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Crafts Using Aluminum (Tin) Cans

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Tin Can Man Being Constructed

Aluminum (tin) cans can be recycled into fun and useful craft projects. This is a guide about crafts using aluminum (tin) cans.


Solutions: Crafts Using Aluminum (Tin) Cans

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Craft Project: Recycled "Quilted" Tin

This is a "keeper" for miscellaneous items made from an old candy tin. A fruitcake tin or cookie tin can also be used.

Approximate Time: 2-3 hours.


  • small pieces of miscellaneous fabrics
  • scissors
  • tacky glue
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks for glue gun
  • something to weight the finished project down as it glues - I use a heavy skillet
  • clean cloth or foil to place between the skillet and the craft project
  • lace or edging to glue around the lid
  • embellishments of your choice
  • steam iron


Cut small scraps of fabric into two inch squares and fold into a triangle shape. Press the triangles and allow to cool.

Decide on a pattern in which to arrange your triangles. Carefully start in the center of the design and begin in a clockwise pattern to begin gluing the fabrics into place.

Overlap each layer of fabrics and finish the design with as many shades and patterns of fabric as necessary to completely cover the top of the tin. Use miscellaneous fabric of your choice to cover the bottom of the tin.

I find that tacky glue works better to glue the fabric to the tin, but the embellishments go on fairly well with a hot glue gun.

Weight the layers of glued fabric pieces as you go, as to ensure they don't slide off. As each layer dries, or is more stable, add another layer of scraps until the project is completed.

I have done many tins like this. They make nice storage containers for buttons, jewelry, etc.

By Monica from Cortez, CO

Tin Can Frog Container

This big mouthed little frog is a great place to store your eyeglasses, iPod, or phone. It is a fun craft for kids to make or as a silly gift for a friend. He is sure to make you smile wherever he is. Finished Tin Can Frog

Approximate Time: 1.5 hour


  • tin can (soup can size)
  • green paint
  • white paint
  • black paint
  • paint brushes
  • sm. round wooden craft heads
  • hot glue gun
  • pink fur
  • red fleece
  • scissors
  • stiff green felt


  1. Lay your can on the piece of pink fur as a guide for cutting a strip of fur that will line the can. Cut fur to size. Then trace around the bottom of the can on the backside of the fur to make a circle for the inside, bottom of the can. Set cut fur aside.
  2. Cutting Pink Fur Cutting Fur Circle

  3. Using green acrylic craft paint, paint the can and wooden heads (for eyes). Allow to dry.
  4. Apply hot glue to the backside of the fur circle and adhere to the inside, bottom of the can. Now fit the strip of fur for the sides into the can.
  5. Adhering Fur Circle

  6. Run a line of hot glue down the inside of the can to adhere the edge of the fur. Now apply hot glue near the top edge, all the way around the can, adhering the fur as you go. Then apply another line of hot glue down the side and adhere the end of the fur.
  7. Gluing Fur Lining

  8. Next, cut out a long slender tongue from the red fleece that is a little longer than the can so that it hangs out. Apply hot glue to the back and adhere it along the seam of the fur.
  9. Cutting Tongue

  10. Using white paint, paint the whites of the frog's eyes. Allow to dry. Once dry, use black paint to paint the pupil.
  11. Painting Frog Eyes

  12. Gently squeeze the opening of the can to make the mouth wider and flatter.
  13. Squeezing Can

  14. Using hot glue, adhere the eyes to the top of the can.
  15. Eyes and Tongue

  16. Next, on a piece of paper draw a front leg and a back leg. Trace each of the twice onto the green felt.
  17. Tracing the Legs

  18. Cut them out and hot glue the to the bottom of the can. I recommend laying them out and "testing fitting" them so that you apply the glue on the correct side of the felt.
Finished Tin Can Frog

By Laurel from Port Orchard, WA

Craft Project: Fabric Covered Tuna Can

Fabric Covered Tuna CanThis is a tuna can covered with a quilted fabric remnant and some left over cross-stitch mini squares, and a cardboard cloth covered lid.

Approximate Time: 60 minutes


  • clean tuna can
  • scissors
  • tacky glue
  • quilted fabric remnants
  • plain cardboard
  • wooden bead
  • gold foil paper
  • small cross-stitched designs
  • clothes pins


Trace around the bottom of the tuna can, making a pattern for the lid. You'll cut one piece of cardboard that size for the lid and two pieces of cardboard for the bottom. Each piece for the bottom will hide the glued fabric edges to finish the project.

Cover the three cardboard pieces with tacky glue covered pre-quilted fabric. Make sure to cut your fabric large enough so it will cover one side of the cardboard. Carefully clip edges and fold down, gluing as you go. Hold with clothespins and allow to dry. Repeat for the inside cover for the bottom and the lid.

For the inside of the can, cut a piece of the pre-quilted fabric 5 inches wide and 12 inches long. This will be glued on to the side of the can and clipped slightly so you can glue part of it to the bottom to partially cover it. Don't worry, the inside cardboard piece will cover the clipped part when it's dry. Use clothes pins to keep it from sliding off the can.

