diy wednesdays: covered paint can

we’ve spent the last few days in chicago visiting friends and seeing the sights. (we also caught the renegade craft fair on sunday- you can check out some pictures on our flickr page right here. we wanted to make sure to leave our generous hosts a nice thank you gift, but without our usual arsenal of craft supplies on hand, we had to make do with some simple ingredients rounded up from the neighborhood. we came up with this decorative coffee tin, made from an empty one-quart paint can from the hardware store, some delightful paper and ribbon from a local shop called anjenu and some fancy and delicious coffee beans from chicago’s famous roaster intelligentsia. once our hosts have used up all the beans, they can reuse the can as a pencil caddy or flower pot. click here for the full post and instructions or just click “read more” below.

yay for chicago!
derek & lauren

here’s what you’ll need:
-1 quart paint can
-decorative paper
-colored ribbon
-double-sided tape

1. measure and cut your paper to fit around the paint can with a 1/2″ overlap.


2. use one strip of double-stick tape to adhere the paper to the can, and a second strip to stick down the overlap.


3. cut a length of ribbon that is 1/2″ longer than the circumference of the can, and attach with double-stick tape.
4. cut a circle of paper and tape to the lid of the can.
5. fill it up with fun treats!


  1. Kristan says:

    Oh man, what a great idea!! And you know, this technique can probably be applied to a wide variety of things, not just paint cans.

  2. Kirsten says:

    hmm this makes me wonder if it’s ok to put edibles in a paint can – will paint remnants/ fumes transfer to food? as an alternative, i believe you can buy empty, unused cans at craft stores. and susy jack makes some pretty cool mini cans, already decorated and food-safe:

  3. Simple idea, executed elegantly. Great job! (I love these DIY posts!)

  4. joyce says:

    You can buy empty paint cans at the hardware store.

  5. What a great idea.
    The ribbon adds that extra bit of style.
    I also have to say that the use of color on this page is very tastefully done.

  6. tara says:

    wow what an amazing idea!

  7. So Cute, and that paper is so great!

  8. AshleyL. says:

    great idea! can’t wait till i make one myself :)

  9. Jess says:

    Another project I’ll have to add to my list! I love it!

  10. Jamie says:

    Oh D&L, how I love thee so and everything you make.

  11. Deb says:

    So cute! Great as a hostess gift to fill w/ cookies or brownies! I’m off to buy a paint can haha

  12. Love it, Love it, totally going to do it!!! I have seen this before but this one is so much better!!

    Thanks, Tonia

  13. wish I knew you guys were at Renegade! it would have been cool to meet one of my stores! I was helping out at a friend’s booth

  14. Margo Morgan says:

    Intelligentsia is my husband’s favorite coffee store! It’s a must when you’re in Chicago. And if you buy a bag of beans, they give you a free cup of coffee. Bonus!

  15. Rebecca says:

    How cute would this be with a cheery paper and put on a shelf with flowers?

  16. What a perfect idea!!! Here’s a link to some new “paint cans” that can be used instead of real paint cans.

  17. kate says:

    I actually did this for the centerpieces at my wedding (used the cans as vases for gerbera daisies) and everyone loved it, it added such great color.

  18. Julia says:

    I don’t get it…won’t a used paint can have nasty bits of paint in it? I would never want to put food in something that used to house toxic substances.

  19. Alison says:

    I believe that the original post states “empty” paint can from hardware store. Most hardware and paint stores do sell empty, unused, new paint cans. I wouldn’t be at all worried about using them for storing or gifting dry foods.

  20. Mary says:

    Love this! What a great idea. We have a paint manufacturer in town. I can pick up tons of paint cans for super thrifty!
    I’ve made cans with homemade lavender laundry soap, but this a good holiday gifting idea with coffee.

  21. emilykristin says:

    it’s really darling and i might try it out sometime, but it’s funny to me that it’s causing such a stir! seems like your basic girl scouts/2nd grade project (which doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea).

  22. Gabriela says:

    Don’t you just LOVE Derek and Lauren!? Wednesdays the BEST days of the week! This is so cuuuuute!

  23. Sarah says:

    This is a great idea! I am going to make one for my bathroom to store my hair brushes and a smaller one for my makeup brushes! If you try to make one for your makeup brushes fill the can with rice if you are using a wide mouthed can. :) Thank you!

  24. You may have answered thiss question already..I couldn’t read through all of them…but, when you use it and you want to close it, do you have to hammer like a normal paint can? I can’t see that as being very good at opening and closing..what are you suggestions?

  25. susy says:

    thanks for the shout out, kirsten! : )
    have fun everybody!…this also works well on little tiny tins…using label stock : )

  26. I hope everyone reading this gets to use a new, unused paint can, not an old can cleaned up. The new cans at major home improvement stores would suffice, but I would use any can that had paint stored in it.

  27. Adi says:

    wouldn’t it be extremely hard to open once closed (without a paint can key), and almost as hard to close it without damage?

  28. Kathie says:

    to make it easier to lift the lid up without damage by prying it open, either glue a knob on top with industrial strength glue or nut and bolt a knob to the top.

  29. Tara says:

    Can you elaborate on what kind of decorative paper you used? It looks like you used a roll. Did anyone try it with scrapbook paper?


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