DIYdiy projects

diy wednesday: cookie tin storage bins

by Grace Bonney

Each Christmas there are a handful of family members who we can count on to give us a cookie tin filled with all kinds of tasty treats. The cookies don’t last long at all, so it’s around this time every year that we find ourselves left with a mismatched assortment of festive (i.e. “wacky”) tin boxes that we’re not quite sure what to do with. We found that covering them with printed paper creates a unified look and makes for the perfect place to store our ever growing collection of craft supplies. And with all those snowflakes and Christmas trees out of sight, we won’t risk getting “Jingle Bell Rock”d stuck in our heads every time we reach for a button or a spool of thread. Click here for the full post and instructions, or just click “read more” below.

Have fun!
Derek & Lauren

[Update: You can download Lauren and Derek’s patterns for this project right here and here]


Cookie Tin Storage Bins

Here’s what you’ll need:
-Assorted cookie tins
-Printed paper (We went through our clip art books and found a print that we re-colored in the computer and printed out onto construction paper.)
-Measuring tape
-X-Acto blade
-Straight edge
-Self-healing cutting mat
-Mod Podge
-Foam pad brush
-3/8” wide ribbon
-White glue
-Heavy duty cardboard or mat board for interior dividers

1. Trace around the lid of your cookie tin onto the backside of the printed paper. Measure the height and distance around the outside of the tin.

2. Cut out a circle of paper for the lid and a long strip for the sides. (If you are printing your paper onto 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets, you may have to use 2-3 strips pieced together.)

3. Using your foam brush, apply Mod Podge to the top and sides of your cookie tin and smooth paper onto the surfaces. Seal paper with a second layer of Mod Podge and let dry completely.

4. Cut a length of ribbon to cover the outside lip of the lid, and apply with white glue.

5. For the interior dividers, measure the height and interior width of the tin, and cut two pieces of cardboard to match. Make notches in the center of each strip of cardboard, so the pieces will fit together to form an X.

6. Place the divider into your tin and start organizing!

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  • I have tons of small tins that coffee came in (my boss goes through them like water!). This is perfect! I’ve been meaning to make something with them.
    You guys are awesome, as usual.

  • That’s such a great idea! Now all I need are for people to give me cookies. ;)

    Oh my gosh, that just gave me a gigantic craving for a can of Royal Dansk cookies…

  • I have altered paint cans and small tins. NEVER did I think to do that to the cookie tins. WOW! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  • Great idea! I just got a wacky holiday tin from my mom last night and thought “this is great, but what about this crazy snowman?”

    Would you be willing to post your clipart pattern for us to print at home?

  • Neat idea. I’m on the other end of things–constantly baking and not enough containers to put things in. Maybe I should look into boxes for craft supplies? ;)

    Another idea would be to spraypaint the outsides of the tins, for those who can’t handle fiddly cutting and pasting *cough* likeme *cough*

  • I’ve found similar up-cycling joy by re-purposing those sturdy Ferrero-Rocher chocolate boxes that would otherwise end up in landfills post-holiday gluttony. Their thick, vacuum-formed clear plastic covers and pretty gold-colored inset trays (with convenient 1″ diameter circular compartments) are perfect for storing the raw inventory for my Crostini Designs jewelry line.

    Luckily, my future in-laws are from Rome, so we get loads of fantastic Ferrero-Rocher chocolate…and Torrone (mmm.) Back to the gym, LOL!

  • OH MY GOSH…wow! I love this idea. Just yesterday I went to put a used-up cookie tin in the place where we store such things and found that there was no room at all…not even an inch. So I am definitely going to be doing this!

  • I did this with a bunch of tins a year or so ago with mixed results. Well, I did a spray-paint version (as Kate suggested above). The problem I had was that there is very little excess room between the lid and the top of the tin, so the extra layers of paint (rust-proof primer, paint, and sealer) made it nearly impossible to get the lids back on the tins. When I did, they were hard to get off again. I ended up donating them to Goodwill, hoping someone wouldn’t mind or would figure out a different mod for them.

    Maybe someone has an idea on how to do this without causing this problem? I didn’t read anything in these instructions on how to avoid that.

  • kelly – what about putting masking tape on the edge of the tin to prevent it from getting paint on it?

    also – i’m concerned a bit about buttons getting under those dividers, and i was thinking that making a pie-shaped cardboard separator (like a quarter-circle with two squares attached and folded) might do the trick.

  • Hi Kelly-
    You could mask the lip of the tin with blue painter’s tape before you spray paint it to avoid any yucky paint build-up. On the tins we made, we didn’t cover the inside lip with paper, since it’s only visible when the lid is off. Hope this helps!

  • Hi! I use my tins as first aid kits which are nice enough to display :)
    Great idea to use them for crafts stuff. I have more tins so that’ll be my weekend project … You can check out my tins at

  • Great idea! Some vintage buttons, though, especially those made of Celluloid, can deteriorate when stored in tins or next to metal buttons. So I’d store vintage buttons separately, and separate the metal buttons from the plastic. I love anything having to do with buttons!

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