When dry, glue the inside bottom piece in, then add the outside bottom piece to cover the bottom of the can to cover the clipped edges.

When dry, use tacky glue to add the tiny cross-stitched embellishments on the outside of the quilted fabric. Glue the small wooden bead to the lid and add to the tuna can.

I made several of these one year as last minute gifts. Instead of cross-stitched embellishments, you can add anything you might like to embellish it with.

By Monica from Cortez, CO

Tip: Decorating a Large Tin Can With Duct Tape

Can covered with floral and bright pink and green duct tape.We use lots of extra large sized tin cans of cheese and green beans. We put them in the refrigerator, and cover them with a margarine lid. I used them for many things around the house. I gave my daughter one to make a project, since she crafts with duct tape a lot.

Approximate Time: 15 minutes


  • new can opener
  • washed tin can, large size
  • duct tape in different colors
  • scissors


  1. I would cover along the top of the can to keep sharp edges away.
  2. Put the duct tape on the can and cover until the whole can is how you like it.
  3. Use it for storage for things like pencils, etc.

By Robyn Fed from Tri-Cities, TN

Craft Project: Denim Tuna Can Change Holder

This is a handy item to use for spare change, car keys, misc. items.

Approximate Time: An afternoon.


  • denim scraps
  • scissors
  • tacky glue or hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • wooden clothes pins
  • clean tuna can


  1. Cut denim scraps in one or two inch squares. Triangles of Denim Jeans

  2. Fold each square into a triangle shape and secure with some tacky glue. Dots of glue on triangle of denim

  3. Pinch closed and secure with a clothes pin. Allow the triangles to dry. Folded triangle shaped piece of denim

  4. Remove clothes pins.

  5. With some left over squares of denim, glue fabric over the edges of the tuna can to insure they are covered. When these pieces are dry, you can begin covering the tuna can. Tuna can with edges covered in denim Tuna can covered with denim

  6. Place tacky glue on a triangle and lay it sideways on the tuna can. Hold in place until dry. Denim Tuna Can 2

  7. Add another triangle shape until the tuna can is covered.

By Monica from Cortez, CO Denim Tuna Can

Tip: Recycled Hanging Planter

Recycled Hanging PlanterOne day I was looking at a large empty can of tomatoes that I was ready to throw in the recycling bin then for one reason or another I decided to paint it. This led to me making a hanging planter for a friend who I was giving a plant to from cuttings. Here's how to do it!

You'll need:

  • 1 large clean empty can (from tomatoes, beans, etc)
  • Nail and Hammer
  • Acrylic paint and brush (from dollar store)
  • Stickers
  • Any kind of strong thick cord

Clean out the can and remove the label. Sometimes there can be some of that glue left that is tough to get out, I use something called "Goo be gone" but someone told me rubbing alcohol has done the trick too though I haven't tried it. Dry can and paint the outside, either just one colour or use one base colour and you can paint things like flowers, rainbows and anything else you can think of on there. Make sure the base coat is about 3-4 coats if possible and dry can between each coat. It won't look perfect but thats ok because it will be original! If you have varnish you can coat the can too.

With a hammer and nail, poke three holes around the top ridge of the can, with each hole being the same distance apart as other holes or else the plant won't hang right. Cut three pieces of cord, all the same size (whatever length you choose). Tie one cord to each hole with a few knots so it's secured well. Bring the loose cords together and tie them together with a big knot. Then a bit higher close to the top, make another knot. Now you have a secured hole to hang the plant. Decorate with stickers,glitter or anything else you have on hand. Put a nice small plant in there (make sure it is already in it's own container, the hanging planter is just for decoration.

This would be a great craft for kids/parents to do together!

By Lisa from Halifax, NS

Tip: Umbrella Holder Made from Tin Cans

Large tin cans taped together to make an umbrella stand.Use extra large vegetable cans.
Take the top and bottom off of all but one. Keep the can with the bottom on it on the bottom.

Tape them all together, and either decorate as you like or leave it as it is. I will probably use contact paper later, but I like the recycled look. I did one like this in Girl Scouts many years ago. I have many of these as flower vases, but I ran out of space on my stairs for flowers so I made this one today.


By Robyn Fed from Tri-Cities, TN

Tip: Patriotic Recycled Cans

Cans painted red, white, and blue.This is what I do with old cans. They make great gift "buckets".

By Artlady from Edmond, OK

Tip: Tin Can Wedding Flower Holder

Tin can flower holder for wedding.These cute and inexpensive tin can decorations are perfect for a country themed wedding. Just clean ordinary tin cans and hot glue a square of styrofoam into the bottom, adding whatever silk flowers you choose. Wrap a length of ribbon of choice around the outside and hot glue overlapping ends, tie raffia around the lower part of can and make a bow with long tales. Take a length of ribbon and hot glue end to the back of one can and the other end to the back of the other can for your hanger.

