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Tin-Can Caddy

Use old tin cans as a caddy for pens, colored pencils, and other arts supplies. Attached to painted plywood, this organizer makes it easy to transport art supplies anywhere.


  • Tin cans
  • 13-by-6-inch piece of 3/4-inch-thick plywood
  • Drill
  • 1/2 inch screws
  • Sandpaper


  1. Step 1

    To make the handle, have a parent drill 3 overlapping 1-inch holes in the top center of a 13-by-6-inch piece of 3/4-inch-thick plywood.

  2. Step 2

    Sand edges of plywood and paint with latex paint. Crimp rough edges of tin cans if necessary.

  3. Step 3

    Drill a small hole in the side of each can, 3/4 inch from the top; screw 1/2-inch screws from the insides of cans into wood on an angle, aligning tops of cans as shown.

Reviews (21)

  • 12 Apr, 2011

    I photo copy pics, affix to can and cover with clear contact paper. Great for dual purpose of storing and displaying favorite moments or places.

  • 11 Apr, 2011

    I think this is a perfect way to recycle tin cans and scrap lumber. I'm going to paint my cans first cool colors to match different rooms in the house. I bet they'd sell well at a craft bazaar too.

  • 11 Apr, 2011

    @Segway - Yeah, i wasn't impressed initially, but you could use the concept with other items, i.e. decorative tins or baskets; i;m thinking this will be great on my kids' craft table, using some small decorative painted pails i've already picked up for them, and are being used separately and of course misplaced,

  • 12 Dec, 2008

    I love this idea, I am thinking doing the caddy to give as a christmas give to my daughter's kindergarten teacher.

  • 8 Dec, 2008

    I made this for my son's teacher and my practicum teacher. Two screws are better then one, in my opinion. Plus, I used a little bit of super adhesive glue for extra support in case the screws came loose. I love the industrial look.

  • 6 Dec, 2008

    i especially like the cans that have the pull tab tops that i buy soup in. I used contact paper that i lined shelves with to cove them............ i like the idea of making a caddy out of them, i put pens and penciils etc for my desk at work and miscellaneous items in them at home for organizing.............

  • 24 Nov, 2008

    I recycle tin cans but wash out non-recyclable plastic deli containers, Chinese soup containers etc for household use. So I actually can recycle them too. Clear plastic eliminates need for labelling, - and you've got tops if you want to keep what's in them clean.

  • 23 Nov, 2008

    I have used tincans for years now.. To all kind of storing. :O) The cardboardtrick is new to me,, and it seems to be a good idea

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    I just put the cans in an empty cardboard holder from one of our local beers like Fat Tire or Moose Drool (these are real brands here in the Northwest). The artwork is fabulous and amusing and it's a good way to recycle the cardboard container.

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    Donita, you would drill the 3 overlapping 1 inch holes in the plywood to create a carrying handle. In the photo it looks as though the holes are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the top (13 inch) side. Dawn

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    I don't understand #1 - drilling 3 overlapping 1-inch holes in the top center...please clarify - I love the idea but need to get it right...

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    This is a great idea. I use the soup cans all the time

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    I've taken pint ice cream cans from a brand called Sheer Bliss and use them for all my pens and pencils on my desk, reminds me of all their flavors -- sometimes not such a good idea when trying to lose weight, but attractive on the desk!

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    OOPS...that should have been SPAM cans! :)

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    I use small coffee cans covered with leftover wallpaper border for pens, scissors, rulers and things. I currently have a garden scene on my work desk. A bit of nature in an otherwise dreary setting. I also covered span cans in matching great for paper clips, rubber bands, floppy disks, etc. Cut the paper to size, spray the cans with a spray adhesive, attach the paper and you are done!

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    My father always did something similar to this with baby food jars. Imagine the handle at the top of the rectangle of plywood. He would screw the lids down to the wood, and store various odds and ends like nails, screws, nuts, bolts, etc...He also added legs to the wood, so he could carry it if need be.

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    I made this for my preschool class using RTS frosting containers. I painted each a basic colors with color name on each.
    I made desk caddys using 3 different size cans for pencils, etc. and a couple of flat tuna cans for paper clips, etc.. Use your imagination for your different uses.

  • 22 Nov, 2008


  • 22 Nov, 2008

    I like the idea of leaving the plywood solid and adding a drawer pull, that would be easier for most people

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    I think that I would spray pain the cans with a bright enamel pcint or
    an acrylic if you want to be more GREEN in your practices.

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    What a great Idea for silverware and condiments for the patio and picnic table!
    You could also place a drawer pull type handle on the top of the wood.