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How to Make Paint Can Candles and Other Paint Can Crafts

3 simple tutorials for upcycling your leftover paint cans. From paint can candles, to garden planters for your home.

We’ve heard a lot of buzzwords being thrown around lately, things like “cottagecore”, or “farmhouse chic” have become super popular aesthetics. Honestly, we’re in full support of the movement. Mason jars, empty paint cans, and unique glassware all fit in perfectly with the rustic style, and Jar Store is happy to offer containers that fit the bill.

It can be really easy to deck out your home in this modern farmhouse style, using nothing more than some simple containers that you may already have. Empty paint cans and glass jars can be upcycled, to transform from regular old containers to something new and beautiful. Today, we’ll explain how you can make candles in your old paint cans, as well as a couple of other easy crafts that you can make with your old containers.

How to Make a Candle in a Paint Can

If you’re an artist, crafter, or small business owner, you’re likely to have a lot of empty paint cans laying around. Want to do something nice with them? Try making candles in them! If glass jars don’t quite match the aesthetic that you’re looking for, maybe a simple tin paint can will. Luckily, the process is pretty simple. Let’s break down the steps and supplies…

Supplies you’ll need

The supplies are very simple, and not much different from a
normal glass candle. If you’ve ever crafted your own candles before, you should
already know what to expect!

  • 1 pint paint can tins
  • Candle wax – Either soy wax, bees wax, or even recycled from another candle (your choice!)
  • Wicks
  • Glue
  • Fragrance oil
  • A pencil long enough to lay over the top of your paint can
  • A pot
  • A stainless steel bowl

How to make paint can candles

Just like the supplies, the process of making a candle in a paint can is very similar to making it in a glass jar. We’ll give a simple run-down of the process.

  1. Glue your wick to the bottom of the can, as close to the center as you can get it, and wait for the glue to dry
  2. Place your pencil over the top of the paint can, and wrap the wick around the pencil so the wick stands up straight, with only a bit of slack
  3. Place your pot on the stove and heat a few cups of water inside until it is simmering
  4. Place your stainless steel bowl over the top of the pot, so the heat from the water transfers to the bowl, creating a double boiler
  5. Melt your wax in the double boiler, allowing it to liquefy but not burn
  6. Once your wax is liquefied, carefully pour the hot wax into the paint can, leaving a bit of space at the top for your fragrance oil
  7. Add about 1.5 oz of fragrance oil
    1. Certain fragrance oils are stronger than others, but you’ll typically require 1/10th of the weight of the wax that you’re using. This tutorial is assuming that you’re using our 16 oz paint can tins.
  8. Gently stir the wax to incorporate the fragrance oil
  9. Lightly tap the bottoms of the paint cans on a flat surface to pop any air bubbles that may have formed while you were stirring
  10. Allow the wax to set and harden for at least four hours at room temperature
  11. Cut your wick just above the top of the wax, leaving about a centimeter of wick sticking out
  12. Light your wick and enjoy your rustic paint can candles!

Still got leftover paint cans, and a hankering for some crafts? Here are a couple more fun ideas that can add a little extra flair to your space!

How to Make Tin Can Lanterns

Brighten up your patio or workshop with some custom paint can lanterns! It only requires a few supplies, and you can make these in less than an hour. Here’s how you can make tin can lanterns in your garage…

Supplies you'll need

  • Permanent marker
  • Hammer & nails
  • High-grit sandpaper
  • Tea lights (Electric or flame)
  • Glue
  • Spray paint in your choice of colors
  • 1 pint paint can tins
tin lantern craft

Steps to make tin can lanterns

  1. Using your marker, make dots on your paint cans to draw a pattern that you like
    1. Your pattern can be as simple as straight lines, or as complex as a name. Simpler patterns will be easier, but if you’re willing to put forth the time and effort, more complex patterns can turn out really cool!
  2. Drive nails through the paint can on the spots that you marked, you’ll be punching holes on each of the dots.
    1. After punching each nail through, remove it
  3. Using your sandpaper, carefully and lightly file each hole to remove any metal burrs or sharp points. Don’t file for too long, or you’ll end up with sharper holes. The goal here is to just remove any snags.
  4. Make a small dot of hot glue or superglue inside of the can, in the center
  5. Place your tea light on the dot of glue
  6. Paint your new lanterns however you like!

These festive punched-can lanterns are great as decorative pieces. They emit a nice, dim light that works well to provide a comfortable atmosphere. Create different size shapes for different feels. 

How to Make Paint Can Garden Planters

This may be the easiest craft in the list, but we think it’s also a contender for the cutest one. If you’ve got small plants or seedlings, letting them grow up a bit in a paint can is an excellent way to provide some greenery to your space, without sacrificing your aesthetic.

Both for indoors and outdoors, you can follow this guide to make your own paint can garden planters…

Supplies you'll need

  • Soil
  • Seeds or small plants
  • 1 pint paint can tins
  • Pastel paints (Optional)
  • Screws or fasteners (Optional)
  • A drill (Optional)
  • , ,

    $1.75 Add to cart

Steps to make paint can garden planters

In just a few steps, you can give your seedlings a brand new, adorable home that works well in your garden, on your desk, or out on your patio where there’s a little extra sunlight.

  1. (Optional) Paint your tin cans using your pastel paints first, and allow the paint to completely dry before moving on to step 2
  2. (Optional) If you’re choosing to fasten these planters onto a fence in your backyard, punch a small hole in the side of the paint can, just like how we did in the lantern craft
  3. (Optional) Place your screw or fastener into the hole you’ve punched
  4. (Optional) Use your drill to secure the paint can to your fence
  5. Fill the paint cans with soil
  6. Using your finger, create a small divot for your seedling to snuggle into
  7. Place the seedling inside of the divot
  8. Care for your plant and watch it grow in its new paint can home!
colorful flowers in paint cans

Did you follow along with our craft ideas? Share them with us on social media!

We feel incredibly fulfilled when people follow along with our crafts, so show us some pics! Tag us on Instagram, @ us on Facebook, or post your images on Pinterest and let us know!

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