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How to Paint a Tin Can With Tempera Paint

Updated February 21, 2017

Use tempera paint to jazz up tin cans and use them for various purposes such as storing pencils, pens, and other desk supplies. Paint them in single, solid colours, use splatter methods to make them appear speckled, or mix the paint with some glitter for extra sparkle. Tempera paint is wonderfully low maintenance and requires no special instructions to use.

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  1. Wash the tin can with warm water and vinegar to completely strip the tin of oils, being careful not to cut yourself on any jagged edges on the inside of the can. Dry the can completely with a paper towel and set it on a sheet of newspaper to avoid a mess. Squeeze out small piles of tempera paint on a paper plate, using whatever colours you'd like.

  2. Use a paintbrush to completely cover the tin can in one base colour; the best option is white so that all colours will show up over it later. Wait a few minutes for it to dry slightly before adding another coat, repeating until the base colour completely covers the tin can. Let dry for about 20 minutes. While it dries, use warm water and a dot of dish soap to wash out the paintbrush, drying with a paper towel.

  3. Add any fun decorations to the can that you'd like---hearts, stars, zigzags, polka dots or even stripes. Make sure to wash the brush thoroughly in between each colour. If you want to use the splatter method, gather large dollops of paint on the paintbrush before using a quick and sharp motion to fling the paint over the can. Make sure you have laid out enough newspaper to catch any excess paint. Another option is to mix some glitter into the paint, adding one spoonful at a time and mixing until there is enough sparkle for your liking. Once the tin can is painted to your satisfaction, keep it on the newspaper for at least 30 minutes to allow it to dry completely.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tin can
  • Paper plate
  • Tempera paint in various colours
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Paintbrush
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper

About the Author

Amy Lukavics is an Arizona resident who has been a professional writer since 2009. She contributes to the blog Hello, Moon and her writing interests include cooking, crafts, pregnancy, health and beauty.

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