Category: DIY Projects

Wonders: Tin Cans

Target’s release of 1.2 million limited-edition Campbell’s cans sporting Warhol-inspired labels has me walking down memory lane and also reconsidering the tin can. As soon as I was growing up, our basement was overflowing with Campbell’s soup labels, because my mother was Ayer Elementary School’s Campbell’s Soup Lady. This meant she had to gather and count . (She was pretty excited to move up to Book Lady another year and leave the labels behind.) The faculty then traded them for high-tech stuff, such as overhead projectors and abaci.

During these olden days, there was no such thing as recycling, but we did style high-tech phone systems in the cans and a ball of string, and also our art teachers came up with great tin can jobs for us. I’m psyched to say the creative tin can spirit from days of yore (the 1980s) remains alive today; see if they inspire any simple projects in your home.

Lola Nova

Form of can: Any canned-food can
Use: Vase
Impact: If you leave them using their normal metal patina or paint them bright colors, soup cans are simply the right size for a bouquet or a small plant.
Hint: High-gloss acrylic paint looks the sassiest.


Type of can: Small paint can, java can, soup can
Use: Organizing art or office supplies
Impact: Odds are, one of your earliest DIY jobs was wrap a soup can at some wrapping paper in nursery school and giving it to a daddy because of his desk for a present. Use your favorite wallpaper sample or fabric, or bust out the Mod Podge and channel your inner John Derian by decoupaging a few cans for your studio or desk.

Melissa Mascara Layout

Type of can: Coffee tin
Use: Outside planter
Impact: A colorful vertical garden. I really like the way these containers have faded to different amounts.
Hint: Drill holes at the bottom for great drainage.

Julie Ranee Photography

Type of can: Paint can
Use: Planter
Impact: A good method to use those paint cans collecting in the crawl space, since you never know how to get rid of them anyway. Give them a coat of glossy bright paint and they’ll grab attention in your garden.

Colleen Brett

Type of can: Spice tin
Use: Container for seeds
Impact: You’ll check the dates on those ancient spices on your pantry and won’t feel guilty dumping them since you are going to have a nice new way to use them.

By the way, if realizing your herbaceous plants are somewhat older than your college-age child inspires you to clean out the pantry, then here’s some help for getting started.

Type of can: Any
Use: Robot sculpture
Impact: A funny conversation piece it is possible to use indoors or outside. (It’ll eventually corrode outside, but the patina will make it even more interesting.)


Type of can: Campbell’s soup can
Use: Silverware holder in a picnic or buffet
Impact: A clever pop art foundation for the rest of your colour scheme


Form of can: Campbell’s soup can
Use: Warhol-esque installment
Impact: Soup storage which dazzles in the kitchen and frees a pantry shelf.

Made in Layout

Canned Light Pendant by Ingo Maurer – GBP 158

Type of can: Campbell’s soup can
Use: Pendant light
Result: I swiped this idea from light ace Ingo Maurer, but why not try it with a favorite can plus a simple lighting kit in the hardware store? Should you picked up among the limited-edition Warhol cans at Target, it is a fantastic way to enjoy it in perpetuity.

Read more multipurpose wonders

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Quick Fix: Locate Wall Studs Without an Expensive Stud Finder

Anyone who’s attempted to hang a photo or a wall socket understands the perils that include not locating the wall stud. 1 inch too far to the left or the right, and your drywall can create an ugly hole or perhaps return from thick sheets. For Philip Tiffin of 522 Industries at Oakland, Calif., this is particularly important when it comes to installing his intricately engineered steel railings and staircases. Though he maintained purchasing the maximum quality stud finders on the current market, they never worked flawlessly. Then he discovered a fast tip he is used since.

Five Two Industries

Tiffin was having an impossible time finding the wall studs onto work site with a stud finder that was $70. Then somebody on the website recommended a refrigerator magnet that was big.

When he wants to search for a wall stud, he wraps it into blue painter’s tape, leaving a flap to use as a handle, and drags it along the wall. “When the magnet sticks the wall, you have discovered your stud,” he states. “Then use a level and mark where you want to drill your hole.”


“I have not used anything because,” Tiffin states. “It works better than any stud finder I have ever used or bought.” Tiffin buys 1-inch round fridge magnets in bulk (“The stronger the better,” he says) and keeps them whenever he is at work.

Five Two Industries

Even though Tiffin and 522 Industries uses this fast fix to install rails, staircases, and other custom steelwork, you may use this tip to discover studs before hanging artwork or shelves.

More rapid repairs:
Multipurpose Painter’s Tape
Erase Water Rings from Furniture
Correct Squeaky Floors and Sticky Doors

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