Upcycled Cans: A Tutorial

Upcycled Cans: A Tutorial
As you may have noticed, my sister and I like to take old things and make them new. First, it was an upcycled quilt. Now, it’s upcycled tin cans.

Since my spellcheck is complaining about the word “upcycled” I’m guessing it’s not a commonly known term, yet. Basically, it’s upgrading and recycling stuck together. Thanks to the movement to clean up our planet, not to mention the need to save a buck wherever we can, upcycling is quickly becoming a household practice.


  • Clean cans
  • Spray Paint
  • Fabric
  • Mod Podge for fabric
  • Sponge brush


Step 1
Following directions on the spray paint can, spray paint the clean cans in an open, ventilated area. I spray the entire can, inside and out, with two coats, just to be thorough. However, if they look a little messy, don’t worry; they will be covered with beautiful fabric in no time. Allow them to dry fully between coats. Once the second coat is dry, move on to Step 2.
Paint the Cans

Step 2
Cut a piece of fabric that is equal to the height of the can (except for the little lip at the top, I like to leave that showing), and the circumference of the can with an additional .25″ for overlapping.

Step 3
Using the sponge brush, apply Mod Podge to the wrong side of the fabric. Trim any random bits the fraying that may occur.
Apply Mod Podge

Step 4
Place the fabric on the can so that the top edge of the fabric lines up just beneath the top lip of the can. Smooth the fabric as you wrap it around the can. The fabric should overlap slightly. Trim any additional frayed bits so all four edges are nice and neat. Allow to dry for two hours.
Place Fabric on Can
Wrap Fabric

Step 5
Using the sponge brush, apply a coat of Mod Podge to the right side of the fabric to seal it to the can. This coat will need to dry for about 72 hours or until it’s no longer tacky.
Seal the Fabric

Step 6
Enjoy your fabulous, upcycled cans!
Enjoy Your Cans

I use mine for all sorts of things: makeup brushes, pens and pencils, flowers. I even use cans to hold supplies for small projects to keep them all organized.

My Recycled Can Tutorial was featured here:

The DIY Dreamer

From Dream to Reality
Link It Up Wednesdays


  1. amey amey says:

    Thanks, Ginny… I know it’s simple, but I’ve got 10 cans that I’ve been saving for you to tell me how to make mine as cute as yours… oh, and I now understand that the waiting and drying time is super important, too… I need to be more patient… :)

  2. Love these! I’m definitely going to try this.

  3. reketa says:

    This is so adorable. I want to make some thanks for the tutorial

  4. Susan says:

    Hi. Quick question about the edges…. do you file the edges of the cans before painting? Do you have to worry about sharp edges?


    • Ginny says:

      I haven’t had any major trouble with sharp edges, but if you see one, go ahead and file it just to be sure. On some cans, I’ve been able to make a clean cut all the way around with the can opener. On others, I’d end up with a little metal “tab” that I would have to file away. The coat of paint will help to dull any sharp edges that you miss.

  5. Missy says:

    Super cute! I think I’ll do a pair of these for my daughter and her friends and do some good old fashioned telephone!

  6. Christine says:

    I just ADORE these cans!! I’m so going to start saving them so that I can make a bunch of these!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality :)

  7. How very cute! Visiting from DIY Dreamer. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com/2012/07/make-it-pretty-monday-week-6.html Wishing you a grand week. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  8. K Coake says:

    They look so cute! Great idea!

  9. Cute! But how do you stop the top edge of the can being sharp?

  10. Heidi says:

    Adorable. I can’t wait to try these. (Pinning.)
    I’m hosting a linky party “One Creative Weekend” at OneCreativeMommy.com. I’d love for you to visit and link up this idea and/or anything else you’d like to share.

  11. Christine says:

    CONGRATS!! You have been featured at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality! Come on over and grab your featured button! You deserve it :)

  12. These are so cute. I have a link party, and I would love it if you would link this post. You can find it at
    It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party.
    I hope to see you there. Have a great Day.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

  13. Britni says:

    This is so cute!! I love the color and patterns. Visiting from Homestead Simple. I’ve got another party invite for you, would love if you shared this at my Throwback Thursday party! http://www.hubbymademe.com/ I’d give you the actual link but it doesn’t start for another hour ;) Thanks so much for sharing.

  14. Hi,
    I found you over “The DIY Dreamer”, and just want to say that this is brilliant. I thought about this a while back but never put to reality. I’m glad you did!


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