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Cat Food Tin Upcycle Idea

Cat food tin upcyle project. White vintage looking tins with wire and wood handle.

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.

Hi, and welcome! I’m Lisa from The Old Tree Cottage, and I love nothing more than a good upcycle project!

Are you ready to try my cat food tin upcycle idea?

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1. Getting the tin ready

  1. Remove the paper from the outside of the cat food tin and remove any glue.
  2. Wash and dry the tin. I didn’t use tsp, but it’s always a good option for removing grease.
  3. 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!

  1. I like to sprinkle a bit of cornstarch into the mould before I begin. This helps it come out easier.
  2. Work the air-dry clay between your fingers in order to soften it up.
  3. Press the clay into the mould, then remove any excess from the top, leaving a flat surface.
  4. Carefully remove the clay from the mould.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

  1. Brush on a thin white base coat. Let dry.
  2. 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.
  3. Take an old candle and lightly rub wax randomly all over. This will allow for minimal sanding while showing off the dark paint underneath.
  4. Paint a solid coat of white over the whole tin. Let dry.
  5. 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.

  1. Feet: Cut four pieces of dowel or spindle at 1/2″ long.
  2. Handle: If you’re using a spindle, decide which part to use for the handle and cut it 1 3/4 to 2″ long.
  3. Handle: Clamp the handle into a vice before you drill.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. Cut two 7″ lengths of wire.
  2. Make a mark on each side of the tin for the wire.
  3. 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.
  4. Sand any sharp edges after drilling.
  5. Thread the wire through the first hole, leaving about 1″ extra in order to twist the wire onto itself.
  6. Add the wooden bead (optional) and push it down until it sits over the wire at the base. Repeat for the second side.
  7. Before inserting the wires into the handle, trim them to 5″ long.
  8. Mix a small batch of 5-minute epoxy and add it to the holes in the handle, then add some epoxy to the wire.
  9. Push the wire into each side until it doesn’t move.
  10. Use the hot glue gun to help secure the wire on both sides of the handle as well as at the tin.
  11. 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.

  1. Mix the 5-minute epoxy as per the instructions it came with.
  2. Apply an even amount of epoxy to the feet, then press to attach them to the bottom of the tin.
  3. Allow the epoxy to set before adding the handle.

Finishing up

  • 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!

2 thoughts on “Cat Food Tin Upcycle Idea”

  1. 1. I bought can opener that cuts lid off the can that doesn’t leave a sharp edge. It keeps the lids safe to use without sharp edges too.

    2. Use a hot glue gun to make designs on the can, then paint after it’s dry.

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