Crafty Bits, Handy Hints, Jacks Hacks, Recipes

5 Surprisingly Gorgeous Things You Can Make From An Old Tin Can [#JacksHacks]

This ambient bath lantern was made in a matter of minutes, with a thin cross head screwdriver, a hammer, and a lick of spray paint. I didn’t paint the inside because open flames and paint aren’t the best of bedfellows. It gave out a surprising amount of soft, flickering light and made me feel as though there was a small starry sky in my bath last night. Which is nice. I’m going to make another with a silver-lined tin instead of a white one, for a better reflection, but as a first go at it, I really love this. Be careful handing it once lit – the rim of the can gets HOT.

This is a double walled planter – I didn’t have any real plants small enough for it to photograph last night and as you can see from the pic, it was dark so I wasn’t about to go forking about in the garden with a head torch on, looking for a particularly pretty weed to uproot either! The thinner, inside can has approximately 15 holes punched in the bottom with a very thin cross-head screwdriver and a hammer. The external one has no holes, so it will catch any excess water. I’ve put a few small stones in the bottom between the two to allow for a little drainage, and they were spray painted with chalkboard paint, which is a godsend for so many little things! The internal one was originally a can of sliced peaches, and the external one once housed pineapple chunks. If and when they start to rust from water and oxygen exposure, I’ll simply clean them out, strip the paint off, pop them in the recycling, and start again.

A hanging cutlery drainer, made with duck egg blue gloss spray paint, a small screwdriver, a hammer, and a piece of string. I punched several holes in the bottom, painted it twice, varnished it with spray varnish to seal it but that’s just because I’m finicky, and wrapped the string around the top to make a handle. It also works sitting on the draining board, but I have a thing about keeping my surfaces as clear as possible, and every little thing popped up in the air or on the wall instead of the space where I chop and cook and assemble and write and roam, is a little win in my book. This can was once a can of prunes, now it’s a useful and rather beautiful kitchen implement. Hurrah!

Hanging plant pot. I’m gonna level with you, this was frustrating to get the string right, and I ended up securing it to the bottom with a blob of blu-tack. Looks pretty though, and small hanging planters are very much the rage right now if Instagram is anything to go by. Or maybe that’s just a revealing insight into who I follow. People who like plants tend to be good people though, right?

My fave of the bunch – a Tin Can Alley style garden game. I’m impatiently waiting to get through more cans now so I can make loads of these, so me and Small Boy can lob tennis balls at them in the garden and knock them over. As you can see from the top can, I tested the fun levels myself yesterday! I won’t disclose how many attempts it took to actually hit the can with the ball though! These cans once housed pear halves and fruit cocktail. Now they’re sitting in my shed, waiting for some buddies to join them so we can have a jolly good time. In the slightly Beano-esque image this conjures up, I think I may even persuade Small Boy to let me use his catapult. Reports to follow!

Now, I actually ended up making a LOT more than these six things yesterday, which is why I ran out of cans for the Tin Can Alley, so I’ll be sharing some more ideas with you soon! I’d also love to hear your frugal and fun ideas for recycling, up cycling, and reusing tin cans, glass jars, bottles, ring pulls, plastic bottles, the plastic trays that some little salad veg and fruits come in, egg boxes, and more. Drop me a comment below or ping it over as a comment on Facebook or Instagram – and I’ll be back with a recipe very soon!

These cans were gifted by Del Monte Europe (with their contents) and repurposed and recycled by me, Jack Monroe. Links in the article above may be affiliate links which may earn a small commission on purchases made by recommendation. All images, text and IP are the copyright of Jack Monroe.

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Filed under: Crafty Bits, Handy Hints, Jacks Hacks, Recipes

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Jack Monroe is an award winning food writer and bestselling author. Books include A Girl Called Jack, A Year In 120 Recipes and Cooking On A Bootstrap. She has won the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink award (ironically), the Observer Food Monthly Best Food Blog, Marie Claire 'Woman At The Top', Red Magazine's 'Red Hot Women', the YMCA Courage & Inspiration Award, the Woman Of The Year Entrepreneur award, the Women Of The Future media award and many more. She works with Oxfam, the Trussell Trust, Child Poverty Action Group, Plan Zheroes, the Food Chain and many food banks, schools and childrens centres to teach people to cook and eat well on a low income, and campaigns against the causes of poverty and austerity in Britain and abroad.