Pantry Organizers Made from Recycled Tin Cans

You might wonder how I get ideas for the various crafts and recipes posted here. I wish I could say divine inspiration, but I’m afraid the truth is usually more mundane. For instance, today’s idea is for creating pantry organizers using recycled tin cans. The cans are painted and stenciled, and you can use them to store things that tend to slump over, like half full bags of beans, or bags of flax seed, for example.

The idea arose the other day as I rummaged through a hutch I use as a pantry, looking for lentils.  Oh, here they are, I thought, finding a bag of French lentils. Then I noticed the expiration date: 120509. As in 2009? Whoah. Time to clean out and organize the pantry!  Studying the situation I noted that the boxes weren’t a problem–it was the little bags of things that slumped over and created a mess. For instance, the half full bags of beans were spilling the beans (very sorry), and the little bag of spelt flour was puffing spelt all over the place.

Upended cans being painted.

Then I remembered the large tin cans that I have held on to, seemingly irrationally. I can never throw out a good big old can, or a nice coffee can, and it’s a good thing. I gathered my cans together, along with some white (Wicker White #4001) and blue (Cerulean Blue #4122)  Folk Art Enamel Acrylic Paint, a foam brush, and some stencils. The cans were in the 28 to 30 ounce size. Generally, there are two sizes of coffee cans. I used the smaller, but the larger could be used to hold bags of flour. I washed the cans thoroughly, and used a scrubby to remove any dried glue from the can seam. I dried the cans, and then upended then on top of some tall bottles. (See picture.) It’s just a way to make painting easier. Using the foam brush, I painted each can white. I did this by painting three thin layers of paint, allowing a half hour drying time between each layer. This creates a smooth painted surface. Then I chose my stencils. The garland pattern on the left above is from PLAID Simply Stencils, #29623. The bird (my fave) is from Complements Accent Stencils, and is #BL-395. The check pattern, which is very country French, is also from PLAID Simply Stencils, #29624. Using a stencil brush, I stenciled the patterns on the painted cans, having very lightly affixed the stencils to the cans with cellophane tape. The secret of stenciling is to use very little paint. Every time I picked some paint up on the brush, I tapped it on a piece of newspaper to make sure the paint wasn’t thick and globby, before stenciling.

So the pantry is organized, and the bags of beans are neat and tidy, and all in all, it was a satisfying morning!

6 thoughts on “Pantry Organizers Made from Recycled Tin Cans

  1. Wow, very nice! You may not be inspired by way of divinity, but you are inspired by something . . . I suspect it’s via a great (God given!) blend of creativity, resourcefulness, and good ol’ common sense.

  2. I like saving tins also, but instead i keep on recycling them! Your idea of using them in the pantry is excellent .. and a good reason for me to save some tins. Too right about the little bags of lentils, spelt flour ….. 🙂

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