Struggling with what to do with all those empty coffee cans you’ve been saving? This post is for you! And did I mention today is Earth Day – what better way to celebrate eco-love than a fun upcycles project?
I get lots of great coffee can ideas just by looking around and because there is no need whatsoever to toss a perfectly good can, when I can reuse them, repurpose them, and dress them up in colors and patterns and give them a second life!
One of my favorite things to hang on to and “upcycle” – they’re big enough to be used for something even if it’s just a kitchen pantry essential. I especially like the 11.3 and 23 oz sizes the best.
Even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body you will love these coffee can craft ideas because chances are there is room in your repertoire for at least a few of these uses. Enjoy!
Coffee Can Planter
This is a great way to house seedlings and smaller houseplants! The 23-30 oz size works the best for this; but if you have seedlings you can use smaller 11 oz cans.
For these, you need plastic coffee cans – I wouldn’t use metal ones because all the moisture that will result from watering your plants will cause the can to rust ( unless you have something like cacti or succulents, that don’t need much water. ) or air plants.
I used a small metal can for another plant as it’s a succulent and needs very little water.
Make sure to drill a few drainage holes at the bottom when you go to water your plants. You can make standalone planters to display on a shelf or rack somewhere, or hanging planters like mine.
How do you like my hanging Folgers can planter below? 😁 It came with the kind of label that was infused to the container and not able to be peeled off, so I covered that part up with the help of some pretty patterned washi tape arranged in a row.
I drilled three holes in corresponding spots near the top. I used string cord. . This hanger was from the clip-on hanger from its previous pot that it outgrew, which is why it needed to upgrade its home.
I also embellished the wire hanger part ( for the succulent planter ) with some beads so it looks even jazzier. You can decorate the cans with some tape like this kind here or just do like I did and leave them be.
A Small Can Makes a Good Pet Trainer Tool
When my cats misbehave (e.g horseplay; scratching something I don’t approve of) I shake a 11.3 oz metal can I’ve filled up halfway with dried beans and that gets them back in line right away – cats dislike sudden loud noises so this works like a charm.
Pro Tip: Use a metal can for this as the objects inside will make more noise when you shake it.
They’ll learn to associate the negative behavior with the unpleasant noise the objects make. You can do likewise with some other small hard objects too, like coins or pebbles.
One of the most popular coffee can crafts I have seen is making kitchen product storage canisters, you know, like for flour, sugar, tea, etc. As they already come in handy with an airtight lid, why not? Either the metal or plastic ones will work great to use to store your pantry stuff, keep bugs out, and keep it in easy reach.
Only thing to focus on…decorating them a little and adding labels for each product. You could decorate each can with something like patterned paper (but I would apply a coat of Mod Podge to protect them from moisture) and apply labels such as these:
Chalkboard Labels for Jars 96pcs – Chalkboard Labels Stickers with Chalk Marker500 Pcs Jar Label Stickers Wreath Design Self-Adhesive Jar Labels240 Pcs Name Tags Personalized Decorative Name Tags Self Adhesive
Yarn Ball Tidyer
I’m not a knitter but when I’ve handled yarn before I’m always amazed at how messy and tangled those balls can get. Use a small can for each ball and cut a hole in the lid to run the loose skein through so you always know it is coming out nice and tangle-free.
Coffee Can Lanterns
A super awesome way to create ambiance in your home on the cheap – if you’ve got multiple cans saved, consider making a number of super-cute DIY lanterns! These would be a big hit for a painting party; your guests will be wow-ed by these as centerpiece and table decorations!
If you like you can paint it in desired colors; and use a cordless drill or awl to make the designs.
You may need to refer to a stencil or pattern to get the design accurate. Try using various drill bit sizes for varying hole sizes to really make your design look eye-catching! You can also drill a couple of holes on each side to make hanging lantern style candle holders, too.
A small candelabra bulb (e.g. C7) would work well for a lantern of this size. A kit that includes a small size bulb or if you can remove one safely from another project to use.
Make Your Own Birdhouse
As a self-confessed bird girl/bird nerd, I LOVE this idea, probably second to the planter. I haven’t done this one yet but I hope I get to it soon one day, seeing that I have like, 3-4 feeders out but those little buggers need a new house for sure! If and when I do I’ll be sure to update with a picture so you can see it.
I would use a medium-sized Folgers can for this, as you can easily cut a round opening in the front for them to go in and out of, and don’t forget to drill a small hole below that for a perching rod (you can use a wood dowel, or even a never used pencil, in a pinch!
Here’s one creative gal who managed to kill 2 birds with one stone (just a figure of speech, guys!) by making it a combination house AND feeder…what do you think of this?
If you can remove the label on it, even better, if not you can always paint it, try to make it look eye catching, be creative making it avian-friendly.
You could use a metal can too to make a birdhouse or feeder, although I think it would be harder since you can’t cut it…in that case you may want to turn it sideways.
Piggy Bank/Change Collector
Who wouldn’t enjoy a special catch-all for their money? I use a 11.3 oz can for this purpose and cut a small slit two ways in the lid using a small knife. I painted it metallic gold but it can be any color you want .
You can take it one step further and give the can a label like “Rainy Day Savings” “New Shoe /Vacation/ (fill in the blank with desired item you’re saving up for) Fund”…whatever is personal to you; a nice incentive for your said goal.
Coffee Cans Make GREAT Holiday Lanterns…
This is another kid-friendly activity too; come Halloween, Christmas or even 4th of July you can all decorate and paint the cans to resemble the spirit of the respective holiday – I think Halloween would provide the best creative fodder; white cans for ghostly faces, orange for jack-o-lanterns, and green, purple or gold combinations for monsters comes to mind here.
Googly eyes, silk “hair” felt and yarn could be used as well.
If there is a label going around the coffee can (some do, others don’t) I would remove it first before you start to paint them.
Survival Kit/First Aid Supplies Catch-All
A great idea to have on hand for camping…and makes a great gift too!➕💯
A coffee can with a secure lid is the perfect container for keeping bandages, medicines, tape and related things all in one place to have on hand. 🏥 If it gets wet accidentally all the items will remain unaffected. Don’t forget to decorate it, too, maybe add the red cross symbol so you know it’s your first aid kit.
Conceal a Toilet Brush/Plunger
Who wouldn’t like to make a yucky toilet brush as obscure as possible?🚽
In my experience, the plastic cans made by Folgers work the best for this as they are the perfect size and shape.
So if you’re looking for a good use for plastic coffee cans, a keeper for cleaning brushes and plungers is ideal. You can use an x-acto knife to cut an opening in the middle for the handle to poke out of. That’s it! As they say out of sight, out of mind.
These are some of the best DIY coffee can ideas I know of and they’re pretty easy to put together – with the exception of the candle votive pattern which may take a little extra work but can make some pretty cool artwork and backdrop for illumination. You have no reason to let those cans end up in the recycle bin again if coffee is a major staple in your household.
If you think of some other good ideas I would love to hear them too. What creative uses for coffee cans have you discovered?