Ah yes, those tin cans are everywhere and not just for soup: beans, vegetables, meals, tuna, etc. And sure, you can recycle them, but why not give them a 2nd life? Keep in mind that there are 3 main sizes here: tuna/salmon can (small), soup (medium), chopped tomatoes (large), so some of the ideas below only apply to one or two of these sizes; others apply to all 3 sized containers.
Here are some ways to repurpose your cans:
- Use as a holders for pencils, tools or cooking utensils – need I say more?
- Utilize as sorting containers for all your office/crafting needs – I use close to a dozen cans to store various things from binder clips, to foam tape pieces, to leftover twine, to small strips of cardstock.
- Use as planters – either for new seedlings or established plants; make sure to punch holes in the bottom if you need drainage for your plant and decorate it to make clever looking planters like these:
- To make outdoor candles – melt down leftover wax bits from other candles/crayons, replace the wick and you’ve got a simple outdoor candle (you can even add some drops of pure essential oil of citronella to help drive mosquitoes away)
- As a paint holder for small jobs – just pour what you need into a can; easy to hold and walk around with
- In lieu of cookie cutters – I keep a clean, formerly-used-for tuna can in my utensils drawer and use it to cut out dough for doughnuts, biscuits or large cookies (soup cans will render a smaller circle); works like a charm!
- Use as a scoop – for potting soil, for salt/sand to put down on icy sidewalks, for scooping dog food, etc.
- Make a luminary or lantern – fill cans with water and freeze, mark a design on the outside of your can with marker; punch out your design using nails/hammer; let the water defrost and replace with tealight/contained candle (so it doesn’t leak out/block your holes) and use to light up a pathway or add wire to can and hang for ambient light
- Use as irrigation – punch small holes in the bottom of a large can (think whole tomatoes), place in your garden and fill with water; it will slowly water your garden
- Make a pincusion – I’ve been spotting these a lot in the crafting world; check out this really cute/simple one:
You can leave these plain for the industrial/simple/metallic look (like I do in the first picture for my extra clothespins that I use for projects and like I do for spools of thread in picture below ), you can paint, decoupage or just add paper and tape. Whatever your fancy. These can be super handy and need not look trashy.
Using these tips, you help lessen your impact on the earth and can save you $ from buying gadgets that also take resources to make.
Reduce, reuse then recycle!