a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Reusing a tin canister

on September 19, 2012

As a lot of people, I love old tin canisters. I think about when they were made, what they held, and wonder about the people who had them before. They’re getting harder and harder to find as they grow in popularity making them nearly impossible to get ahold of anymore — at least, for a decent price. So, when I do visit yard sales and thrift stores I always look for large and/or interestingly shaped tins that are in good condition (ie; no weird smells or unknown goo on them…). A few weeks ago I struck gold (by my standards, anyway) and got 5 tins for around $5.  They range in size from a gallon down to about a pint. Two of them were genuine old tins and the other three were new. Fred thought I was nuts (nothing new here) when I bought the “christmas” tin but I really liked the shape and thought it would be perfect to hold my tea, once I “redecorated” it.

The first thing I did, after washing & drying it, was to apply a (gray) primer (I did not take a photo of this. However, if you look just behind and to the left of the picture here, you can see another tin I have primed). I used a spray primer that was for wood, plastic, metal, etc. in order to keep the next layers from peeling off.  Then I sprayed on a coat of cream color for my base. It took a few layers in order to cover the primer and I made sure to let them dry well, in between.

I found some sticker paper that would work in my ink jet printer then went online and found a couple of old French labels that were available to print out and use for my project. Of course, my color ink was low and the three labels I printed came out with no green. But, I rather liked the look of one of them and decided to use it, anyway (right after I ordered more ink cartridges…). 

The sticker paper is quite forgiving and it was easy to use. I did have to glue down the two edges that needed to go around the corners but that was no big deal.  A dab or two of tacky glue and I was set. I liked the way it looked but felt it was too “new” for what I wanted so I decided to ‘antique it a bit. I’ve done this, in the past, two different ways; either by brushing on a dark brown paint then rubbing the excess off with a cloth or adding some pigment (in the form of acrylic paint) to the sealer. For this project I chose to add a bit of brown acrylic to my matte varnish (I like this method better as I have better control over the amount of antiquing it gets. If you paint over varnish, it acts as a barrier to keep the paint/pigment from soaking in and drying too fast). 

I brushed this all over the tin with a paint brush (first the lid, then the container) and blotted it with a clean  dry cloth to smooth out any obvious brush marks (then I went back and picked out all the dog hairs. You may not have to do this in your house). I did two coats of this, letting each one dry in between (I wish I could get paid for waiting for paint to dry. I’d be rich…). Then I did a wet rub using solid brown acrylic paint (take a dab of paint on a wet rag and rub it all over the surface, removing the excess as you go). Once that was finished and dry, I applied a coat of clear, matte varnish to keep it all in place. I think this will look great on my shelf or out on my counter!


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