Guest blogger series | Painted Tin Can Planters

by Admin on 19/09/2011

in Guest blog series2 2011, Kids Crafts

Kate lives on ten acres of weeds called The Pickle Farm with her husband, four kids, two guinea pigs and numerous chooks. Before having her children Kate was a preschool teacher with a passion for art and natural play areas. These days she blogs at about parenting, activities for kids, gardening, family food and whatever else that pops into her head.

Painted Tin Can Planters – A child friendly project.

My big kids love to create. As a preschool teacher and a parent I know that it is important for my kids to have lots of uninterrupted time to explore and simply make art. To make, paint, build and draw with no rules and no pre-determined outcome or product.

Occasionally our projects do have a set goal in mind though, especially when we are creating gifts, which we love to do. When I think of these kinds of craft projects I still try to make sure the project is ‘open-ended’ enough to allow the children to create without too many boundaries. The project needs to be simple enough for our four year old to take part in (and soon the baby will want to join in too) and it needs to allow for individual creativity, I am not looking for carbon copies or a product that looks exactly like the one in the book or on the web page.

It was with these ideas in mind that we began our recent project to make a thank you gift for a friend – painted tin can planters.

Over a number of days we collected tin cans in various sizes.

  • It was the four-year-old’s job to remove the labels from the cans, wash and dry them so they would be ready to paint.
  • Our seven year old twins used a large nail and hammer to punch holes in the bottom of the cans for drainage.

When we had a good selection of cans ready to go we collected our art materials.

  • We used small sample pots of water based interior paint, a variety of brushes and sponge brushes, and some water to wash our brushes.
  • You’ll also need to cover your work surface, wear an apron or smock, and grab a few old rags for cleaning up along the way, this project got pretty messy!

The kids had a fabulous time painting the tins, and so did I!

The project was easy enough for my four year old to do with very little help and open enough for everyone to really let their creative juices run wild. We each chose a slightly different approach, and decorated our tins in different ways, with fabulous, individual results.

After leaving the tins to dry for a day we carefully replanted some of our spring flowering daffodils into a can or two ready to be given as a gift.

Printable gift cards

Instead of a gift card I created some printable ‘Thank You Flowers’. You can download the printable flowers here [PDF download]. Print them out, cut out the flowers and stick them to an icy-pole stick of wooden skewer, pop them in a pot plant, or bunch of flowers for an extra special thank you. They’d also make nice little gift tags with a hole punched in the corner.


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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christy September 19, 2011 at 6:42 am

very cute!!!


2 Eddie September 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

This is such a great idea. But I am wondering because I have tried decorating tin cans myself. How did you remove the sharp edge inside the top of the tin can?


3 katepickle September 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Our can opener must work differently as our cans don’t have a sharp edge once you open then. Perhaps try a different can opener??


4 Selena September 23, 2011 at 5:32 am

Great idea!


5 sharon June 13, 2012 at 9:34 am

Is tempera paint ok or is acrylic best?


6 kath_red June 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I think any paint would be ok – tempura is thinner though – so you wouldn’t get that solid coverage.


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