DIY Painting & Finishing

9 Creative Uses for Old Paint Cans

Wondering what to do with all those empty paint cans? See how others have cleaned and repurposed them into everything from smart storage to fun works of art.

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Punched-Can Lanterns

Turn your empty one-quart paint cans into festive outdoor lanterns. Punch patterns into the cans with a hammer and nail, and then paint them in a variety of colors. Place small candles or tea lights inside and voilà—candles for a summer patio party!

Related: 9 Easy-to-Make Garden Luminaries

Hanging Planters

Pastel paints and stencils turn these old paint cans into hanging planters for flowers or herbs. You can use the handles to hang the cans on a hook or just screw the cans directly into a fence.

Related: 10 Plants Perfect for Hanging Baskets

Home Office Cubbies

There are many ways to repurpose paint cans into storage solutions for home offices. In this simple approach, line the cans up on a shelf to use as mail sorters. Put labels below each can to keep the paperwork organized.

Related:  10 Ingenious Alternatives to a Traditional Home Office

Paint Lid Mirrors

Once you’ve used a few paint cans for a project, don’t throw out the lids! Repurpose them into delightful and functional items like these cool circle mirrors. Dollar-store mirrors, gold spray paint, screws, and a little ingenuity combine to create designer-style accents for a fraction of the retail cost.

Related: 10 Ways of Using Mirrors to Your Design Advantage

Coat Hooks

Affix cleaned painted cans to your mudroom or front entry for some practical and unique storage. Leave them unpainted for a modern, industrial look or go the designer route by covering them with color and pattern. They’re truly versatile: You can hang dog leashes from the handles, drape scarves on top, and store gloves and mittens inside.

Related:  10 Design Inspirations for Mudrooms and Entryways

Spray Can Bouquet Art

If you’ve got a stash of empty spray paint cans, here’s a solution for them too: Craft a unique sculpture by painting the lids, adding small painted wooden dowels for stems, and displaying the “flowers” in a clear glass vase.

Bumblebee Bird Feeders

You can make these whimsical bumblebee and ladybug bird feeders from either paint cans or coffee cans with lids. Use a painted pencil for a perch, attach white-painted washers for the eyes, and fashion wings from metal clothes hangers and netting (available at craft stores).

Related: 10 Feeders for Winter Nourishment

Jewelry Tin


Decorate an empty paint can with ribbons, pearls, and silk flowers to create a pretty jewelry tin for a girl’s bedroom or to give as a shower gift to the DIY-minded bride or new mom.

Trash Can

Need a creative and inexpensive wastebasket for your powder room or guest room? Wrap a rope in a pretty fabric, then wind it around an old paint can for a sweet, petite receptacle.

Related:  18 Brilliant Ways to Decorate With Rope