Making {Cans Into Vintage Holders}

Happy Wednesday all! Hope this week has you safe and well. A lot of people have been experiencing heavy snowfall, and please keep the residents of Australia in your thoughts and prayers as they face a devastating flood.

The past four days I've been gradually getting today's craft project finished. I've been harboring some tins cans in our recycling bin, thinking of a way I could put them to good use (and bump up their style a bit). Then a couple weeks ago I came across four books from the Family Creative Workshop series, and one of the projects involved decoupaging cans. Perfect! But what paper to use?

Then I remembered this amazing book I picked up a couple years ago. It's a replica of a 1908 Sears catalog, and it's full of newsprint-y graphics and hilarious sales pitches. A perfect thing to give these cans the vintage feel I wanted.

So, if you have some cans lying around, and some pretty paper, here's what else you'll need:

1 can primer (keep in mind this will show at the top & bottom rims, so pick a shade you like)
1 can acrylic sealer
Xacto knife
Cutting/Rotary mat (or a ruler & a flat surface)
Craft glue
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
400-grain sand paper (optional, I'll explain)

Wash the cans in warm water and soap to clean and get the labels off. If some of the glue won't budge, sand it off as best you can. You want to make sure your surface is as smooth as possible.

Line up the cans in your favorite ventilated area.

Spray with one coat of primer and let dry. (I also sprayed the interior so it would have a matte finish. You could also line the cans with fabric or a paper that complements the one you're using on the outside.)

Measure each can top to bottom (keep measurements between the rims) and all around. Mark those measurements on your paper and cut out with a ruler and Xacto knife to get a clean line. My paper wasn't long enough, so I measured one big piece and one smaller piece to make sure it covered the can.

Take the pieces, head back out to your favorite ventilated area, and (with the right side facing you) spray with the acrylic sealer. This keeps the ink from running.

Once everything is dry, the paper will have a bit of a textured sheen to it. Bring everything back inside, break out your craft glue, and glue the paper pieces onto their corresponding cans. Make sure you smooth any bubbles out of the paper as you glue it (remember, we want the smoothest surface possible before decoupaging!).

Now comes the waiting game. Once the glue has thoroughly dried (this is important, otherwise the paper will keep slipping around), take out your sponge brush and Mod Podge. Since we're going for a built-up finish, you'll need to put a minimum of five coats on each can. I started out with light coats for the first three, and made them thicker for the last two. (If you haven't used Mod Podge before, don't worry if once you put on a coat it looks a little milky. As it dries it turns clear.)

Make sure each layer is dry before putting on the next. (The bottle says 15-20 minutes, but I waited about 30 between each coat.)

Now, after all this is done, you have two options: 1) leave everything as it is (I did this since I was happy with the outcome); 2) wet sand the cans with the 400-grain sand paper, wipe dry, and spray with one more coat of acrylic sealer.

And now you have your trash-to-treasure pieces in which you can put anything you want!

In the end I paid about $8 for a big bottle of Mod Podge since I had everything else. And there are so many ways you can make yours unique to your style with different paper patterns, stencils, stamps, etc.

As always, let me know if you give it a try! Would love to see the results!

I'm linking this up with Apron Thrift Girl's Make Share, so hop on over there and see what other craft-minded peeps have been up to this week!

ALSO...I'm hosting my very first giveaway, a copy of Mark Montano's The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor, which has more than 100 projects for the DIY lady & lad. Click here to go to the post and enter until Wednesday, February 2, 8 p.m. CST. 

{Images by me}


  1. I've been saving cans for this same purpose. They are the perfect inexpensive go-to for organizing scissors, adhesives, and all your hard supplies nearly while keeping them accessible. I love how yours came out, the vintage paper was a smart choice.

  2. Those look great; thanks for the inspiration! I've got some Trader Joe's coffee containers I've been saving and hope to do something similar with them.

  3. I love this craft! You got me at the paper let alone all the fabulousness of reusing cans and creating organizers. I have to try this soon. I'm in the midst of organizing my craft supplies. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  4. These absolutely rock! What a great idea.

  5. I came here from Modge Podge! And so glad I did! I LOVE your blog, particularly the DIY section. So inspiring- Following you!

  6. Ooh, just the project I need to have fun with all the "special" paper I have saved up! Thank you!

  7. I love your choice of vintage-like paper! Very eye catching - love it. Came over here from the link on Mod-Podge Rocks and I'm glad I did! Great project. ~Lori

  8. Love this. I was trying to find something cute and vintagey for my kitchen. This is perfect!


  9. Thanks for sharing all the mod podge tutorials . . . can't wait to use them. Love the graphics you choose most of all. Where can I purchase the replica of the 1908 Sears Catalog . . . I want one! Thanks . . . Dee

    1. Hi Dee! I would check on Etsy or eBay. I found mine at a local estate sale, but it might take longer to come across one that way! :-)


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