Additional Information

Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...

Blog

Zero Waste Week - 3 Ways to Upcycle Paint Tin Cans

Posted by Celtic Sustainables on

If we have delivered a product to you, you will know that we have a packaging web page that talks about the packaging materials we use to get the item safely to you and how you can recycle it. What about the container the product comes in though? Here are 3 awesome ways you can upcycle or reuse empty paint tin cans.

Ways to Upcycle Paint Tins

Paint Tin Tester Pots make Handy Storage Containers

We have a lot of Farrow & Ball tester tins in the old brand style (they were part of a marketing display). We just couldn't stand the idea of putting them into the recycling stream. 

These little paint sample pots have gradually been appearing on our office desks as handy storage containers. I suspect a few will end up in the warehouse  too (sometimes it feels like a bit of a man cave out there) for storing random (but useful) nails, nuts, washers and bolts - general garage workshop type things.

We could of course paint the tins, but at the moment we like the retro look of these paint tester pots tidying up little items.

Upcycled Plant Pots from Empty Paint Tins


(Colour: Earthborn Peach Baby)

A very pretty way to use up left over paint and to upcycle the paint tin at the same time is to paint the last bits of paint over the outside of the tin and to make a decorative plant pot. Here the clever people at Earthborn have upcycled empty tester paint pots to make plant pots. 

You will need:

  • Empty paint tin, and if not empty an airtight container to decant the left-over paint into
  • Paint brush
  • Compost (the best type of compost/grit for your plant)
  • Plant(s)

How to make a paint tin planter:

  1. Empty your left-over paints into airtight separate containers
  2. Remove any labels
  3. Wash the used steel tins with appropriate cleaning materials
  4. Paint a unique collection of pots*
  5. Leave to dry overnight
  6. Fill with a mix of quality compost and a bit of grit for drainage
  7. They’re now ready to house your favourite plants!

*Some paints will stick to the metal better than others, so experiment a little first.

If you are concerned that the your plant may not have enough drainage in these upcycled plant pots, then you can put some holes in the bottom of the tin and use a plant tray under your pot. 

If you are concerned that the steel pot will go rusty over time, do as we have done in the office here and put the entire pot in another container (in our instance an empty peanut butter container - labels removed) so that any rust spots won't show.

DecorativeTealight (or Votive) Candle Holder

We wondered how easy it would be to turn a paint tin can into a decorative tealight holder so we gave it a try. It turns out it's really quite easy! The metal for a paint tin is thicker than a food tin can (that you may have seen votive candle holder instructions for online), but the principles are the same.

You will need:

  • Empty paint tin(s), and if not empty an airtight container to decant the left-over paint into
  • Hammer
  • Nail(s)
  • Pliers (just incase)
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Tealights
  • Lighter

How to make a paint tin decorative tealight (or votive) candle holder:

  1. Empty your left-over paints into airtight separate containers
  2. Remove any labels
  3. Wash the used steel tins with appropriate cleaning materials
  4. Work out your design
  5. Carefully hit nail against (and into) the tin. Tip: A range of nail diameters will give different sized holes.
  6. Complete you design (don't worry if the tin dents)
  7. Use the handle end of an old wooden spoon to push the tin back into shape (from the inside)

Other ideas for using up left over paint

Inspiration about what else to do with left over paint and how to dispose of paint responsibly can be found on this blog post: What to do with leftover Paint

You might also find this blog post interesting: 6 Thrifty Uses for Leftover Insulation.

What to do with Leftover Paint

So you've finished your decorating project and have some leftover paint, what to do next? In this blog post we give you the best advice on how to store paint, what to do when you open a tin of old paint and it looks wrong, where you can donate half used tins of paint in [...]

Read More »


Indoor Air Quality: Paints, Products & Plants

Indoor Air Quality is something that affects us all. People in the UK spend on average over 90% of their time indoors (according to a survey by Ribble Cyclists from 2017). In June this year, the National Insitutue for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) produced new draft guidance to urge local authorities and the public [...]

Read More »


Natural Building: Round Timber Frame Construction with Ty Pren

Over the last few months we have been excited to see a roundwood timber frame building being constructed in Cardigan. You see, our local Community Forest Garden is relocating. Having outgrown (sorry for the pun) it’s original site in St Dogmaels, Alpay and his team of volunteers for Naturewise are starting afresh just along the [...]

Read More »


Pink Fence Paint Anyone? Mixing outdoor wood paint colours

We are often asked if we sell pink outdoor paint for sheds, playhouses and fences. The answer is yes! We have several environmentally friendly options for you.  Which exterior wood paint brand you decide to go for is guided primarily by whether the wood has been painted before (and if yes, whether you are prepared to [...]

Read More »


Eco Outdoor Wall Paints - Quick Guide

Environmentally friendly exterior masonry paint. Whether you are looking to waterproof a wall or need a breathable outdoor wall paint we have a solution for you in a colour you'll love. This guide is intended as a quick reference only. Please always read datasheets and instructions before applying (and preferably before purchasing!). If in any doubt [...]

Read More »


Making Egg Tempera Paint with Dry Pigments

Tempera paint, which is commonly referred to as Egg Tempera is a fast drying paint, was the primary method of painting until oil paint became more popular during the 15th Century. Egg Tempera is made by mixing dry pigments with a water-soluble binder such as egg yolk. Egg tempera is a very long lasting paint medium [...]

Read More »


MI Free products that can make life easier for MI Allergy sufferers

All about MI, MIT and MCI & some suggestions for MI Free products that can make life easier for MI Allergy sufferers. With allergies in general on the increase these days, more and more people are finding that they’re intolerant to products that contain MI and MCI. But what are they and what can you do [...]

Read More »


5 reasons to choose SupaSoft recycled plastic insulation

It’s made of recycled plastic bottles* Great insulation value (U Value)** It’s non itch loft insulation It’s soft, easy to handle and contains no harmful chemicals It’s manufactured in the UK * Did you know that our SupaSoft Insulation is made of recycled plastic bottles!  Plastic bottles made of single use plastic is in the news a lot nowadays. You may [...]

Read More »


Eco Outdoor Wood Paints - Quick Guide

This eco outdoor wood finish guide is intended as a quick reference only. Please always read datasheets and instructions before applying (and preferably before purchasing!). If in any doubt at all about what eco outside wood finish you could use on your project, please do contact us. We are always happy to help. For the [...]

Read More »