Uses for Formula Cans

Creative uses for empty formula containers as suggested by the ThriftyFun community. Post your own tips here.

Birthday Centerpiece


I used them as centerpieces for my son's 1st birthday party. For the larger formula cans, I taped gift wrapping paper to the outside. Then I taped candy and cellophane to a skewer and poked them into foam that I put that into the bottom of the can. Cute candy bouquets centerpieces!

By Judy

Grease Can or Container

I paint them, after you remove the paper and you can put all kinds of items in them. Also, punch holes in the side in a pattern and place a candle in the can.

I also use my empty cans for the gas grill to catch the grease from the food.

By Lisa

Several Great Ideas

We use our old formula cans for many things. I had some cute metal buckets I wanted to put flowers in, but didn't want to ruin by filling with dirt, so I used formula cans to fill with dirt and plant my flowers and I sat them inside of the buckets.


My husband used a ton of them in his garage to organize all of his things. He put bungee cords in one, electrical tape in another, etc.

We were able to help out a teacher one year that did an arctic survival lesson every year with her students. They put together their own survival kits in coffee cans and then took them on a field trip and were taught different lessons of survival if you are stuck in the snow and winter weather. For some reason that year, very few of the students could come up with coffee cans so we donated a lot of the large formula cans.

They are perfect height to store watercolor brushes in or markers, crayons, etc.

I recently saw an old article of a magazine that was showing how they had spray painted old coffee cans (formula cans would work) and showed how you could stencil decorations or whatever on them and then you screw two or three of them to a piece of wood and then hang the wood wherever you want the cans. If you use them to store your dog brush, leash, treats, etc. in you could paint paw prints on the cans and dog bones, etc. You could hang it in the garage or by the door for easy access to walk or care for your pet. Or you could hang under a window as a window planter, etc. If you use for a window planter, use an ice pick or hammer and nail to make several holes on bottom of can to drain water.


WARNING: If children are using the cans be sure that they do not have a sharp edge where formula lid was taken off. I wrapped duct tape around the lip of mine that I used for markers and pressed it tightly. The plastic lid still fit on the can well.

By Tawnda

Keep Plastic Cutlery

I put pretty contact paper around them (including sharp edges) and store plastic knifes and forks in them. It is handy to just grab them out of the cupboard for picnics.

By Joyce

Dallas Cowboys Light Covers

We did a Dallas Cowboys theme room for our game room. I bought scrapbook paper and put blue stenciled stars on the outside. Then I poked a hole in the aluminum and made it about an inch and a half wide. I put the big tacky white Christmas lights in it, hot glued them on, and made lanterns to go around the top of the room. Super cute and cheap.

By Kaleigh

Baking Kits Or Baked Goods

I've used formula cans and cans from hot chocolate as containers for my holiday baking. I clean out the cans and then decorate them by covering them with wrapping paper. wall paper, painting, or even fabric. Then I fill them with cookies.

For the large formula cans I did a similar thing, but instead of cookies I filled them with materials for kid gifts. I put in the materials and instructions for a craft, or the ingredients and recipe for a baking kit, or once I put in all the accessories for making a snowman - hat, scarf, buttons, etc.

By Trix

Christmas Tins

You could cover the cans in Christmas themed paper and fill the inside with baked goodies or candy. Put a bow on the lid and there you go!

By meluvchris418


For Halloween, take them and paint them orange. Cut out eyes for a jack-o-lantern face. Place some sand inside them just enough to give the bottom stability and place a tea candle inside each one in the center and set them all up your drive way, on each side, so far apart and let them light up your path for the trick or treaters and add real Halloween decor to your home. Also you can use the same idea for any holiday, Christmas, snowmen, Easter bunnies, painted on, etc., and use the lids to cut out as stencils, they work great for that.

By theseamstress

Kids Playhouse and Other Daycare Uses

I am a daycare and we used all the cans and laid them flat and glued them together and built them a play house. No photos of it for it only lasted a week. Other things: we put construction paper around it (or clip out pictures to glue to them) and decorated them for pen holders or money holders and the kids personalized them. Also if you have babies you can put a small toy inside of a Gerber fruit plastic container and take your glue gun and glue it shut and that makes blocks with things like cheerios or buttons in the for the babies to look at.

Back to the formula cans: in the spring we planted grass or a tulip in them and the kids decorated them. Thanks.

By Chris at Here we Grow Daycare

Holiday Storage

Store things like Christmas stuff: strings of lights, tinsel, things that are always hard to find when you need the Christmas ball hooks. Also things to decorate your Christmas packages like name cards, ribbon, stickers, and whatever. That goes for storing away for any holidays.

Imagine finding the Easter basket grass in one place for a change (lol) or all your Halloween make up in one can? If you do not decorate the can, then mark them clearly. You could store all your different holiday stuff in just one area (time saving).

By Mr. Thrifty

Uses for Formula Cans
November 18, 20070 found this helpful

These are all great ideas. I save my cans all of them and remove the paper and use as a border around my plants. I just spray paint them. I also make dry scents from nature and decorate the cans and sell them at my store and at craft fairs. They are a hot item and cheap to make.

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January 10, 20080 found this helpful

I will be using the empty formula cans as a centerpiece for my co-worker's upcoming wedding. I printed out a heart pattern and taped it to the outside of the can. I also printed out 3 hearts with their picture, names & wedding date. Then I taped the hearts to a skewer and poked them into foam that I put that into the bottom of the can. Covered the foam with basket shred and VIOLA...a cute wedding centerpiece!

By Judy

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January 27, 20080 found this helpful

I also use the formula cans to hold treats/goodies/favors. I printed out cupcake patterns and taped it to the outside of the cans. Inside the cans is a pen and notepad. I used tissue paper to give it some color and also to make the favor look like a cupcake.

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January 8, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for the ideas. I posted and linked to this article on my blog:

I used old formula cans to organize my lazy susan!

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Halloween Ideas!
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