12 Smart Ways To Repurpose Old Popcorn Tins Around The House

According to data from the United States Census Bureau, Americans consume around 14 billion quarts of popcorn each year. Because of this unique treat's popularity, it's no surprise that you'll find it being sold as a part of a school fundraiser or adorning the shelves of your favorite candy store. Whether you're more of a fan of classic savory flavors like butter, cheese, and herb, or you're a loyalist to sweet coatings like caramel, toffee, and colorful fruity mixes, it's likely that you've been left in a situation where you had a large, empty popcorn tin on hand and seemingly nothing to use it for.

Thankfully, however, the unique size, shape, and material of these containers make them much more useful for upcycling than some of the other food packaging you're likely familiar with. Most of these tins are made of metal, which makes them much more durable than something made of cardboard or flimsy plastic. They're also typically much larger than the tins that would hold cookies or nuts and usually come with a well-fitted lid that can be added or removed as necessary for your project. With a bit of creativity — and possibly a coat of paint if you're not a fan of the brand's vibrant logo — you can easily transform any popcorn tins you have on hand into something you'll actually use.

Trash can

If you have a popcorn tin that's a bit taller than it is wide, consider turning it into a small trash can for your living room, bathroom, or office. If you like the pattern on the outside, all you need to do is ensure that everything is cleaned out and add a trash bag. But if the design isn't really meshing with your interior design style, try giving it a fresh coat of paint. Start off with spray paint primer or gesso to cover the existing design, then apply your desired color. You can even try your hand at painting on designs if you're feeling creative. 

Storage ottoman

If you live in a smaller apartment or are working on cutting down the amount of clutter around your space, creating secret storage is a fantastic idea. With a bit of fabric and cushioning, a popcorn tin can easily be transformed into a small storage ottoman. Cover the tin in paint or your fabric of choice, then add a layer of batting or foam to the lid and cover to create a more comfortable seat. This mini ottoman is perfect to keep by your front door or by your closet to act as a convenient seat when putting on and taking off your shoes.


Just about everything can be turned into a planter with a bit of effort, but popcorn tins are a prime candidate for this transformation. If you're a fan of the tin's design, simply fill it with soil and your plant, but if you want a new look, you can easily coat your tin in paint or contact paper to conceal the pattern. Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom of the tin to help prevent root rot, then place the lid of the tin under the planter to create a reservoir if you're worried about water dripping on your floor.

Pet kibble container

Kibble is an incredibly simple and mess-free way to ensure your pet gets all of the nutrients they need from their food, but what many people don't know is that dry food needs to be properly stored to prevent it from going stale. When kibble is exposed to the open air, it can absorb moisture, degrade more quickly, and even become contaminated with bacteria. To prevent this, store the food in a sealed container, like a popcorn tin, and make sure you fully close the lid each time you go to feed your pet so it stays fresh for as long as possible.

Kitchen canisters

Similarly to pet food, dry goods used in the kitchen are best kept sealed to prevent them from going stale and encountering any unwelcome visitors, like weevils. Most containers used for storing coffee or sugar are smaller than a popcorn tin, but larger tins can be helpful if you prefer to buy your dry goods in bulk. Large bags of rice or flour can be dumped into a popcorn bin and stored on the shelf, or they can simply be placed inside while still in the bag if you're looking for an extra layer of protection and organization.

Gift wrap

It's not uncommon to receive gourmet popcorn as a special treat around the holidays, but the tins can easily be reused to give a myriad of other gifts, too. Many popcorn tins are already decorated with festive designs, so they make the perfect base for a present if you're looking to do minimal wrapping. Fill the tin with freshly baked treats, create a gift basket of self-care goods like bath bombs and candles, or gather all the necessary ingredients for the recipient to make their favorite cocktail. The possibilities are endless! After you're done, simply pop on a bow and a gift tag to finish everything off.

Jack-o-lantern decoration

To create a seasonal jack-o-lantern decoration that doesn't require you to scoop out pumpkin guts, consider using a popcorn tin as your base. Mark off your jack-o-lantern's face on the metal, then use a drill or saw to cut it out. Paint the tin or cover it with contact paper, and you have a spooky display piece that you can use year after year. Because the tin is made of metal, you can also place a real candle inside to illuminate the jack-o-lantern's face, but a faux one or string of LED lights will work just as well if you have them on hand.

Small toy storage

A popcorn tin might be too small to use as a full-on toy chest, but it's a great organizational option if you need something to store your child's smaller toys and keep them in one place. Blocks, doll clothes, toy cars, and fidgets can find a home in a popcorn tin and be more easily stowed away on a shelf, under the bed, or in a larger toy box, and the included lid will ensure that accidental spills stay at a minimum. If you're feeling crafty, decorating a popcorn tin can also make for a fun activity to share with your child.

Store crafting supplies

Smaller containers like mason jars are a great option for storing smaller craft supplies like sequins, pom-poms, beads, and buttons, but larger items need a larger container. As it turns out, popcorn tins are the perfect fit for the job. Use them to stow away your collection of yarn, scrap fabric, crayons, markers, or even tubes of paint. If you have multiple tins of the same size, you can even stack them to make use of all of the possible vertical space at your crafting station — just make sure you properly label them to ensure you don't have to struggle to find what you're looking for.

Plastic bag storage

Forgoing plastic bags at the grocery store in favor of something reusable is obviously the most eco-friendly option out there, but if you find yourself with a collection of them once you get home, it's much more green to reuse them rather than trashing them straight away. Instead of just stuffing them all into a bag, consider using an old popcorn tin to hold your extra plastic bags. This way, you'll be able to store more without having to worry about them expanding and flying everywhere. You can even cut a hole in the lid to more easily dispense the bags if you have the tools available.

Hold coffee pods

Pod-based coffee machines like the Keurig and Nescafe make the process of getting your morning caffeine fix so much simpler than if you were to work with loose grounds, but there's a caveat when it comes to storage. Putting the box of pods on your counter isn't the worst idea, but if you like to try out different flavors, you'll likely be left with a cluttered mess. Instead, keep your pods in a popcorn tin. The tin will decrease visual clutter and allow you to store a large variety of options, and the lid will help to seal in the smell and keep them from going stale.

DIY lampshade

When you think about it, the average lampshade and average popcorn tin are quite similar in both size and shape. Because of this, if you're looking to make your own lampshade, you're in luck. Give your popcorn tin a coat of primer and paint in your desired color, then drill a hole into the top to fit it onto your existing lamp base. Because the bottom is still on the tin and the metal is opaque, the light will only shine out of the bottom of the shade, but this is great if you want a diffused glow rather than a bright light from your lamp.