Green Craft Project: Upcycled & Embellished Metal Cans


I recently created a new Design Team project for Jenny Doh of CRESCENDOh, and would like to share it with you, too, dear readers.  I love how the project turned out, and hope you will, too!  I wanted to make use of some of Jenny’s wonderful rubber stamps and some vintage wallpaper that a friend gifted me with (thank you, KS!).  Here’s what I came up with:

Upcycled & Embellished Metal Cans

Rather than throw out or recycle metal food cans, why not upcycle them and make darling containers for treats, flowers, or a gift?  I used vintage wallpaper to cover these cans, but you could easily use scrapbooking paper or wrapping paper – whatever you have on hand or catches your eye.  You could even create your own decorative paper with some blank paper and rubber stamps.  This project could be created with a million variations, and I hope you’re inspired to create some of your own.

I started my project with cans in three different sizes.  The smallest can held tomato sauce, the middle-sized can held corn, and the largest can held bread crumbs.  I removed the labels, and washed and dried them.  My cans were free of sharp edges – please be careful to make sure you don’t cut or scrape yourself when working with your metal cans.


Wrap the cans with your decorative paper, securing the ends with double-stick tape.  If desired, apply a coat of matte Mod Podge.  I put Mod Podge on the two smaller cans, to bring the paper’s color out even more (floral with bird), and to protect the paper from water because I’d be putting water in the can (floral with quote).

Wrap ribbon, bias tape, or twill tape along the top and bottom edges of the can, using double stick adhesive or hot glue to attach the trim to the can.  I used bias tape on the two smaller cans, and twill tape on the largest can.  This decorative border will also cover any small gaps between the edge of the paper and the edge of the cans.  Align the ends of your trim with the seam of your paper in the back for a neater look.

To create a handle like the ones shown on the two smaller sizes, punch one hole on each side of the can with an awl or a nail and a small hammer.  Form a wire handle and insert the ends of the wire into each punched hole, winding the wire around to secure it near the top edge of the can.

Small can: Stamp the bird from the Sweet Tweets stamp set onto a tag with black ink.  Affix a vintage button to the top of the tag, and attach the tag to the top edge of the can. Fill with treats like Easter candy.



Medium can: Stamp a quote from the Ordinary Sparkling Sentiments stamp set onto watercolor paper using black ink.  Stamp two butterflies from the same stamp set near the quote.  Color in the butterfly wings with silver gel pen.  Accent the edges of the quote with metallic rub-ons.  Attach the quote to the wire handle with a small wooden clothespin.  Fill the can with flowers, then carefully fill the can with water.



Large can: Stamp initials from the Best Life Alphabet stamp set in black ink onto cream cardstock.  Stamp a decorative bracket from the Ordinary Sparkling Embellishments stamp set on either side of the initials.  Color in the brackets with black ink, and embellish with tiny rhinestones.  Mount the initials block onto black cardstock, creating a narrow black frame, and attach the finished piece to the can with double-stick tape.  Fill the can with a gift or other items of your choosing.



Happy crafting!

Warm regards,

P.S. Have you heard about my six-winner April giveaway yet?  You could win one of six books written and signed by author Catherine Ryan Hyde!  Details here.  If you’re a subscriber AND email me via my contact page you’ll have two chances to win, so please make sure you’re subscribed and shoot me an email today!

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  1. Posted April 7, 2011 at 10:24 am by Beth Nielsen | Permalink

    What a great idea and these are just lovely!

  2. Posted April 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm by Terry | Permalink

    You continue to amaze with your creativity. You could submit this to one of those “home living” type magazines that regularly include articles on “do-it-yourself” gift ideas around holidays and such – I could totally see this in “Sunset” or “Real Simple”. Thanks for sharing this great idea.

  3. Posted April 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you! I appreciate your kind words and positive feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed the post…

  4. Posted April 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you for reading my post, and for commenting. I appreciate the compliment!

  5. Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm by Debbie | Permalink

    These are great, my dear. And believe it or not, we used to decorate empty frozen OJ concentrate cans with paper & ric-rac & stickers & paints when I was in Brownies back in the 1950s. My Dad had one on his dresser until the day he died! Thanks for the memories.

  6. Posted April 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you, I’m glad you like them. I remember OJ concentrate cans from when I was little. How sweet that your Dad cherished one of your early art projects all those years. I love it!

  7. Posted April 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm by Mod Podge Amy | Permalink

    I love these – they are great. You made boring tin cans look beautiful!

  8. Posted April 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you – I’m so glad you like them! It’s nice to have your stamp of approval on a Mod Podge-inclusive project, given that you’re queen over at the Mod Podge Rocks! website. Thank you for stopping by, and for commenting!

  9. Posted June 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm by Celena | Permalink

    Absolutely adorable! I can’t wait to try this!!

  10. Posted June 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm by Melody | Permalink

    I’m so glad you like the project! Thank you for commenting!

  11. Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm by Carolyn | Permalink

    A fantastic job on recycling with a beautiful outcome. Love what you’ve done.

  12. Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you, I’m glad you like the project. Thank you, too, for commenting!