15 Ways to Reuse Empty Cans

I know, I know, cooking beans from scratch is much less expensive, but for a quick, cheap vegan meal you can’t beat a can of beans sauteed with garlic, onions, and spices over some steamed brown rice. Easy and delicious! But what do you do with the can after you’ve eaten the contents?

Sure, you can toss it in the recycle bin. Metal is one of the few materials that doesn’t get downcycled in the recycling process. That means that, unlike something like plastic, metal doesn’t lose quality in the recycling process. You can recycle it over and over. Still, recycling takes energy – it has to make it to the recycling center, and then it has to be processed into a new metal product.

Instead of throwing that empty can away, you can use your crafty skills to turn empty cans into all sorts of cool things! Here are some ideas to get you going.

1. Cover an empty can with pretty paper or fabric and use it to hold pens, pencils, or paint brushes.

2. Grab a bit of yarn or twine and turn an empty can into a chic yarn-wrapped vase.

3. HGTV shows us how to turn empty cans into a cute, magnetic storage board for kids’ craft supplies.

4. If you have a soda can handy, grab your tin snips and make a cute flower hair clip!

5. How cute are these can stilts from Disney Family Fun? Just make sure you keep an eye on the kiddos while they play with these!


Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Samantha (Home Sweet Home)


Can Crafting Tip: The real trick with can crafts is getting the smell out of the can. If a run through the dishwasher doesn’t do the trick, try scrubbing the inside of your can with a paste made from coarse salt and lemon juice.

6. Another soda can craft: check out these awesome soda can’dle holders!

7. Use a dremel or small drill bit to poke holes in your can to turn it into a votive holder for a tea light.

8. Turn a bunch of empty cans into a sweet tin can wall garden. They’re growing flowers in theirs, but this would be great for herbs! Just remember to drill a couple of drainage holes into the bottom of each can before mounting on the wall.

9. Use a hammer and nail to add beautiful stippling details and create a picture frame from a tin can.

10. At Readymade, you can learn how to turn a few old coffee cans into a beautiful hanging lamp.


Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Elin B

tin can robot

Can Crafting Tip: It’s worth investing in a safety can opener, if you’re planning to craft with cans. The edges of your can will be awfully sharp if you use just a regular can opener, so proceed with caution!

11. Over at leethal, she shows you how to make a coffee can storage unit for the wall. You could use tin cans instead to store tinier things!

12. Elsie Marley shows you how to make a cute tin can cover.

13. This looks like a fun one to do with kids: can robots!

14. You can use the tops of your cans to make pretty ornaments.

15.  How clever is this tin can handbag?

Have you guys done any cool crafts with cans? I’d love to hear what you’re working on in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Orin Zebest

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Julie Botsch
Julie Botsch5 years ago


Joy Wong
Joy Wong5 years ago

Thanks for all the great ideas.

Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ

Some great ideas,thanks for sharing

Joanna W.
Joanna W5 years ago

thanx great ideas!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams5 years ago


Lynde T.
Lynde T7 years ago

I love can crafts! =)

Julija S.
Julija S7 years ago


Julija S.
Julija S7 years ago


Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado7 years ago

Great suggestions!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson7 years ago

i really like a few of these ideas! Thanks!