A while back, I challenged myself to come up with a cat food tin upcycle idea. And…I drew a blank. However, with Valentine’s day just around the corner, I found the inspiration I was looking for; something small, white, and vintage-inspired.
Are you ready to try my cat food tin upcycle idea?
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link.
- Small cat food tin
- 3/4″ spindle or dowel
- Thin, bendable wire (I used black wire from a roll used to tie rebar)
- 2- wooden beads (optional)
- Air dry clay (I used DAS, but any type will do)
- Your choice of silicone mould
- Tacky glue to attach the mould to the tin
- White paint (I used Fusion Mineral Paint, Victorian Lace)
- Black paint (any paint will do, including craft paint)
- Spray primer
- 5-minute Epoxy
- Hot glue gun & glue sticks
- 150 grit sandpaper for distressing
- Drill & 1/8″ drill bit A corded or a battery drill will work.
1. Getting the tin ready
- Remove the paper from the outside of the cat food tin and remove any glue.
- Wash and dry the tin. I didn’t use tsp, but it’s always a good option for removing grease.
- Before you go any further, take some pliers and squeeze the metal around the top, squishing it together to remove the sharp edges.
2. Prepare the mould for the air-dry clay
I don’t have much experience with air-dry clay, so if you have any tips, that would be wonderful!
- I like to sprinkle a bit of cornstarch into the mould before I begin. This helps it come out easier.
- Work the air-dry clay between your fingers in order to soften it up.
- Press the clay into the mould, then remove any excess from the top, leaving a flat surface.
- Carefully remove the clay from the mould.
- Add tacky glue evenly to the back of the mould and attach it to the cat food tin while it’s still wet. With mine, it seemed to slide when I sat it upright, so I did one side at a time, laying it on its side while the glue set.
- Allow it to dry thoroughly.
3. Spray a clear or white primer all over the tin
Why prime? The primer is because you want the paint to absorb the same way on the different surfaces (air-dry clay and tin and possibly glue that has oozed out).
4. Painting the tin
- Brush on a thin white base coat. Let dry.
- Dry brush black paint (craft paint will work) in random areas, focusing more on the mould and the top and bottom of the tin. Let dry.
- Take an old candle and lightly rub wax randomly all over. This will allow for minimal sanding while showing off the dark paint underneath.
- Paint a solid coat of white over the whole tin. Let dry.
- Lightly sand to distress areas of the tin, exposing the dark colour underneath.
5. Cutting the feet and handle
I used spindles from an old chair for this, but if you don’t have small spindles, a 3/4″ dowel will work.
- Feet: Cut four pieces of dowel or spindle at 1/2″ long.
- Handle: If you’re using a spindle, decide which part to use for the handle and cut it 1 3/4 to 2″ long.
- Handle: Clamp the handle into a vice before you drill.
- Tape the drill bit at 3/4″ in order to have a guide for the depth. Drill a 3/4″ deep hole at each end of the handle.
- Hand sand the feet and handle to remove the sharp edges from the cuts.
6. Adding the handle
Adding a handle is optional. I actually think it would look sweet either way.
- Cut two 7″ lengths of wire.
- Make a mark on each side of the tin for the wire.
- Before drilling a 1/8″ hole, place a wood block inside the tin and hold it tightly to the tin as you drill. This will minimize the sharp edges after drilling.
- Sand any sharp edges after drilling.
- Thread the wire through the first hole, leaving about 1″ extra in order to twist the wire onto itself.
- Add the wooden bead (optional) and push it down until it sits over the wire at the base. Repeat for the second side.
- Before inserting the wires into the handle, trim them to 5″ long.
- Mix a small batch of 5-minute epoxy and add it to the holes in the handle, then add some epoxy to the wire.
- Push the wire into each side until it doesn’t move.
- Use the hot glue gun to help secure the wire on both sides of the handle as well as at the tin.
- Once it’s set, move the wire into a more uniform shape.
7. Add the feet
Before you glue the feet, decide where you want them to sit. You will have a short period of time where you can slide to adjust them before the epoxy sets.
- Mix the 5-minute epoxy as per the instructions it came with.
- Apply an even amount of epoxy to the feet, then press to attach them to the bottom of the tin.
- Allow the epoxy to set before adding the handle.
- Paint the feet, beads and handle.
- I like to add a bit of paint here and there on the wire as well.
- Once dry, lightly distress the handle and beads.
Update: Check out the silver metallic finish! I love how it looks like vintage metal.
Well, my friend, deciding how to use it is the only thing left! I hope you liked my cat food tin upcycle idea. If you’d like to turn it into a faux planter, check out this tutorial for making faux dirt. I don’t know about you, but no sooner am I done with one project, I find myself looking for the next one!