Red and White Tinware made from Recycled Tin Cans

2733xThere’s something about a good tin can that gets my imagination going. This may seem pathetic, but a tin can, resting in the recycling bin, presents a blank slate that is irresistible. To me, at least! Last year I did a post on making pantry organizers with tin cans (1-4-2012), and recently found I couldn’t resist making a whole new slew of organizers. My inspiration came from French cafe au lait bowls, used in bakeries and cafes instead of coffee cups. Cafe au lait is made with half coffee and half steamed milk. and a bowl of it with a croissant does sound good! These bowls are adorned with bold, simple patterns–either geometric or floral–that have a stenciled effect.

2730xSo I saved up some cans, pulled out some craft paints and a stencil brush, and looked through my stencils. I have quite a few stencils, because if anything nice is on sale at the local craft store, I often buy it, and think what to do with it later! From my stash, I found a floral garland (Delta Floral Border #95 354 0012) made up of three floral motifs. But feel free to use whatever calls to you, though I think the bolder and simpler the better. Also, a lot of the cafe au lait bowls I have seen are two-toned: white and a color.

Close-up of pattern.
Close-up of pattern.

How to: Thoroughly scrub clean and dry some tin cans–in general, the bigger the better. Remove the glue from the can seams. Some glue is hard and brittle, and can be pretty easily chipped off with a dinner knife. Other glue is gluier, and can be removed by soaking in hot water, and scrubbing with an abrasive pad, like Scotch-Brite. Gather two colors of enamel acrylic craft paint: you could use red and white, as shown above, or blue and white, brown and white, emerald green and white or whatever appeals to you. You will need a good quality stencil brush with springy, not soft, bristles, and some cellophane tape. I use the lid of a cottage cheese container to hold the paint I’m using.

IMG_2696
The strange world of tin can crafting.

Upend your can on a bottle (as shown) to make painting and drying easier. Coat each can with three thin layers of paint, allowing each layer to dry thoroughly before proceeding to the next. While they dry, you can mull over your stencil, thinking about how to place it on each can for best effect. For some of the cans shown, I taped over parts of the stencil, just using one motif. For the larger can and the glass jar, I wrapped the whole stencil around the items, and stenciled that.

2737x
You can also stencil glass jars, using the same technique.

Practice stenciling before actually stenciling your cans. The secret is to use the smallest amount of paint possible, so that there is a misty, not globby, look. (This is actually a printing process, not painting.) Also, after I tap the brush onto the paint, I test it briefly on a piece of newspaper to make sure there are no globs. Then, stencil away!

One last thing: I tape the stencil around the can for stenciling, but try hard to keep the tape off the actual painted can. It hasn’t happened to me, but it seems like  tape could stick to the paint and maybe pull it off. Also, when I finish stenciling, I don’t immediately remove the stencil. I wait for a minute to allow the paint to settle and dry slightly before removing. This way there is no danger of smearing.

At this point, nothing in my kitchen is safe because I am armed with a stencil brush and have more enamel paint. You really could use this pattern to stencil a set of white coffee cups (using craft paints for ceramics), or you could get some fabric paint and create matching dish towels. Or curtains. Or . . .?

The pattern for the shelf’s crocheted edging can be found in a post from 1-20-2012, called “Softening the Edges.”

2745xWhile we are in a red-and-white mode, here’s a little sampler I made long ago.

2747xI have to mention that recently I purchased a few sprigs of mint. I have been in a Moroccan cooking fever, and must garnish with mint! I put some sprigs in a little old creamer, and they are sprouting! I was so delighted! It’s the little things!

IMG_2374I miss these guys and all their excitement! Oh, well, Spring will be here soon enough. Hope your week is going well. Namaste. Fran

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