The Innovative Way To Reuse Old Soup Cans For Customized Kitchen Storage

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There's recycling, and then there's upcycling. If you love the phrase "one person's trash is another person's treasure," or you just like to get creative with household items otherwise destined for the recycle bin, this handy hack is for you. There are several clever ways to reuse soup cans, but turning them into utensil holders will instantly give you extra storage that's easily accessible, and also leaves you feeling good about finding sustainable ways to utilize them. Not only is this project easy, but you can get as creative as you want when it comes to decorating the outside. Whether you want to use decoupage or paint them, there's no limit to how you can upcycle your old soup containers.

However, before getting started it's important to properly rinse out your cans after you've emptied the food out of them completely. If left for too long, bacteria can accumulate and stick to the insides, making them significantly harder to clean. Rinse soup tins thoroughly, using dish soap if necessary to get out all the food remnants. Likewise, let the cans dry completely before working on them. If the top opening is sharp from your can opener, press down the sharp edges with thick pliers so that no one scratches their hands when pulling the utensils out. Go around the entire rim and check for sharp pieces, pinching them flat against the inside of the can with your pliers. And then, get started!

Paint a base to create your palette

If your soup can's paper is easy to remove, carefully pull it off or soak it if it's slightly more stubborn. If this isn't an option, you can always use paint to cover up the graphics on the tin, just make sure to add a layer of metal primer first, so the paint sticks. You can also use gesso, which is similar to acrylic but creates a harder surface great for crafting on. Gesso should only be applied after your metal primer has dried for at least 24 hours, and can be used in place of paint if you want the cans to have a white base. 

If you'd prefer your cans to be uniform, in one, solid color, paint or gesso will easily match them to your décor. If you want to get even more creative, decoupage is always a great option for home décor, and a simple solution for adding prints or designs to your repurposed soup can. Decoupage is just a fancy term for adhering items like stickers or paper cutouts to a hard surface. YouTuber Craft Blooms applied napkin decoupage, which allows you to transfer the print off beloved decorative napkins onto your can by pulling apart the layers to reveal the thinnest top piece before placing it against the tin and covering it in Mod Podge.

Likewise, scrapbooking stickers from your local craft store could also work, just double-check that they can bend enough to sit flush against the rounded exterior. Use Mod Podge to secure these too, or add crafting glue like this Amazon Clear Gel Tacky Glue ($5.71), which dries clear.

Decorate your cans and add utensils

Painting your own designs directly onto the repurposed cans is another option, and could be a fun way to include friends or family in this project. Add a base coat with gesso and white, black, or any other color you prefer, then let everybody create their own works of art on top of it. You could also write out what the can will hold (i.e. forks, knives, etc) on the outside, but this isn't a necessity since the utensils will stick out of the top anyway and be easily identifiable. You can also use these holders for outdoor BBQs since the metal is durable, or keep them inside to build on a farmhouse chic aesthetic. 

No matter how you utilize them, upcycling your recycling sure does feel good and provides a great holder for everyday items. Keep spare cans on hand so you can replace any that get dented or fall into disrepair, especially if they are outdoor utensil holders. This way you will always have spare cans ready to go, and they make for an easy crafting activity whenever you need a little entertainment, too! Who knew soup could provide so many useful purposes (including a stylish wine rack if you have leftover tins)?