My goal for the Craft Rehab category on Birdz of a Feather is to encourage sustainable crafting by providing inspirational upcycles using unexpected materials. It’s all about the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle! If you’re a fan of Craft Rehab, you’ve seen this time and time again through projects such as my Valentine’s Day Paint Stick Pallet, Plastic Clamshell Shrink Art, Soda Bottle Vertical Garden, Paint Bucket Water Feature and Blue Jean Planter, to name a few!
Today I’m bringing you another new and innovative project that you won’t find on Pinterest – yet. You saw it here first!
One day when I was making tuna for lunch, I had an epiphany about the can! Why not use it to create a stacked swing-out catchall that could be used for jewelry, office supplies or even in the kitchen to corral hot drink supplies?
You may be a little doubtful that you can turn a tuna can into something you’d want to put on full display in the bedroom, kitchen or office, but have a look at the video. My catchall is both attractive and useful – in an industrial sort of way 🙂
While I worked with the natural antique gold colour of the cans, you could paint them any colour you want to suit your own decor!
To make your own Tuna Can SwingOut Catchall, you will need:
The following list contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.
- 4 tuna cans and 4 lids (plus one additional lid if you want a cover on top)
- 1 rigid straight straw (inner post)
- 1 wide smoothie straw (outer sections)
- Kuhn can opener
- Hot glue or something more permanent like gorilla glue
- White glue
- Hacksaw or bandsaw
- 3/4″ black iron pipe (whatever height you desire)
- 2 black iron flanges
For demonstration purposes, from this point forward you’ll notice that I’m using neon-coloured straws for the outer sections so you can differentiate the pieces. To make this for actual use, I would recommend using a clear straw so it blends right in and doesn’t clash with the colour of the tuna cans (you’ll see how that looks on the jewellery catchall near the end).
The Secret to Making it Work
To make the swing-out feature work, I used extra wide smoothie straws which need to be big enough to slip easily over a rigid straight straw. That’s the secret to creating the pivot action: if the outer straw is too tight, the cans won’t swing easily, but if too loose they might sag – so fit is important. I even found that some of the straws within the same package were smaller than others so make sure you test them together before you glue anything onto the cans!
The rigid straight straw that acts as the pivot post is the kind used in insulated cups. If you happen to have an insulated cup that leaks, you can harvest the straw from that. You can also buy the straws in a 6-pack as shown below.
Use a smooth-edge can opener, such as the Kuhn, to open your tuna cans. It cuts from the side leaving the rim smooth, not sharp or jagged, which is important for safe handling and use.
Measure the side of the tuna can from below the top rim to the bottom and cut four ‘sections’ of smoothie straw to that length.
Although I used hot glue to attach the smoothie straw sections to the side of each can, I found that it is easily removable on the slick metal surface of the tuna can, so use something more permanent like gorilla glue or the like if you want it to last.
Ensure the pieces are glued straight up and down. If you get them off-kilter it could interfere with the swing-out action – and will show uneven gaps.
Temporarily pop the lids onto the cans so you can stack them and measure the total height. Add 1/2 and inch or so and cut the straight straw to that measurement, then set aside (I used my bandsaw to cut it, but you could also use a hacksaw).
Cut three spacers to fit in between the cans. The best way to measure for the spacers is to thread the cans onto the straw and measure the gap (mine were about 3/16″). If you don’t add the spacers, the cans won’t be well supported and the swing out function won’t work properly.
By the way, the picture below shows you what a mistake looks like: there shouldn’t be such large gaps between the cans themselves. I took this picture after I discovered the outer straw was too tight and had to start over again. It serves to show you what will happen if you don’t test the fit before you glue so you can learn from my mistake 🙂
I made my own labels for the cans, cut them out and glued them on with white glue. (If anyone wants them, let me know in the comments and I’ll share a printable pdf on my Facebook page).
If you want a chalk-board effect, apply the white glue to the can and be sure NOT to get glue on the face of the label (the chalk won’t adhere to glue).
Once dry, rub chalk over the front of the labels.
Blend the chalk by lightly wiping with a piece of paper towel, leaving a chalky haze.
Glue the lids onto the bottom of each can. This will help them nestle properly once they are stacked onto the straight straw.
Insert the straight straw through the smoothie straw section of the bottom can.
Follow with a spacer, the second can, another spacer, the third can, then the last spacer and can.
Once finished stacking the cans, I looked around for something to finish off the open end of the straight straw. I unscrewed the end cap from a dried-up ball-point pen.
I inserted the cap into the top of the straight straw and it fit perfectly inside! Add a dab of glue to secure it and finish off the open end as shown below.
Make a Stand
To make a stand, I used a 3″ length of 3/4″ black iron pipe leftover from another project and screwed it onto a flange.
I also glued a second flange onto the lid of the tuna can which was then glued onto the bottom of one of the cans.
This allows you to attach the stand to give it some height as shown below. The black iron pipe and flanges also weigh down the catchall to act as a counterbalance to the swing out so it doesn’t tip when it’s loaded up and fully open! The pipe is both practical and pretty.
Load it Up and Swing into Action
Here it is in the kitchen being used as a hot drink station.
In the overhead shot below, you’ll notice that I switched out the neon straw for a clear one. The sections swing out to reveal your stash and then close right back up again.
This one above shows the catchall holding lewellery and hair elastics – but you could individualize it to hold any small items; office supplies such as paper and binder clips would be another great way to use it. Just make your own printable labels to reflect whatever you’re storing (there are also chalk labels on Amazon that come with a chalk pen that you can use if you don’t want to permanently print your own).
If you want, you can even add a lid for the top (I glued a small pipe clamp on it to act as a handle). Although I left the lid as-is and didn’t paint it, you could paint the lid black or antique gold if you wish.
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I can’t wait to show you my newest upcycle project! It all starts with this rusty old fire pit I found on garbage day. Stay tuned (or subscribe) to see what I do with it!
For more upcycled craft ideas, visit the ‘Craft Rehab‘ section of Birdz of a Feather and browse around. Here are a few crafts you’ll find:
From upper left to right:
- Blue Jean Planter
- Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait
- Soda Bottle Vertical Garden
- Paint Chip Portrait
- VW Storage Cabinet/Desk
- Paint Bucket Water Feature
- Craft Rehab category to explore more….
In addition to crafts, you’ll also find home and garden DIYS. Here are a few recent DIY projects:
From left to right:
- How to take down a wall (dining room makeover)
- Install a new countertop and tile a backsplash (laundry room makeover)
- Build a one-of-a-kind medicine cabinet (part of our powder room remodel)
Recipes are on the site too under the Unknown Chef category.
- Ferment your own sauerkraut
- Chicken soup with matzoh balls to rival any grandmother’s
- How to BBQ chicken on a spit
UPDATE: Feb 8/18: Facebook doesn’t allow PDFs, so here is the file for those who asked: Tuna Can SwingOut Catchall Labels_Birdz of a Feather