Monday, January 10, 2011

Recycled Tin Cans - Crafty Organizer Tutorial (Updated!!)

I posted this project on Crafts Unleashed last week, but wanted to share it with you all too!!  When I first organized my current craft studio, I created a unique craft organizer from quart-size paint cans.  I wish I could take all the credit for the idea, but I had actually seen a picture of something similar in a magazine, with no instructions attached (though I never could remember which one), and thought, "Hey, I could do that!"  My first organizer was made with store-bought, clean cans, and covered with simple scrapbooking papers.  My next organizer was made as a gift for a friend, out of larger, 24-oz recycled infant formula canisters, and it was at that time that all of my friends began asking for instructions on how to make this organizer!!  This is a fun and simple project, can be done in a few hours, makes a great gift or storage unit for your own studio, AND is a great way to recycle - it doesn't get much better than that!

For this project, I used 12.5 oz infant formula cans to make my organizer.  The possibilities are practically endless as to what you could use - just be careful with any sharp edges.
  • Clean out your cans well. I recommend against using water if your cans are metal, as it is very hard to prevent them from rusting. I used a baby wipe to clean mine out, and then dried them well with a paper towel. Be careful with the edge - it's not super sharp, but it's still possible to cut your hand if you're not careful.
  • I chose not to remove the paper from my cans, but you may decide to - it's your choice.  Since I left the paper on, I needed to put a coat of gesso on before starting my decoupage.

  • I had some GORGEOUS vintage music to use for covering my cans - check out the copyright date on this music!!  Tear the music into strips.  Using a foam brush, paint on layers of Mod Podge, and then lay on the strips of music (or other paper), gently but firmly pushing the paper down into the glue and smoothing out any wrinkles.  Let each layer dry before adding any additional layers.

  • Using an ink foam applicator, add distress ink as desired to highlight the torn edges of the music sheets and add depth to the paper.  I used Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain.  Then cover the paper in another coat of Mod Podge.  I used Matte Mod Podge.  Two final layers of Mod Podge will give a nice protective finish while keeping any stickiness and/or brush strokes to a minimum, but make sure to let the cans dry thoroughly between layers.

  • After the cans have dried, add whatever embellishments are desired.  I added vintage-y looking trims around each can to complement the vintage music.  Once you are happy with your cans, use a hot glue gun to build your pyramid.  Starting with the bottom row, use the glue gun to hot glue the cans to each other at the points where they touch in the center and on the backs of the cans.  For the middle and top rows, also add glue where they touch the cans below them.  Once they are all glued together, the pyramid will be quite sturdy - however, I still recommend always picking it up by the bottom row, to avoid stressing the glue points on the top can.

I hope you've enjoyed this updated tutorial - and that you'll find some cans to recycle in your own home to turn into a great crafty organizer for YOUR studio!!  Make sure you leave a comment with a link if you do!

Linking up to:


Brooke Douglass said...

I love that idea!!! I will have to tell my friend to save her formula cans for me!!! Thank you, brooke
Girl Boy Girl Inspired

charlotte: said...

Looks great!

Blue Skies,
Charlotte xo

Liz said...

I love this idea! I have a bunch of glass jars, I wonder if that would be good, or if I'm just asking for broken glass?

Erin said...

This is right up my alley!! Recycled, functional and cute!! It doesn't get any better. :)

Judy @ In His Grip said...

This is so cool. I will be making this for my studio. Thank you so much for the idea.

Jackie said...

This is a great recycling idea as well as cool for storage.

I would love to have you link this post to my new link party.

Jen said...

Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments! @ Erin - I bet you COULD do it with glass jars; I just wouldn't use a hot glue gun to attach them to each other, b/c the hot glue would probably just peel right off the glass. I don't know if E6000 would work, but definitely find a glue that works with glass. And then once it's done...make sure you put it somewhere that it's not going to get knocked off a shelf/desk onto tile floors!! :) I'd love to see it if you make one!! (That goes for everyone!)

Jackie said...

Thanks for linking up, Jen. Would you please link back to my blog in this post? Thanks.

Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy said...

what a fun organizational idea! I like to organize my craft supplies too. I use glass jars! Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesdays!

Jenny Rohrs said...

Thanks for sharing your link on CraftTestDummies- I should have KNOWN it would be a "Tim" product! LOL! =Jenny


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