Customize Ikea Cabinets – Laundry Room Makeover

More and more people are realizing that you can customize IKEA cabinets. Even the most experienced carpenters we know buy IKEA boxes and then build their own doors. You just can’t beat the price or convenience. So that’s exactly what we started with when we renovated the laundry room in our basement! Our laundry room makeover will show you how to customize and install Ikea cabinets.  Continue reading

Crackle Paint Finish – Transformed Ikea Cabinet

Have you ever thought about a crackle paint finish to upcycle an Ikea wall cabinet? Neither have we: this update was a fluke! Hubs and I are supplement users so when our local pharmacy started a twice a year anniversary sale, we wanted to take advantage of the huge price savings. Unfortunately we didn’t have anywhere to store a 6-month supply of supplements until the next sale! Enter Ikea! Continue reading

Tin Can Crafts – Tuna Can Swing Out Storage Tower

Our tin can crafts project is so unique; the swing out feature allows you to store a multitude of items like jewelry, office supplies and you can even turn it into a drink station. The possibilities are endless!

We hope you use this tutorial to inspire your own sustainable craft projects because, good planets are hard to find!

Watch this Brief Video

You may be a little doubtful that you can turn a tuna can into something you’d want to put on full display in your home, but have a look at the video and you may just change your mind (I promise, it’s quick!).

Tin Can Crafts Materials

* [If you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered (disclosure): Clicking on the affiliate links below means we may receive a commission. But don’t worry, you don’t pay a cent more and it helps us make more unique crafts to share with you! Thanks for helping to support our blog!]

To make your own tin can craft, you will need:

  • 4 tuna cans* and 4 lids (plus one additional lid if you want a cover on top).
  • 1 rigid plastic straw (inner post). I harvested mine from a leaky cup, but they can also be purchased.
  • 1 wide smoothie straw** (outer sections)
  • Can opener (be sure to use one that doesn’t leave a sharp edge!)
  • Hot glue or something more permanent like gorilla glue or E6000 industrial strength glue
  • White glue
  • White chalk (to achieve chalkboard effect or to write on labels)
  • Scissors
  • Scrap paper or the back of window envelopes to print labels. If you already have some chalk labels on-hand, you can use those instead.
  • Hacksaw or bandsaw
  • 3/4″ black iron pipe (whatever height you desire; I used 3.5″)
  • 2 black iron flanges (note that they don’t even have to be the same circumference as long as they fit the same thread as the iron pipe)

* Tuna isn’t the only thing that comes in small cans, as you see below. But keep in mind that whatever you use can’t stack higher than the length of a straw. For that reason, you may only be able to use 3 taller cans, as opposed to 4 tuna cans.

** A Note About Straws

Single use plastic straws have been banned in many places since I first wrote this post. I happened to have a ridgid plastic straw and a package of smoothie straws, but you can use any combination of straws as long as one fits inside the other. Recycle whatever works.

Tin Can Crafts Prep

Because you don’t want a lingering door, wash the cans out thoroughly with soap and water and bleach if necessary.

For demonstration purposes in the video and most of the tutorial, you’ll notice that I’m using neon-coloured smoothie straws for the outer sections. That’s so you can differentiate the pieces. When I make these for my own actual use, my personal preference is clear straws.

How to Make the Tin Can Crafts Swing

Here’s the secret to the pivot action: fit is important. The two-straw process to make the swing-out feature work requires an outer and inner straw.

For the outer straw, I use extra wide smoothie straws big enough to easily slip over a rigid plastic straw. If the outer straw is too tight, the cans won’t swing easily, but if too loose they might sag. The final component is spacers, which you’ll see further down.

Outer Straw

I find that some of smoothie straws within the same package are smaller than others so make sure you test them together first before you glue anything onto the cans!

Inner Straw

The rigid plastic straw that acts as the inner pivot post is the kind used in insulated cups. If you happen to have an insulated cup that leaks, like I did, harvest the straw from that. You can also buy similar straws in a 6-pack as shown below (see the materials list for source).

