For Spring Wild Flowers, a Tin Can Craft

IMG_7946There’s something about a big tin can that always gets me thinking–how can I decorate it? (For the record, I usually think more interesting things than this, but when I see a big tin can, it’s a blank canvas that’s hard to ignore!) Since spring is coming (I hope), I decided to paint a 28-ounce tin can with flowers and have it ready for the first wild geraniums.

For inspiration, I had torn a page from a British edition of Country Living magazine–it showed a metal container painted in a beautiful milky green color, and then decorated with painted white daisies and blue hydrangeas. I really loved the color vibe.

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British County Living plus stencil.

So I gathered two 28-ounce tin cans to paint, though you could use any size you want. Then I chose an array of Folk Art Enamel paints and some brushes, along with a small floral stencil. The original design was made using decorative painting techniques, but my skills are rusty, and I thought it might be easier for all of us to use a stencil. I had a small stencil motif with two flowers  and some leaves.

Paints: Most are from FolkArt, and can be found at any craft store. Wicker White (#2001), Evergreen (#4036), Fresh Foliage (#4019), Burnt Umber (#4012), Hydrangea (#4024), Cerulean Blue (#4122), and Sunflower (#4018), and Baby Pink (#4003), plus a Mossy Green color from PLAID Enterprises. (If you don’t want to purchase all these paints, you could get by with light and dark green, white, blue, and yellow.) You could also use regular acrylic paints, if you have those on hand, and then coat with a glossy acrylic varnish.

Also needed: stencil of flower motif, stencil brush, a small paint brush, and paper towel for cleanup

IMG_7955Here are the step-by-step instructions:

(Before beginning, remind yourself that it’s only a tin can, and go ahead and have fun!)

1. Remove the paper label from a large tin can. I used 28-ounce crushed tomato cans. Remove any glue on the seam of the can. Wash and dry the can thoroughly.

2. Make a light green mixture, using a quarter-size glob of Wicker White (#4001) paint, and add Evergreen (#4036) paint until a light medium green color is reached. The proportion is approximately two parts green to one part white. Tip: Always add dark to light, not the other way around.

Shows cans upended onto bottles for ease of painting.
Shows cans upended onto bottles for ease of painting.

3. Place the clean dry can upside down on a tall bottle, like a catsup bottle. Paint the can with the light green mixture. Painting three light coats will create a smooth surface.

4. Take the stencil and position it on the can. Lightly tape it to the can. Stencil the flower centers with burnt umber and the petals with white. Stencil the leaves with fresh foliage, and highlight with yellow. Use a small paint brush to dab on hydrangea flowers as shown. With more of the white, dab on flower buds. Allow to dry, and if not dark enough, re-stencil.

Okay, now I have to mention that after stenciling, I had the bright idea of painting over the stencil using brush strokes. The stenciled colors provided a pattern to paint over. Try it! Without knowing anything about decorative painting, you can paint the flower bouquet. I added a little cerulean blue to some white, and dotted this among the hydrangea buds. I touched up the flower petals with some pink. And I added a bit more yellow to the leaves. At any rate, this is fun to try, but you absolutely could stick with the stencils, also for a pretty effect. The other can I kept simple, just painting a daisy chain around it.

Closeup
Closeup

You could paint your cans with other colors. You could take blue, red or yellow and cut by a third with white to create a milky, light color.

If you have enjoyed this tin can craft, I have two more you might like: Red & White Pantry Organizers (Feb. 1, 2013) and Blue & White Pantry Organizers (Jan 4, 2012).

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Here are some sparrow photos I took the other day. I had seen the forsythia bushes across the alley trembling, but couldn’t see any birds. I came closer and aimed my camera at a little dark shape in the bushes, and these are the result. The camera could see through the protective coloration much better than I could! Hope your week is a good one. Namaste. Fran

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4 thoughts on “For Spring Wild Flowers, a Tin Can Craft

  1. That’s a wonderful can. And my Grampy hat is always on; I see a big possibility of a craft project to do with my granddaughter Finley (who will be 5 in May). We have painted rocks and almost anything you can think of that doesn’t move. But a big can? Sounds like our next project.

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