25 Tin Can Crafts for Kids

Tin cans – those ubiquitous denizens of your recycling bin – hold a treasure trove of creative potential!

They’re sturdy, readily available, and with a little imagination, they can transform into a universe of awesome crafts for kids.

This fantastic collection of 25 tin can crafts is guaranteed to spark hours of fun and unleash the inner upcycling artist in your child.

Getting Started: Safety and Supplies

Before diving into the can-tastic world of crafting, safety is key. Adult supervision is crucial, especially when using sharp tools. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Cleaned tin cans: Remove labels and wash thoroughly. Opt for various sizes for project variety.
  • Safety gear: Adult supervision, gloves for sharp edges, and eye protection for drilling holes (adults only).
  • Crafting essentials: Acrylic paint, paint brushes, markers, glue (various types – school glue, hot glue for adult use), scissors, tape, and a can opener (adults only).
  • Embellishments: Pipe cleaners, googly eyes, buttons, yarn, felt, construction paper, pom poms – the possibilities are endless!

Let the Upcycling Adventures Begin!

The Classics: Tin Can Telephone and Stilts

Nostalgia alert! Craft a tin can telephone, a timeless symbol of childhood fun. Poke holes in the bottoms of two cans, connect them with string, and chat away! For some active fun, create tin can stilts using sturdy cans, rope, and pool noodles for padding (optional).

Whimsical Creatures and Homes

Turn tin cans into an adorable menagerie! Paint them and add felt ears, pipe cleaner whiskers, and googly eyes for playful cats, dogs, or bunnies. Feeling more fantastical? Craft a shimmering mermaid with yarn hair and seashell embellishments, or a majestic robot adorned with bottle caps and aluminum foil.

For the creatures, create cozy tin can homes. Decorate the outside with paint, markers, or even decoupage with magazine clippings. Add a fabric door and tiny furniture for an extra touch.

Musical Delights: Drums, Shakers, and Xylophones

Tin cans make fantastic musical instruments! Craft drums by attaching a balloon to the open end of a can. Decorate and get ready for a rhythmic jam session. For shakers, fill a can with dried beans, rice, or pasta, secure the lid, and decorate for some percussive fun. Feeling ambitious? Create a tin can xylophone using different sized cans and arrange them on a sturdy base. Hit them with a spoon and create a mini orchestra!

Planting Fun: Upcycled Can Planters

Give your green thumb a boost with tin can planters! Paint the cans with vibrant colors or whimsical designs. Poke drainage holes in the bottom (adults only) and fill with potting mix. Plant seeds or small saplings and watch your mini garden flourish.

Desk Organizers and Pencil Holders

Banish desk clutter with tin can organizers! Cover them in decorative paper, paint them with chalkboard paint for a message board, or personalize them with washi tape for a pop of color. Line them up for pens, pencils, or craft supplies – a touch of organization with a recycled twist!

Light Up the Night: Lanterns and Wind Chimes

Create a magical ambiance with tin can lanterns. Punch decorative patterns in the sides (adult supervision required) and place a battery-operated tea light inside for a warm glow. For some tinkling tunes, craft wind chimes. Hang strings with bells or small objects that make noise from the bottom of the can and let the wind play its melody.

Game Time: Bowling and Can Toss

Turn your backyard into a mini bowling alley! Decorate tin cans as bowling pins and use a small ball for hours of bowling fun. Feeling active? Create a can toss game. Stack the cans in a pyramid shape and take turns tossing beanbags (made from old socks filled with dried beans) to knock them down.

Party Fun: Party Favors and Noisemakers

Throwing a party? Fill small tin cans with candies or small toys for eco-friendly party favors. Decorate them with the party theme for an extra touch. For some celebratory noise, make tin can shakers with colorful decorations and a handful of beans inside.

Artsy Adventures: Paint Dipped and Stamping Cans

Explore the world of abstract art with paint-dipped tin cans. Pour paint onto a tray and dip the can partially or fully, creating a unique design as you pull it out. Let it dry and use it as a planter, pencil holder, or simply a work of art. Craft custom Unleash the Upcycling Artist Within!

Artsy Adventures: Stamping Cans and Mobiles

Create custom stamps using the bottoms of tin cans. Cut out shapes from sponges or felt and attach them to the can for unique patterns. Use them to decorate cards, gift wrap, or fabric tote bags. Feeling more whimsical? Craft a tin can mobile. Hang various sized and decorated cans from a wire or string mobile base. Add bells, ribbons, or other embellishments for a touch of whimsy.

Storage Solutions: Coin Banks and Sewing Kits

Turn tin cans into practical storage solutions. Decorate a can with paint and markers to create a one-of-a-kind coin bank. Add a slit in the top (adult supervision required) for easy coin deposits. Feeling crafty? Craft a travel sewing kit. Line a small can with felt or fabric and fill it with sewing needles, buttons, thread, and small scissors.

Light Up Learning: Constellations and Memory Games

Turn tin cans into educational tools! Paint constellations on black-painted cans and poke tiny holes to represent the stars. Use a flashlight to project the constellations onto the ceiling for a starry-night learning experience. Feeling memory-challenged? Create a memory game. Decorate pairs of tin cans with matching designs and fill them with small objects. Flip them over, take turns revealing them, and see if you can match the pairs!

Playtime Fun: Pencil Toppers and Action Figures

Craft superhero action figures or fantastical creatures using tin cans as the base. Decorate them with paint, markers, felt scraps, and googly eyes. Give them capes from fabric scraps and let imaginations soar! Feeling a bit artistic? Create custom pencil toppers. Decorate small tin can lids with paint and embellishments and glue them onto the eraser ends of pencils for a fun and personalized touch.

