Can Crafts: Make Decorative Pencil Holders & Other Storage Caddies

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One item that most everybody is sure to have in the house is tin cans. Unless you eat straight from the garden, you are bound to have at least a couple of cans in your pantry. Instead of throwing the cans out or dropping them in your recycle bin when they are empty, you may want to think about a different type of recycling.It’s called making something fun, decorative and useful out of your…..well…I’ll just say it – trash! Basically, turning trash to treasure.

My favorite can crafts are the ones that are useful in the home. A pencil holder is a great example of an item that can be widely used. A tin can is a perfect size for making a decorative pencil holder. All you have to do is decorate it the style that you like. Since I like rustic and shabby chic, I came up with three different designs of storage caddies in those styles. The caddies can be used in an office, craft room, or any other area of the home where you need a little organization.

I’ll go over the instructions of each holder individually starting with the newspaper print pencil holder.

I chose an aged newspaper print craft paper to use with this can thinking that it would go nicely in an office to hold pencils and pens. The rustic looking safety pin is tied around the middle of the can with jute string for a little extra embellishment. Here is what I did:

Materials Needed:

  • cream colored acrylic paint
  • paint brush
  • decorative craft paper
  • Mod Podge matte finish
  • paint brush for Mod Podge application
  • jute string
  • antique looking safety pin for Jim Holtz or other charm
  • glossy varnish

1. First, I painted the entire can with a cream colored acrylic paint and let it dry.

2. I found the craft paper that I wanted to use and measured the distance around the can. I cut the craft paper to the length I needed. Next, I measured the width of the can and tore the top and bottom edges of the, to size, to give them a rough unfinished edge. I wanted some of the white paint to show at the top and bottom of my craft paper.

3. When the paint was dry, I applied a coat of Mod Podge to the entire can. I then applied a coat of the Mod Podge to the back of the craft paper and carefully adhered the paper to the can, rubbing the paper smooth as I applied. Once I was happy with the paper application, I applied another coat of Mod Podge over the top of the paper.

4. After the Mod Podge was dry, I applied a coat of glossy varnish.

5. Finally, I added a jump ring to the safety pin and threaded it through a section of jute string and tied it around the middle of the can.

This next can I thought would be fun to leave mainly silver and add a silver handle and some silver jewelry embellishments.  Just a little bit of burlap offsets the layers of silver and adds a little shabby feel.

Materials Needed:

  • 12 gauge aluminum floral wire
  • jewelry chain
  • tin snips
  • 2 jump rings
  • E6000 craft glue
  • burlap garland trim
  • silver leaf charm
  • crop a dile hole punch or other tin hole puncher

1. Use your tin hole punch to punch a hole in either side of the tin can. I had to first fold up the lip of the inside top of the can, with pliers,to fit the tool over the edge. Although, it was still a smooth finish on the inside edge after doing this, I still applied some snow-tex around the inner lip to coat the metal. The snow-tex hardens to look just like a white plaster and provides a safe edge without any jagged metal.

2. Cut a section of floral wire that is long enough for a handle plus some length, about two extra inches, for looping through holes and twisting.

3. Insert one end of wire through one of the holes in tin. Push through hole about two inches and bend up to meet rest of wire. Loop the short end around the long piece and twist together several times. You will have to use a pliers for the last twist so that it fits nice and close. Now insert the other end of the wire through the other hole and do the same thing.

4. Cut a two inch wide piece of burlap garland the length of the distance around your can.  Wrap this around the can and glue both ends at the back with E6000 craft glue.

5. Cut a section of jewelry chain, with tin snips, to fit around your can loosely. Wrap around your can and secure the two ends together, at the back, with a jump ring. Glue the chain at the back with E6000 craft glue and let it hang loosely at front.

6. Apply a leaf or other charm to the front of the chain with a jump ring.

I had started this last can when I made my recycled six pack storage caddies. At that time, I had distressed painted the can and tied it off with raffia. For extra embellishment, I just added the bark covered wire and the two wooden buttons.

Materials Needed:

  • cream color acrylic paint
  • rust metallic paint
  • Weathered Wood
  • tree branch slices or other buttons
  • raffia
  • bark covered wire
  • drill

1. Paint the entire can with cream color acrylic paint.

2. After paint is dry, paint over the surface with the Weathered Wood. It comes in the same type of bottle as the small acrylic paints and is found in the same section as the paints.

3. When the Weathered Wood is dry, paint over some sections with your rust metallic paint.

4. If you are using wood slices for buttons, drill a couple of small holes into each disc so that they look like buttons. Glue these or other buttons onto your can.

5. Tie raffia around the upper can and secure with glue.

6. Use a drill or tin hole punch to punch a hole into either side of the tin can.

7. Cut a section of bark covered wire that is long enough for a handle plus two inches longer on each side.

8. Loop each end through a hole two inches and twist around the longer length.

Now you have three ideas for different looks you can get from can crafts used for pencil holders/storage caddies. How might you use these in your home?

recycled cans

I'm addicted to crafting and decorating my downtown urban loft and up north rustic cabin. Read more about me.
  1. Renee, we featured you this week! Awesome project!

    We’d love you to submit another!


    1. Thanks Kim! I did link up again!

  2. Your tin can crafts are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing with us how you made them. I hope it’s okay, I just couldn’t help but feature them on my tin can crafts round-up I just finished.

    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks Jamie! and thanks for the feature 🙂

  3. Your cans are wonderful. I will now look at can in a different light. Ive bought some burlap recently for a project but still have some left over, and I have mod podge but haven’t really used it much. But now the wheels in my head are turning. Thanks for the inspirations.

  4. I’ve never heard of bark covered wire. Where do you get that? Sounds like something I need (-;

    1. Linda, I bought my wire from Joann Fabrics. I think I may have seen it at Michaels too.

      1. Thank you Renee, I will have to make a trip to Joann’s.

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