one green planet
one green planet

Shall we preface this little piece of environmentally friendly fun by saying that there will be no suggestions of tying a string between two cans to create an old-timey telephone. And, there will most certainly not be any proposition that a can be suspended beneath a tree limb for target practice, be it with a slingshot, BB gun or canon. This is both a technologically up-to-date and peace-loving website!

However, what we do recognize is that there is growing need for us to significantly reduce what we use and creatively reuse what we have, and within this recognition, we find the inevitable, occasional tin can. Even with all of us trying to eat fresh, local produce, working to steer clear of processed foods, preservatives and other plunders upon nature, sometimes a canned good just creeps into our lives, and we are left with the packaging.

Here are a few fanciful and fine ways to make the most of tin cans, stuff that just about anyone can do but is a bit more advanced than those cans on a string.

1. The Tin Can Luminary

Why go with a plain old candle when a luminary is in the cards? Take those tin cans, sketch some simple patterns on paper, wrap it around the can and drill out holes following the pattern. To preserve the shape of the can, fill it with some sand then water then freeze that. It’ll be able to withstand the pressure of the drill or the tapping of a hammer and nail. Stick a tea candle in it for an inviting glow.

2. The Tin Can Wind Chime


Wind chimes are a great addition to any porch or patio. They provide a touch of tinkling ambiance and a visual dangle-ment (my word) to enjoy. For a tin-can wind chime, one only needs to save three or more cans of varying sizes, paint them with some personal pizzazz and string them together. Most likely all the materials are around the house, so it’ll cost nothing. Why not make several?

3. The Tin Can Flower

We all love to discover a flash of color in the garden, but sometimes the flowers just aren’t blooming. No worries, though, because we can make tin can flower to provide permanent brilliance in the garden. Leave the bottom of the can intact and snip the sides into roughly one-inch strips from the top to the bottom. Round the edges to make proper petals, and get creative with some color. They can be fastened to pipes, poles or wooden stakes.

4. The Tin Can Punched Frame

7 Reasons to Save Tin Cans for UpcyclingGingerSnowflake

Pictures, in addition to preserving memories and providing eye-candy, really tie the room together, especially when they are done with tin cans. Just remove both ends (keep them), cut the remaining cylinder vertically, flatten it out and put all the pieces together to make a tin picture frame. For added pizzazz, use a hammer and nail (or drill) to punch patterns into the frame.

5. The Tin Can Herb Garden

A super simple solution (perhaps repentance) for having bought processed food is to use the container to grow some fresh herbs. Most kitchen herbs can grow perfectly happily in a container the size of a typical can. Again, paint them for a little flare, or leave the labels on, and make a herb garden on the kitchen windowsill or even as a centerpiece for the dining room table.

6. The Tin Can Organizer

Essentially, with the opened tin can, we have something of a container, just as perfect for pencils and paper clips as it is for spoons and spatulas it is for nails and screws. The trick is to fancy them up with colors. Arrange them in attractive configurations so that they beautify a desktop, kitchen counter, wall or even craft drawer. It’s simple and sometimes simple just makes sense, a lot more sense than buying something to do the same job.

7. The Tin Can Wine Rack

7 Reasons to Save Tin Cans for


Again, easy and useful is the name of the game. Lots of a people drop twenty or fifty dollars on a wine rack, which seems absurd when it can be made with upcycled cans and look completely stylish. Simply remove both ends of the cans, arrange the cylinders horizontally and fasten them together with a good adhesive. Then, there will be wine on the ready, and wine bottles for a different set of fun upcycling projects.

Well, this is but the preview of the possibilities. These are humble but ingenious ideas to begin elevating garbage into stylish gifts. Get into the art of tin can creations, and the world of upcycling will only continue to open up.

Lead image source: Flickr

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