Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DIY "Soup Can" Studio Organization (Part I )

SO! I have been procrastinating with this post because I haven't gotten this project done. I figured splitting it up wouldn't be a bad idea since I haven't quite figured out how I'm mounting my cans yet. It doesn't matter too much because I'm not finished collecting and painting them. Here's what I've been up to so far:

You're going to want to start out with some (clean!) cans. The clean part might seem obvious, but if there's any residue left in or on the cans (from the label glue for example) it will leave a bumpy mess on parts of your can. If you're like me and you don't care too much about having a bumpy patch, by all means spray right over it. I'm planning on mounting my cans with the glue parts facing in so you won't see the bumps anyway (I hope). I thought about using a glue gun to polka-dot my cans and leave intentional bumps to be sprayed over, but I didn't get around to it.

I'm using a dog and cat food can, but a variety of sizes would lend a more interesting look and can store other objects than just the writing utensils and paint brushes I'm planning on using them for. Coffee cans would be great for wool I think!

If you're having trouble getting the glue off your cans, a dab of peanut butter spread over the sticky areas works wonders. Let it sit overnight or longer, and wash with warm soapy water. If you're allergic to peanut butter, oils should work too. The only oil I've tried so far is olive oil and it took longer than the peanut butter, but still did the trick. Boiling water sometimes melts the glue off, or you could always go with a commercial residue remover like Goo Gone. I just like keeping things as natural and simple as possible. (If you have any other ways of removing sticky residue let me know!)

Once again I'm using Krylon's "Pistachio" Spray Paint. I am in love with this colour, and it dries really quickly. You can do your second coat after 10 minutes. Just make sure to do it within an hour or else you're have to wait 24 hours for it to fully dry and cure before adding another coat. If you do it after an hour this might happen. Not fun. Every brand is different of course, so remember to read your can!

I know I'm just sounding naggy now, but please do this in a super well ventilated area, preferably outside. And cover up anything important around you. Wind will take the spray and paint things that have no business being painted. Yes, this is spoken from experience. Yes this is also common sense but I have made this mistake and I'm half hoping I'm not the only one who would do it. Gloves are a good an excellent idea if you want to avoid morphing into a smurf or something worse, as is a mask or bandanna to cover your nose and mouth. If you do get paint on your skin, nail polish remover should take it off, but mineral spirits work best. Soap doesn't do much of anything. 

Spray your cans in short strokes, overlapping each stroke as you move around the can to get an even coverage. I find it easiest to stick a gloved hand inside the can and spray from the mouth of the can to the bottom, rotating as I go. Hold the can several inches away when spraying. If you get too close too much paint will be on the metal and it will run and leave streaks when drying. Once you've covered your can, set it upright to dry for ten minutes. If you're adding another coat, do it within 10-60 minutes.

I left my cans out overnight to dry
To spray the inside, I left my cans upright and sprayed in, rotating the cans as I went. I might spray the inside a different colour to make things more interesting if I ever do this project again.

And that's all for now! Let your cans dry for 24 hours and you're good to go. I finished mine off with a clear varnish spray from Krylon just for some extra protection, but that's definitely optional. Enjoy your pretty recycled storage!

I discovered that in the inspiration shot I found, each can is nailed into the wall individually, but that isn't going to fly in my apartment. I'm planning on mounting mine on some kind of board so I can just stick one nail in the wall (or better yet, prop it up on a table against the wall). Stick around for my post on that!

Stay Scary,


  1. I'm excited to see the final product!

  2. awesome :D they look so pretty. can't wait to see what you do with them~


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