By Robin from Clyattville, GA

Tip: Inexpensive Christmas Gifts With Tin Cans

For inexpensive Christmas gifts, I've started saving tin cans, from 13 oz. cans of coffee, large pears/peaches cans, etc. I wash them out well and use them to put homemade candies/cookies in for gifts.

I decorate the tin cans by buying pretty Christmas fabric (get several different kinds, usually at Wal-mart). Cut out the decorations and glue on the cans. Then I put a coat of Mod Podge over it and cover well. I make candy and cookies and put in the containers. I make "lids" out of circles of matching fabric and tie a colored ribbon around the can. They make really neat gifts!

By Nora

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Here are questions related to Crafts Using Aluminum (Tin) Cans.

Question: Crafts Using Tin Cans

Don't throw out those soup, vegetable, and fruit tin cans. You can use them to recycle into wonderful crafts.

You can make pencil holders. Just cover with fabric and ribbon with a hot glue gun.

Fill a clean can with water, and put it in freezer until it is frozen solid. Remove from freezer, and use a hammer and nail to tap holes through can to make patterns such as a heart, cross, etc. Make a hole on each side at top and thread a thin wire through to use as a handle. Melt ice, throw in a votive candle, and you have a instant illuminated candle holder. Great for porches or walk ways.

You can use the larger cans for the base of a wind sock. Just cover the can with ribbon using a hot glue gun. Make a handle by gluing a piece of ribbon on both sides. Next cut strips of ribbon off at same lengths. Glue these on the inside of can so they flow down. Hang from porch, and let the breeze do the rest!

By SinnerSavedByGrace from Shelbyville, IN


Most Recent Answer

By Heather Krucker [10]08/26/2010

Love your profile name and your ideas!

Question: Removing Logo from Tin Coffee Cans

I am just about to start making some tin robots from assorted cans. But I am wondering how to remove the logo from the tin coffee cans.

By Bonnie H


Most Recent Answer

By blittle4912/10/2013

I soak them in warm water and most of the label comes right off. After taking the label off, we sometimes run them through the dish washer.

Question: Crafts Using Large Tin Cans

I am going to use most of these for a bookshelf, but I would love to hear anyone else's ideas on how to use these as crafts. I have made a huge umbrella holder out of some of them, and now I have tons of them I am not using. I have them stacked as a pyramid against the porch railing, which is nice, but I would like to do craft work with them.

Thanks for any replies, I know you are all busy, as I am myself, lately!

By Robyn Fed from Tri-Cities, TN

Question: Making Animals out of Cans

Looking for directions on how to make animals about drinking cans.

Editor's Note: I am not sure if this poster is referring to aluminum cans or tin cans. Feel free to elaborate on this if this is your request.

Most Recent Answer

By Robyn [6]10/30/2004

I found some sites about tin can crafts, I am not sure if this is what you are looking for but it is interesting, nonetheless!


Below are photos related to this guide.

Wall Pocket Decorations

These are wall pockets made from tin cans. These are the large sized cans that schools and such use. Tin can wall decorations on a shed.

Tops and bottoms are cut from the can, then I step on one end to flatten it together. The I drill 5 holes across the the bottom, through both layers and "sew" with light weight wire. Once that's done, it's time for the fun part. These I decoupaged with fabric and added some odd dangle pieces that I had in my craft room. Drilled 2 small holes on the top back for wire to hang them up by :0)

By Maggie from Bloomington, MN


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: Crafts Using Tin Cans

I'm looking for patterns and instructions for tin can crafts. My mother use to make mini furniture out of tin cans, also people (like robots) and all sorts of things. Of course, as a kid, I didn't pay any attention on how she did it. I do know that she would cut the cans in strips and then curled them. They looked like wrought iron furniture. Please help. Thanks in advance.

Jodi from Yukon, OK

RE: Crafts using Tin Cans

Why don't you try Googling tin can crafts, and see what you come up with. If the words tin can crafts don't bring up any websites then try another phrase. (10/19/2007)


RE: Crafts using Tin Cans

I have made the mini furniture, my daughter still has some put away. To make them you need the "curlers". They are small tools like a screwdriver but are flat on the top with a slit down the middle. I packed mine up this summer along with a pattern book for my garage sale next spring. (10/19/2007)


RE: Crafts using Tin Cans

Go to the link above and check out the Tin Can Luminaries that I plan to make for Christmas gifts with full instructions. Linda (10/19/2007)

By quickcooker

RE: Crafts Using Tin Cans

Late in reading this email, but I made ALL Christmas ornaments for our tree from cans, cut with tin snips, twisted/curled with needle-nose pliars. I didn't know or have the "curlers" tool you described. Warning: BE CAREFUL because ALL edges are potential KNIFE EDGES and can cause BIG PAIN/DAMAGE. God bless and keep you. : ) (12/18/2007)

By Lynda