It is always good to save something from the landfill and re-use it!
So I asked my sister to save her baby’s empty formula cans from the trash and give them to me. I wasn’t sure at first what to do with them, but I liked the different sizes of these round canister type cans and knew I would find some good use for them. I added my empty oatmeal canisters, and also some shorter cardboard cans that originally packaged mixed nuts. So I have a nice supply of these containers, and have decided to cover them and use them as gift boxes.
They are the perfect size for packaging cookies and candies, and it is always good to give gifts of baked goods during the holiday season. These containers will also work nicely for wrapping some small to medium sized gifts. You could easily package a T-shirt or something similar in one of these. The short nut size will work perfectly for giving my friend a set of many beaded bracelets, a necklace, and earrings. I will just cut a card to hang the earrings and put all the jewelry inside.
I have one extra large, tall baby formula canister that I will cover with fabric, puncture holes in the bottom, and set aside the lid for some other use. This tall open can is exactly the right size to repot one of many Chilean Avocado seedlings I presently have growing together in another pot. The cute can coupled with the fruit tree will make a great gift for someone, and this is about as green a gift as you could give.
If you would like to save some of these cute cardboard canisters from the trash and turn them into something pretty and useful (and re-useful, too), then here is what you need:
empty can(s) with plastic lid(s)
something to cover them with: I have lots of fabric, and so have used scraps of festive holiday prints and Christmas novelty fabrics to cover my cans. Felt would work as well as the cotton fabrics I have used. If you use felt, you can further decorate these by adding felt flowers, or a snowman, or some other applique on top of the felt.
You could also use paper. Use pretty scrapbook paper or construction or plain white paper and decorate this with markers. Doing these this way makes this a great “green” holiday craft to make with your kids.
Alternatively, if you have saved scraps of wrapping paper that has already been used, this would be a great way to re use it. You can use your iron set on low and a press cloth to rid it of any wrinkles. I do not recommend using new wrapping paper, because this isn’t as “green,” but you could do this if that is what you wanted to do.
I think using fabric makes these more permanent and would ensure that your gift boxes could be reused again and again. Paper might get torn or worn, unless you treat it as decoupage and apply mod podge or something similar over the top of the paper.
You also need something to use to attach the fabric or paper to the container. If you are using fabric, you could use fabric glue. Or you could do what I did and use wonder under double sided fusible web and your iron to adhere the two together. For paper, you would just use glue, whatever kind you have that is appropriate: school glue, mod podge, rubber cement….like I said, whatever you have. Another thing you could use for fabric or paper, is spray adhesive.
The directions for making these fabric or paper covered, upcycled, creative containers are simple. First remove the paper covering the outside of the can, and wash it out well and dry it thoroughly. Then, measure the height and circumference of your can, and cut your chosen covering to size. Next you will glue this to the can.
If you are using fabric and wonder under instead, first fuse the rough side of the web to the wrong side of your fabric, then remove the paper backing and use your iron to adhere this to the can. You will use a wet press cloth for this step, so you might want to use your blow dryer when finished to make sure no moisture remains.
To make these a little nicer, add the extra step of covering the lid. Just measure the top of the lid, inside of the lip if there is one, and then use a compass to draw the appropriate sized circle in your holiday fabric or paper. And then glue or adhere this to the lid, and you are done.
Fill your re-useful wrapping gift boxes with stacks of cookies, layers of different fudges or candies, sugared nuts, or small gifts. You could add a bow on the top of the lid if you like. Then give them away, but encourage the recipient to re-use or re-gift the wrapping, making this a simple green gift that keeps on giving.
Don’t feel limited to making these to use as gift boxes, by the way. I use favorite fabrics to make canisters for storing beads, other craft supplies, barrettes, random markers and pens, receipts, and all kinds of things. I covered a can in a marble print fabric to give a birthday gift of marbles. You could also tape down the lid and cut a slit in the top of it to make a bank.
Use your imagination to think of many other ways to repurpose these useful containers and cans.