to get a lasting windsock that you can customize to suit your decor. You’ll need: 

  • 1 large coffee can
  • Twine
  • Can opener
  • Hammer 
  • Nail
  • Wallpaper or paint
  • Outdoor Modge Podge 
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Foam brush
  • Ribbon 

To start, clean out your coffee can and peel the label off. Get rid of any glue. Cut the bottom out of the can with your can opener so it’s open on both ends. If you want to paint the can, now is the time. Another option is to get a patterned piece of wallpaper and cut it to fit your can. Use your foam brush and apply a thin layer of Modge Podge to adhere the paper to the can. Apply another thin layer to the exterior of the paper to seal it. Let it dry. 

Take your hammer and nail and punch four holes around the top of the can. These holes are where you’ll run your twine that allows you to hang up the windsock. Tie the twine together. Warm up your hot glue gun and hot glue your ribbon streamers around the bottom of the can. You’re now ready to hang this tin can craft in the tree or on your porch eave. 

Tin Can 12 Windsock
You can create a bright windsock with this tin can craft that lasts for years. 

13. Cake Pan 

Do you want to bake but you can’t find a traditional cake pan? If so, this tin can craft will allow you to create individual cakes your whole family will love. To complete this project, you’ll need: 

  • Three or four tin cans 
  • Boxed cake mix
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Frosting
  • Flat pan to set the tin cans on in the oven
  • Spatula to frost the cake

Once you clean out the tin cans and peel the labels off, you can leave them to dry. Preheat the oven to the temperature on the box. Get your mixing bowl and mix up the cake batter according to the directions. Grease and flour the inside of each tin can with a light coating to prevent the cake from sticking.

Place each tin can on the flat pan and fill it halfway with cake batter. Pop them in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes clean. Take them out and wait for the cake to cool. Once the cake cools, you can tip them out of the can. Frost the cakes and serve them. You can wash out and reuse the cans in this tin can craft over and over. 

Tin Can 13 Cake
The small cake you create with this tin can craft is great by itself or cut apart and frosted in layers.

14. Pin Cushion

Half of the struggle with sewing is keeping track of your pins, but this tin can craft will help you create an adorable pin cushion. You’ll only need a few items and 30 to 45 minutes to complete this project start to finish. It requires:

  • 1 small tin can
  • 1 eight inch by eight inch piece of fabric
  • Handful of poly-fil
  • Small sheet of patterned paper
  • Scissors
  • Double-stick tape
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun

Peel the label off your can and wash it. Trace the width of your tin can and cut out your patterned paper to fit with ½-inch overlap to secure it. Attach the paper to the can using double-sided tape. Cut a shorter piece of tape and use it to secure both ends together on the overlap. 

Take your handful of poly-fil and form a loose ball shape. Put it into the center of your fabric square, and gather all of the corners to make a ball. Take your hot glue gun and go along the inner rim of the can. Insert your poly-fil and fabric ball. The edges should go to the can’s bottom. You can put glue on the bottom too for extra security if you like. Tuck your fabric in until you get a taunt ball. Add your pins to complete this tin can craft. 

Tin Can 14 Pincushion
This tin can craft pincushion allows you to keep all of your items together when you sew. 

These 14 tin can crafts are all simple and easy to do. You can spruce up your home using any one of these tin can crafts, and you can make them stand out or blend in. They make great gifts, or you can keep them for yourself and admire the compliments you get on each of them. 

14 Tin Can Crafts for the Whole Family Cover