Open the Cans

Open the tuna cans with a smooth-edge can opener, (I use a Kuhn). 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. Mine were about 1 1/4″ long.

Although I use hot glue in the video to attach the straws, that’s just for ease of demonstration. Hot glue is too easily removable on the slick metal surface of the tuna can. TIP: use a permanent glue such as gorilla glue, E6000 glue, or the like.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

TIP: 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.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Inner Post and Spacers

Now you’ll need to cut the inner straw – or post – to length. Temporarily pop the lids onto the cans so you can stack them and measure the total height. Add a 1/2″ or so and cut the rigid plastic straw to that measurement, then set aside (I use my bandsaw to cut, but you could also use a hacksaw).

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″). Cut three spacers to fit in between the cans from the smoothie straw; it cuts easily with scissors.

If you don’t add the spacers, the cans won’t be well supported and the swing out function won’t work properly.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

The picture above doesn’t have its spacers yet. That’s because 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. Again, dry fit the two straws BEFORE you cut and glue.

Labeling Your Tin Can Crafts

Upcycle Envelopes!

Since this is an excercise in upcycling, why not make use of scrap paper? We save our paper misprints and even our bill envelopes.

When printing with envelopes, cut off the flap. Then cut away the, leaving the back to print on.

Use the length and width measurements to format the size of the page in whatever software program you use (I simply use Word). Format the printer settings to the same size and specify the rear paper feed slot to print.

You’ll likely find that 3 labels will fit vertically on each envelope.

TIP: measure the height and width of the cans you’ll be using. As you can see in the picture below, you may have to adjust the height of the label to fit your specific can.

Chalk It Up!

We’re imitating the look of chalkboard! After cutting out the labels, apply white glue to the can and apply the label on top. Be sure not to get excess glue on the face of the label (the chalk won’t adhere to glue).

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Once the glue is 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: instant chalk board effect!

Alternatively, another option is to leave the labels blank. Instead of pre-printing text, just print the black background. That way you can chalk in whatever text you want, and re-write the label as you wish!

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Alternate Label Options

As another option, print on a sheet of clear shipping labels.

As you can see below, the shade of the can comes through the transparent text. While the chalkboard label is rustic, doesn’t this one look elegant?

Tin Can Crafts Assembly

Glue the lids onto the bottom of each can. This will help them nestle properly once they are stacked onto the rigid straw.

Insert the rigid plastic 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.

Cap It Off

Once stacking is done, unscrew an end cap from a spent ball-point pen.

The recycle pile has untapped potential! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Bet you can't make just one: they are so addictive! Birdz of a feather | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | upcycle | crafts | diy | #birdzofafeather.ca #upcycle #recycle #tincancrafts #tunacan #upcycling #upcycledcan #upcyledcrafts

Insert the cap into the top of the straight straw and it fit perfectly! Add a dab of glue to secure it.

Elevate Tin Can Crafts

A crystal candle stick – or something that provides a heavy counterbalance when all the compartments are open – makes a great stand. Weight is important so your tin can craft doesn’t tip when it swings open.

I happen to have leftover black pipe to make a DIY stand.

Before threading on the pipe, glue one flange onto the lid of the tuna can (which is then glued onto the bottom of one of the cans).

Load up the compartments and test that they all open and close properly.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Embellishing with Paint

Before we get to the reveals, you can also paint your tin can craft. It takes a bit of trial and error to get paint to stick to the cans. I thought that using a spray primer before painting would guarantee success but the primer didn’t work on one of the cans.

As you can see from the comparison below, the can on the left did not pass the ‘scratch test’. Although the second can looks scuffed, the primer is sticking well. I actually used the exact same primer for both, but in retrospect I realize the cans came from two different manufacturers. Perhaps there is a coating on one or it’s just the way the metal is made.

TIP: All cans are not alike so if you plan on painting, do your own experiments to see what combination of primer and/or paint works!

Tin Can Crafts Projects

Swing Into Action

Use your tin can craft in the kitchen as a hot drink station.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Or it ‘can’ swing out to reveal a costume jewelry stash / hair accessories.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Here’s another idea for office supplies!

