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Uses for Formula Cans

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A gift made with a formula can.

Reusing these baby food containers can be helpful for a variety of crafts and things. This guide is about uses for formula cans.


Solutions: Uses for Formula Cans

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Formula Can Snowman

Formula Can SnowmanI made this snowman out of empty formula cans and an empty pudding cup. I took empty 12 oz. and 25 oz. formula cans and painted them white. I painted the top of the 12 oz. black and the pudding cup black. I glued them all together and used tree branches for the arms. I then made a quick scarf out of scrap yarn and glued on the buttons.

By Jennifer from Riverview, Florida

Tip: Empty Formula Cans For Holding Gifts

A photo of formula cans used to store gifts.For thrifty gifts this Christmas, I decided to make cocoa for several people on my list. Instead of buying glass containers, I saved my baby's formula cans and peeled off the labels. I measured the length and diameter of the can and cut wrapping paper to fit. I used clear tape around the top of the can to prevent ripping when the lid was taken on and off and down the length of the can to hold the paper securely. To finish off, I will fill with my cocoa mixture, tape some mini candycanes and a bow on the lid.

By Jenn from Lenox, MA

Article: Uses for Formula Cans

Uses for Formula CansCreative 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

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Here are questions related to Uses for Formula Cans.

Question: Uses For Formula Canisters

My daughter has kept all the large baby formula cans. Any ideas what she can use them for, or do with them?

By s e chedzey


Most Recent Answer

By Sandi/Poor But Proud [446]08/31/2009

I just won some good "kudos" for this one. Good luck!


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Uses For Formula Canisters

I am looking for ways to re-use formula canisters. They are very similar to coffee cans.


RE: Uses For Formula Canisters

Make them into luminaries. (01/06/2005)

By homeschoolin_mum

RE: Uses For Formula Canisters

  • You can cover them with fabric and glue, cut a slit in the top and make it a bank.
  • Or just take the paper off the can and paint it a solid color and accent with glitter pens, stickers, puffballs, etc. with glue to make a personalized bank for your child.
  • Or as a container for household things like; pens & pencils, safety pins, scissors, rubber bands, a container to hold pacifiers, Q-tips, buttons, hair accessories, etc.
  • You can also just throw it under the sink to keep Brillo pads and scouring pads in.
  • You can fill it with sand to make a doorstop.
  • Pack valuables inside the can stuffed with paper or Styrofoam peanuts. You can also tape 2 or more cans together with electrical tape.
  • You can also cook with them....
  • pour bread baking batter in as a mold and place in oven,
  • cook your Thanksgiving dressing by spooning in into the can (or cans) and cover with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours at 350*. Store leftovers by sealing can with original plastic lid.
  • Don't ruin a good pot on the grill, use the can to make bratwurst in beer.
    You can do all of the above with Coffee cans also. One way to save money is to use your imagination! Good luck to you! (01/06/2005)

    By pojo

    RE: Uses For Formula Canisters

    We use them as grease cans and put our bones in them because our dogs like to get them out of the garbage. (01/06/2005)

    By panda562004

    RE: Uses For Formula Canisters

    Paint them a neutral colors such as white or light blue. Stencil things like cows or bears on them, paint and fill for fun gift containers (candy, cookies, small things, etc.). Paint to match what your colors are and use for q-tip holders, matches for lighting candles or fires, tooth brushes or other extra little things you will need to keep organized. Place them in a closet cupboard or drawer with the front labeled so you know what is in them. Good for taking on trips for children to keep crayons and other smaller items in. (01/06/2005)

    By Julie

    RE: Uses For Formula Canisters

    We have a travel trailer and I use these canisters (after decorating them) for storing flour, sugar, pancake mix and other food items needed for a trip. Since I am a bulk shopper it makes sense to use smaller quantities and I don't worry about things spilling when we get on the bumpy roads to camp! (07/20/2005)

    By Tightwad Granny

  • Archive: Uses For Formula Canisters

    I need crafty ideas on what I could make with empty formula cans and baby food containers. Especially in crocheting or plastic canvas. Other ideas would be great too. Thanks