DIY Coffee Can Ideas To Make Your Life Simpler, Easier or More Fun!
I get lots of DIY coffee can ideas just by taking full advantage of their ideal size and because there is no need whatsoever to toss them when I can 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.
I prefer metal cans for crafts; I’m particular when shopping because not all cans that look metal are metal – some of them are actually cardboard on the inside – I can tell when I tap on the outside of them 🙂
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Even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body you will love these coffee can project ideas because chances are there is room in your repertoire for these various uses. Some of them you may have seen or heard about, but this is a list of my personal favorites.
Do You Need Anything Special To Make Crafts Using Coffee Cans?
Mainly you just need to start with some good ideas, but these are the main tools you may find helpful in putting them together. These are the main tools you will need or find come in handy:
- Duct tape in bright colors or patterns – Just wrapping it around can take an ordinary can from drab to fab, there is not need to use glue for the obvious reason, and since there are so many unique colors and patterns of duct tape out there you can have a blast prettying them up.
- Cordless drill – If you are planning to make hanging planters for your plants or some really cool patterns for candle votives (see no 5) you will need the use of a drill and one of the smaller bit sizes. The drill I own is a Black and Decker Always Ready – I really go to town on that thing.
- Paint – I use all-purpose acrylics; I have also used spray paint too. You can paint your cans in unlimited colors or shades, or even do gradients and fades too.You could also use white primer if you’re concerned about the writing on the can showing, under the top coat.
- Sticky labels – Applied with adhesive these are great for storage purposes especially if you have a lot of sorting and storing to do.
- Gift wrap paper – This can work well; you will have to apply some kind of glue/adhesive beforehand and do a good job of pressing out the bubbles as you wrap it around the can, but it will look great and you can later on apply decoupage sealant to protect it.
- Waterproof glue – In some cases, such as projects than involve multiple small cans you’ll need some good strong adhesive to hold them together.
Best Coffee Can Project Ideas I’ve Discovered
1. Planter Pot
I think this is my favorite use of them all; the 23-30 oz size works the best for this; but if you have seedlings you can use smaller 11 oz cans. 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 pots -just drill three holes in corresponding spots near the top. I use 12 gauge crafting wire since it will go through the holes easier than something like yarn or cording; in the case of this hanger I simply used the included hanger from its previous pot that clipped on easily – it outgrew it which is why it needed an upgrade – but by the looks of this little guy’s growth I think I may have to divvy it down the middle and re-pot half of it in another planter so I may be making a new one like this again soon!
2. Pet Trainer Tool
When my cats misbehave (e.g horseplay; scratching something I don’t approve of) I shake a 11.3 oz 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. They’ll learn to associate the negative behavior with the unpleasant noise the objects make. You can do likewise with some other small nonporous objects too like coins or pebbles.
3. Storage Caddy
Next time you have a backyard grillout or other fun happening make a caddy out of multiple cans and each can is a compartment to hold different utensils – one for forks, one for knives, you get the picture. You probably need about 3 of them at least but you can have up to six. Use water proof adhesive to secure the cans together after painting them. There are a number of ways to make the handle; one way I’ve seen is to use an actual part made for kitchen cabinets.
You can also make this caddy for holding together office supplies or crafting tools; things like pens, pencils, brushes, and other bric-a-brac, now that’s “crafty” – definitely the right mindset of a practical artisan!
4. 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.
5. Candle Holder/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 these for your next party; it is sure to be a big hit with your guests as centerpiece and table decorations! Paint in desired colors; and use a cordless drill 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 few holes on each side to make hanging lantern style candle holders too. Be sure to put a little sand inside each can before you put the candle in and light it.
6. Stilts For the Kiddos
In my day we had something called “Romper Stompers” – this is the upcycled version. You’ll need the drill for this one too;and some craft wire; let you kids paint them anyway they want. A great simple pleasure as far as recreational items go.
7. Piggy Bank/Change Collector
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..
8. 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.
9. Survival Kit/First Aid Supplies Catch-All
A can with a secure lid is perfect for keeping bandages, medicines, tape and related things all in one place the next time you go camping. If it gets wet accidentally all the items will remain unaffected.
10. Conceal a Toilet Brush/Plunger
Who wouldn’t like to make an instrument like this as obscure as possible? In my experience the plastic cans made by Folgers work the best for this as they are somewhat roomier – metal cans don’t seem to be quite big enough. I tend to prefer metal cans over anything plastic; but as a keeper for cleaning brushes and plungers Folgers cans are the ideal size. 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.
Most of the ideas above make sure you can metal cans and especially for the candle votive idea since you don’t want the chance of cardboard catching on fire. Plastic cans will be fine for first aid kits, yarn ball tidyers and toilet cleaners. But whichever you use you are doing a good thing by getting away from the throwaway mentality which is bad. Kudos to you why buy little plastic storage thingys when these work just as well?
If you think of some other good ideas I would love to hear them too. What creative uses for coffee cans have you discovered?
Above Image Attribution: Image by Andrew FilerOther Creative Posts You Might Enjoy