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

You can even paint one for a little friend to store his Hot Wheels!

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Optional Lid

In order to keep dust off, add a lid if you like. One idea is to glue a small pipe clamp on it as a finger pull.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storageOr swap out the original tuna can lid for another recycle lid to match match the gold tuna cans.

In this example a small brass knob looks pretty sharp! Use whatever you have on hand.

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Sustainable Tin Can Crafts

This would be a great project to do with kids to teach them the value of sustainability (and they’ll get a kick out of using it too)!

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather by subscribing if you don’t want to miss another unique idea! You can also follow us on PinterestFacebookYouTube and Instagram.

Pin Tin Can Crafts

The possibilities for what you can store are endless! If you enjoyed this sustainable craft project, please pin and share:

The recycle pile has untapped potential for tin can craft! Grab some tuna cans to create a tuna can swing out. Betcha can't make just one! Birdz of a feather | tuna can crafts | tuna can crafts diy | tuna can crafts ideas | tin can art | tin can crafts | tin can crafts diy | tin can | aluminum can crafts | aluminum can crafts diy | aluminum can crafts projects | aluminum can crafts for kids | tuna can crafts upcycle | tuna can crafts upcycling | Tuna can swing out | tuna can upcycle | storage

Sustainable Crafts: BoF Craft Rehab

Check out some of our other sustainable craft projects on Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab and subscibe, if you haven’t already:

Last picture, from upper left to right:

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSavetntin 

Upcycled Kitchen Cabinets – VW Desk!

Today we’re showing you how to turn upcycled kitchen cabinets into a unique VW desk. You know how they say that necessity is the mother of invention? This upcycle is a prime example. After we renovated our kitchen, the craft room was next on the list and I needed a storage solution, stat! Luckily we saved a bank of cabinets from our reno to create a one-of-a-kind desk for the office area.

Continue reading

Medicine Cabinet DIY – Decoupaged ReStore Door

Our decoupaged medicine cabinet DIY is the jewel in the crown in our little powder room. It’s a striking decor piece that acts like artwork. But while it adds beauty, it’s also a functional way to add more storage in a small space.

You may have seen the powder room makeover we posted last year. Today we’re focusing on how to build just one of the elements, the decoupaged medicine cabinet, right into a wall. At Birdz of a Feather, we’re all about upcycling so when it came time to renovate our small powder room, we wanted to do it as sustainably as possible. Continue reading

Jewelry Storage DIY – Keeping it Tarnish Free

This cabinet upcycle turned into the most amazing jewelry storage DIY because I found a way to keep my bling tarnish free! What’s not to love about tarnish free jewelry?

If we find something in the garbage that inspires us (or even just challenges our common sense to leave it there), we don’t hesitate to try to find another use for it. The worst that can happen is that the project is an epic fail that ends up back in the garage again. But we won’t let that happen on our watch! Continue reading

The Making of a Craft Studio (VI): The Final Reveal!

A few weeks ago was moving day. With the help of Hub’s brothers, all the heavy equipment was brought over from my old studio. While I still have some unpacking, I can’t wait to show you the reveal and share our upcycle ideas to inspire you in your own craft space!

Here is what we started with in the basement…. Continue reading

Laminate Edging – DIY Storage Shelf

Laminate edging (or melamine edging) is the finishing touch for an easy DIY storage shelf. An easy clean white laminate shelf is an ideal addition to any cabinet or niche. You’ll have more storage space in no time!

Hubs upcycled this old tool cart into something special. What that ‘something special’ is won’t be fully revealed until my next post. However, in the interim we’re going to show you how to construct and insert a laminate shelf into a cabinet for more storage space. Continue reading

Flea Market Survival Kit – Be Prepared During Tick Season

A flea market survival kit is an essential in our household. When the weather turns warm in May, hubs and I love to scout flea markets and garage sales! Speaking of scout, when I was a Girl Scout, our motto was ‘be prepared’.  That one motto has resonated with me throughout my entire life. This post will give you the scoop on how to be prepared to shop your favourite flea markets.  Continue reading