Reusing Tin Cans

Reusing cans is another option to recycling them; there are many creative new uses for these containers. This is a guide about reusing tin (steel) cans.

Reusing Aluminum (Tin) Cans
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I just made a discovery and have got to share it. I have been wishing for a gadget to hold my Zip Lock Freezer Bag open while I fill it. I thought about the tin can and went to my recycling bin and pulled out a 28 oz. Hunt's Tomato can.

I cut the bottom out, washed it good and gave it a try. It works great and makes putting stuff in the bag much easier. It fits perfectly down into the quart size bag and can be used on the gallon size bag also. This can will go in my utility drawer now.

By Betty from NC

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I made a crocheted cover for a can to keep some pens on the lazy Susan for my roommate. finished pen holder

It occurred to me that pens could be stored on the outside and something else could be on the inside. My first thought was flowers and as it turned out, they were pens, too! Soup Can as Pen Holder

You could put a tall notepad inside, with scissors and/or other tall office supplies. Paint brushes would work, or craft scissors with felt pens, etc.

Just cover the can with wall paper, contact paper, or paint it. You can wrap it with fabric strips, but just make sure that what you cover it with is thin so the pens work. And of course you have to have pens with the clips. Soup Can as Pen Holder Soup Can as Pen Holder N-JOY!!

    Source: Nope. I just love giving old things a new lease on life!!

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    One of the ways I recycle is by burying my steel cans in my garden, I leave the bottoms on and I bury them about 12 in. deep open side up. I fill the canned with compost and then plant above it. If I'm doing row planting, I will bury a roll of cans and plant above them. The cans will eventually rust away after a couple of years and in the process add much-needed iron to my clay soil.

    I also take 1 gallon cans cut off the bottom and put them on the surface of the ground between my tomato plants, I push them in about an inch or so, then I fill them about half full with fresh compost and use this for watering. I fill it up with water and it slowly trickles through. We're in another drought here in Southern California.

    By Babette from Lemon Grove

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    I needed small cake pans, but didn't have any, so I grabbed some empty tuna cans. They are just the right size for mini cake pans.

    By duckie-do from Cortez, CO

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    I keep all my food cans for recycling. Some I keep and decorate with paint, stickers, ribbons, and etc. I use them for organizing small items.

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    How do you use tin cans other than recycling them. Ideas can include craft ideas or anything else you can think of. Please specify type or size of can.

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    Hi, I sell at local bazaars every year. And this year I decided to try something different for selling my fudges.

    I bought Christmas tins at the dollar store and put 1 pound of fudge in each tin, wrapped it in plastic wrap and sold it for $5.00 a pound. Sold like hot cakes. I sold about 45 of them at 3 bazaars. They loved that it was in a decorative tin can, saved from having to figure out what to put the fudges in for gift giving. Now what I'd like to find out is: can I bake breads in the same tins? If anyone has ever done this can you please let me know...Thanks

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    Sparkle OrganizerThe photo does not do this project justice, but it's an organizer that is very easy to make, uses materials you already have on hand, is very nice to look at, and best of all will help your kids keep their things in order.

    Crafting Time: 15 - 30 minutes

    What You Need:

    • Washed out can from vegetables or fruit, with label removed
    • Aluminum foil
    • Permanent markers
    • Cellophane tape (optional)


    1. Cut off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover your can.

    2. Use permanent markers to draw and color a picture or design on the shiny side of the foil. You'll find the permanent marker colors are extremely vibrant on the foil. Please note that with the sample in the photo I colored on the back (dull) side of the foil in the hopes that the photo would come out without a reflection. Bottom line - the picture still did not come out that great.

    3. Wrap the foil picture around your can. The foil will extend under the can and down into the can so it is completely covered. If you like, you can tape the foil in place with cellophane tape.

    4. Use the can to keep hair brushes and combs together in the bedroom or bathroom, or to keep pens, pencils, and markers together on your desk.

    By Marie E. Cecchini from West Dundee, IL

    Editor's Note: This would be a great Mother's Day Gift that children could make for their mothers and grandmothers.

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    When using the coffee plastic cans or even the metal ones, I make cookie cottages out of them, and give them as gifts, with home made goodies inside.

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    I would just like to have you post the following in response to the recipes I have seen here that call for using empty food cans that are on this site:

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    Call or go to any tennis club and ask then to save the empty tennis ball containers for you. Wash them out and use for almost anything. I use them for leftover cereal. They are air tight and have a good seal so they keep out bugs.

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    I am going to be using tin cans from veggies and such for some crafts, and I can't seem to get the glue from the wrappers off, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on what to use that is very inexpensive to buy?

    Cali in GA

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    Use a mixture of cooking oil and baking soda as an alternative to Goo Gone.

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    What are some frugal, creative and/or crafty uses for tin cans?

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    Peel the labels off and wash real good in hot sudsy water. When dry, spray the inside with a vegetable coating such as Pam, fill about two-thirds full with banana nut bread batter and bake. After removing from oven, let cool in the can. Take a knife and slide around the inside of the perimeter of the can to release the little round loaf of banana nut bread. Can be wrapped in saran wrap and tied with a bow to be given away. Clever little pans they are!

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    I remember making bread in cans years ago. I've been trying to remember how to do it. Can you use frozen bread dough?

    IowaLady from IA

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    I remember it, to. That was when Pumpkin Bread first came out, and it is the same as the current recipes as far as I can tell.

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    Take your empty can and rinse it out with soap and water. Let air dry. Find anything you're not using and cover the front. I used juice pouches to match the purse.

    Recycle Cans and Packaging Into Storage Containers - decorated with M & M wrappers.

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    Remember making these when we were young? This is a great indoor craft to do when it's too cold or raining outside for the little ones to play.

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    Better Living Green Living ReusingMarch 13, 2012
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