Sunday, March 29, 2020

let's make a tin can luminary

Hello! I hope everyone is hanging in there. I have another project to share today, continuing with the tin can theme since chances are good you have one available. For this series of "let's make" projects, I'm aiming for supplies you already have at home. 

You will need
Paint, brush (optional)
Tin Can

Once again, I like a flip-top soup can for this project but most any medium to large sized will do. Friendly reminder, if you use a can that required opening, be sure to hammer or tamp down sharp points. Make sure the can is clean and dry. I generally peel off labels and run through the dishwasher but a good soak and rinse is just fine.

Draw, Fill + Freeze
Draw a simple shape such as a heart on one or both sides of the can. Fill the empty can almost to the top with water and place in the freezer for a couple of hours – you want the water inside to just-freeze as leaving the can in the freezer for an extended period of time can cause the bottom to expand and warp, making it unsteady as a fixture and we want the base to remain flat.

Channel Your Inner Flintstone
Prepare a sturdy surface (even the floor) where you can hammer a pattern into the can; nesting the can in a thick towel works well. Following the shape you have drawn, gently hammer holes in the pattern, leaving a small space between each, essentially creating a dotted line. Too complicated? Just make random holes, it will still look cool!

Work carefully and quickly to make all the holes before the ice melts. If you plan to hang your luminary, make two holes toward the top of the can on either side so you can attach a handle. When all the hammering is completed, drain and dry the can.

Finishing Touches
Paint the exterior of the can (with heat-safe paint) if you wish but it’s not necessary. If you want to hang your luminary, thread a sturdy piece of wire through and fasten well either by bending or tying. Pro-tip: The handle from a Chinese food take-out carton makes a good hanger!


Place a votive inside (I prefer battery operated over an actual candle) and enjoy when the sun goes down!

Happy tinkering + please stay safe at home + well!


Project photo and illustration: Seaside Tinkered Treasures, CICO Books. 
Back story blog post.

Show me your projects by tagging #tinkeredtreasures or #tinkereverything on Instagram

Sunday, March 22, 2020

let's decorate a tin can

Hello! I hope everyone is doing well! No need to read three to four paragraphs before we get started. Let's tinker a can! This is a project that I've been doing for a long time. It's simple and doesn't require many supplies and chances are good that you have an empty can just waiting in your recycling bin. Use your completed project to hold flowers, pencils, and more!

You will need:
Foam paint brush
Glue pen
Glue stick
Image on paper
Mod Podge
Tin can
This series is from my archives and is kind of backwards! 
Start at bottom-right, and keep going right until you get to the top-left.

Progresso soup cans are great for this project because they have flip-top lids which don't leave behind jagged edges. If you do use a can that required opening, be sure to hammer or tamp down sharp points or even cover them over with electrical tape. Make sure the can is clean and dry. I generally peel off labels and run through the dishwasher but a good soak and rinse should do the trick.

What kind of paint do you have? If you have acrylic craft paint or even leftover house interior paint, apply to the can exterior with a brush. If you're using spray paint, be sure to use outdoors on a still day. No paint? Wrap the can with paper! See Paper Collage variation further below.

I generally download or scan floral fabrics or wallpaper, then enlarge my favorite part, and print out. Next, carefully trim with scissors. Apply glue stick to the back of your cut-out and press on to the can. Seal image with a light coat or two of Mod Podge on a dry foam brush. Allow to dry. No patience for this part? Find a nice sticker.

Use a glue pen to draw fine lines where you will sprinkle glitter – one color at a time.


That time Matthew Mead photographed a tinkered can

The back cover of Tinkered Treasures

Paper collage variation

Happy tinkering + please stay safe at home + well!


Show me your projects by tagging #tinkeredtreasures or #tinkereverything on Instagram

Saturday, March 21, 2020

let's make things


If this is your first visit, I'm Elyse. I started this blog, initially called "cottage" in August of 2008. At the time, this was the extent of social media for me but I took to blogging quickly as I thought of this space as my own little magazine – a place to share about the craft and DIY home projects I was doing and play at writing in what I called "magazine-ese" style (that succinct writing used in captions). Before long I had this lovely group of online friends near and far. We all found each other somehow, sharing our love for vintage cupcake ballerinas and floral prints. Soon with the encouragement of many, I was selling on Etsy, did a couple of craft fairs, and was submitting tutorial ideas and pitching stories to my favorite magazines. Once I saw my first piece in print – I had the bug, that publishing bug – and it hasn't let up since. Fast-forward, I have written two craft books, co-authored a book of IKEA hacks, have contributed many articles and projects to magazines, even made friends with some of the editors I idolize. Today, I'm the editor-in-chief of a family of Rhode Island magazines. So why all the exposition? I plan to begin blogging again and want to introduce myself. Now, more than ever, I think people want to create things and all of my projects have humble beginnings – a soup can, scraps of paper and fabric, leftover paint. Starting soon I will blog easy step-by-step projects. This isn't a fancy website, I'm not doing YouTube videos, I don't have any sponsors. It's just me, paper, scissors, and glue, hoping to share some creativity and beauty for your little corner of the world.