Uses for Empty Tin Cans

Written by a.n. pike
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Uses for Empty Tin Cans
Use recycled tin cans to create extra storage in your home, or as crafts projects. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Instead of tossing out your tin cans, you can recycle them and use them in a variety of ways. Tin cans are versatile, durable and come in a large selection of sizes. Use tin cans in craft projects and baking. Repurpose them as storage containers that will help you declutter your home. You might even use them to make children's toys. Before you put empty tin cans to use around the house, always wash them out.

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Use tin cans to create crafts such as lanterns. Paint tin can lanterns and place them outside or inside as decor. To make illuminating lanterns or candle holders, fill up an empty tin can with water and place in the freezer. Once the water is frozen, take a nail and punch holes in the can in a pattern of your choice. The holes will allow the light from a candle placed inside the can to shine through. You can also craft flower vases out of tin cans. Decorate the cans to match your decor. A more detailed craft that you can make out of oversized coffee cans is a hanging lamp. Tin cans are sturdy, which makes them ideal for outdoor craft projects.


Before cake and bread pans, people often used tin cans as moulds for baking. You can use cans to bake a variety of foods, such as bread and cupcakes. Before you use cans for baking, thoroughly clean the cans of any paper or glue on the outside. When you bake with tin cans, reduce the time called for in the recipe and frequently check on the food while it is in the oven, so it does not over-bake.


Recycle your used tin cans by using them as storage containers. Small cans can hold paper clips, drawing pins and other small objects. Medium-sized cans can hold pencils or pens, as well as markers and glue sticks. Oversized coffee cans will hold larger items, such as newspapers and magazines, and can be mounted to a wall to create a storage unit.


With a few additional materials, you can make children's toys out of tin cans. Construct stilts with sturdy string and large tin cans. Make a toy drum by using a tin can as the drum and gluing paper or fabric onto the bottom of the can to act as the drum head. Create old-fashioned tin can telephones out of two cans and a connecting string.

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