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Tin can tidy allI’m really, really into upcycling and recycling at the moment. Trying to use up things around the house I would normally throw away instead of buying more things. This is partly an economic thing (according to the budget I’ve been keeping the last few months I spend a lot more on craft and household items than I thought) but mostly just an extra awareness of how easy it is to create unnecessary waste. Maybe because it was Earth Day last week or that we missed a bin collection and I saw how quickly our recycling bin fills up or just realising that I’m constantly upset how much everything at the supermarket is packaged I resolved to have a good couple of weeks creating and reusing – or ‘upcycling’ – projects only. No trips to the craft or hardware stores for anything. If I don’t already have it I won’t use it. Two weeks like this is my goal. Hopefully by the end of this challenge I will have gotten into a more eco-friendly mindset about my crafts, what is rubbish and what isn’t and what is truly necessary.

First up is tin cans. Cooking sees us go through 6-10 tin cans each week in the form of tinned tomatoes, beans, coconut milk etc. I feel horrible dumping these cans in the bin all the time and resolved to make them into something useful and pretty instead. Cans are great hold-alls, good size and shape for all sorts of things from pens to buttons to lanterns to plants. I started simple and make some tidy-alls for my side table which frequently gets out of control messy.


  • tin can(s)
  • scissors
  • paper/wallpaper of choice – I chose some colourful scrap wallpaper sample that I had saved from another project
  • craft glue
  • pencil
  • ruler



  • Wash tin cans thoroughly with hot soapy water, remove the labels and dry properly.


  • Measure the height of the can you want your paper to cover and measure it out on the wrong side of the paper. It doesn’t matter how long the piece is (as long as it’s enough to go around) as you can overlap or trim the excess as you go.


  • Put craft glue along the wrong side of your paper and then wrap it carefully around your tin making sure to press out any bumps or bubbles as you go and sit to dry.


  • Once dry fill the now beautifully decorated tin with whatever you desire!

Tin can tidy all

Tada! Instant and unique containers for you to store bits and pieces in!

Tomorrow I think I’ll make the remaining three tins I’ve got set aside into pretty pots for my budding herbs. I can use up the last of my spraypaint and some pretty ribbon scraps in one go and have matching pots for my plants.*

On that cheerful note – I’m very pleased with this easy DIY upcycle project – I shall leave you with a few images of other wonderful tin can projects to inspire and hopefully encourage you to reuse any cans you may have destined for the bin.

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*Be sure to drill/punch a few drainage holes in the bottom of the tins before planting them if you decide to also do this project.