Party Favors: Tin Can Tic-Tac-Toe and Mini Pinatas

Tin cans can be the stars of party fun! Create a travel-sized tic-tac-toe game. Paint the can and lid and decorate them with X’s and O’s. Glue small magnets to game pieces cut from felt or cardboard for a portable game. Feeling festive? Craft mini piñatas. Fill small cans with candies or confetti (adult supervision required when filling), decorate them brightly, and suspend them with string for a delightful party activity.

Let There Be Light: Firefly Lanterns and Desk Lamps

Capture the magic of fireflies with tin can lanterns. Poke tiny holes in a can (adult supervision required) and paint fireflies or stars on the outside. Place a battery-operated tea light inside for a soft, enchanting glow. Feeling studious? Craft a desk lamp. Paint a can and decorate it. Cut a hole in the side (adult supervision required) to fit a small battery-operated light for some focused illumination.

Dress Up Fun: Tin Can Crowns and Jewelry

Channel your inner royalty with tin can crowns. Cut out crown shapes from the top of cans and decorate them with glitter, jewels, or paint. Punch holes on the sides (adult supervision required) and tie ribbon or yarn to fit a head for majestic pretend play. Feeling fancy? Create unique jewelry. Cut out shapes from can lids or sides and paint them. Attach jump rings (adult supervision required) and earring hooks for one-of-a-kind necklaces and earrings.

Let’s Get Cooking ( pretend play!): Play Kitchen Stove and Utensils

Spark imaginations with a pretend play kitchen stove. Stack two or three painted cans to create a stovetop. Decorate them with painted burner circles and knobs. Feeling like a chef? Craft utensils from can lids. Cut out fun shapes like spatulas or spoons and paint them for some culinary pretend play fun.

Under the Sea Adventures: Fish Mobiles and Seashell Wind Chimes

Create a mesmerizing undersea mobile. Paint tin cans in vibrant fish colors and add fins, scales, and eyes from felt or paper. Hang them from a mobile base for a swimming spectacle. Feeling the ocean breeze? Craft seashell wind chimes. Decorate cans with paint and beachy designs. Hang them with strings and add seashells for a delightful tinkling sound.

Dinosaurs on the Loose!: Tin Can Dinosaur Figures

Let imaginations run wild with tin can dinosaur figures. Paint cans in prehistoric hues and add details like spikes, horns, and tails using felt, paper, or cardboard cutouts. Craft a whole herd for stomping adventures!

Bird Watching Fun: Bird Feeders and Seed Dispensers

Help feathered friends with tin can bird feeders. Poke small holes in a can (adult supervision required) and decorate it with bird-friendly colors. Hang it with string and fill it with birdseed for a delightful backyard feeding station. Feeling like a responsible pet owner? Craft a seed dispenser for caged birds. Attach a small can with a spout to a larger can that holds the birdseed. Decorate it and create a mess-free way to feed your feathered companion.

Puppet Power!: Tin Can Puppets and Finger Puppets

Let imaginations take center stage with tin can puppets. Decorate a can with a face and add felt hair, pipe cleaner arms, and fabric clothing for a delightful puppet show prop. Feeling a bit sillier? Craft finger puppets. Cut out finger-sized shapes from can lids and decorate them with funny faces or animal features for some interactive storytelling fun.

Let’s Get Organized!: Calendar Holders and Desk Organizers

Keep track of important dates with a tin can calendar holder. Paint a can and decorate it with the month. Attach hooks or clothespins (adult supervision required when attaching) to hold calendar pages. Feeling cluttered? Create desk organizers from various sized cans. Decorate them with paint, washi tape, or fabric scraps and use them to hold pens, pencils, markers, or paperclips.

Tech Savvy Fun!: Phone Stands and Charging Stations

Upgrade screen time with a DIY phone stand. Cut a v-shaped notch in the top of a can (adult supervision required) to hold a phone. Decorate it with paint or markers for a personalized touch. Feeling tech-savvy? Create a charging station. Decorate a can and cut a hole in the back (adult supervision required) to allow for charging cable access. Place your phone in the stand and keep your cords organized.

Creative Containers!: Gift Boxes and Candy Tins

Ditch the ordinary and create unique gift boxes. Wrap a can in decorative paper or fabric and add a ribbon for a personalized touch. Feeling like a sweet tooth? Decorate a can as a candy tin. Fill it with your favorite treats and share the upcycled love!

Storytelling Time!: Storytelling Canisters and Memory Tins

Spark imaginations with storytelling canisters. Decorate a can with a scene from a favorite story or create your own characters. Fill it with story prompts, small figurines, or bits of fabric to inspire creative storytelling. Feeling sentimental? Craft memory tins. Decorate a can and fill it with photos, keepsakes, or small mementos to cherish special memories.

With a little creativity and these 25 tin can craft ideas, the possibilities are endless! So, gather your supplies, grab those tin cans, and unleash the upcycling artist within your child. Happy crafting!

Sohaib Hasan Shah

Sohaib's journey includes 10+ years of teaching and counseling experience at BCSS School in elementary and middle schools, coupled with a BBA (Hons) with a minor in Educational Psychology from Curtin University (Australia) . In his free time, he cherishes quality moments with his family, reveling in the joys and challenges of parenthood. His three daughters have not only enriched his personal life but also deepened his understanding of the importance of effective education and communication, spurring him to make a meaningful impact in the world of education.

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