Making a Fancy Trash Can from a Holiday Popcorn Tin

The popcorn never tastes fresh and the flavors are questionable at best but somehow I’m still suckered into buying one of those holiday popcorn tins every year. At least I’ve learned to buy them after the holidays are done and the price drops by 50%. It still means I’m paying more than it’s worth but at least I feel like I’m getting a bargain.

The flimsy cardboard divider loosely separates the popcorn into three designated flavor sections: butter, cheese, and caramel. The cardboard never really keeps the actual popcorn flavors fully separated so in the end you get a generic blend of semi-identifiable flavors with each stale bite. Yet still, I can somehow get through the caramel section in its entirety in one sitting. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe I’m just too attached to junk food.

Either way, turning the popcorn tin into a trash bin seemed like a fitting end to this holiday tradition.

The Project

In my “maybe someday” project stash, I had some woven rattan ribbon bought years ago at a yard sale. I didn’t have a particular project in mind for the ribbon but loved the texture. I watch way too many home renovation shows and at some point in every episode they always mention what nice texture something brings to the room. This was my texture moment so I decided to go with a whimsical cottage look for my trash bin and finally use that ribbon.

I washed the tin and sanded it down before priming. I use Zinsser’s Bulls Eye Zero primer which has worked well for me on my various projects through the years. I like that it has no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). I then looked through my stash of paint and found a paint sample in sea foam green that matched the aesthetic. I put two coats of paint on the exterior of the tin and cover.

I did this project over the winter in Maine otherwise I would have spray painted the can instead of hand priming and painting but spray paint and cold temperatures don’t mix.

I wrapped the ribbon in rows around the tin using the natural seam in the back of the can as my starting and ending point for each row. Originally, I tried using regular white glue to attach the ribbon but it didn’t hold it in place well enough while it was drying so I used my glue gun instead. After cleaning up the glue wisps left behind from this second method, I applied a layer of water based polyurethane to the outside to protect the ribbon and reinforce adherence.

I attached my ribbon all the way to the top edge of the can which meant the cover would not be able to attach firmly to the base. I could have just stopped the ribbon below where the top is designed to snap onto the can but I preferred the ribbon going all the way to the top. I don’t mind that the top rests in place instead of attaching tightly. It’s not like it needs to be airtight to keep popcorn fresh anymore.

The Cover

More important than a secure fit was that my trash can be cottage chic and my plain green top needed some embellishment. I have some leather straps also purchased long ago at a long forgotten yard sale. I cut the leather in half and made a hole on each end using my scrapbooking eyelet tool. My husband then drilled corresponding holes in the tin cover and I attached the leather with some antique brads. I glued the brad underneath for extra stability and then glued an old brown shoelace along each outer edge of the handle to add more texture.

It’s all about the texture on this project.

Having been a memory keeper now for almost twenty five years, my stash of supplies is fairly deep which makes finding those final touches fun. I pulled out some white floral rub-ons that had green gem accents and rubbed them randomly around the top. It added that extra flair the trash can needed.

While I didn’t have a particular place in mind for this trash can when I started the project, before I was even finished my oldest daughter claimed it for her room so now it has a happy home and I can feel less guilty about buying that ridiculous popcorn tin even if it was 50% off.

Why this project?

I’m posting a series of creative reuse, or upcycling, projects that I’ve completed in honor of Earth Day (April 22nd). I love crafting and finding ways to reuse rather than dispose of items is a fun, creative challenge. Watch for a few other repurposed projects on my blog this month.

WIM Signature

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8 thoughts on “Making a Fancy Trash Can from a Holiday Popcorn Tin

  1. Antoinette Truglio Martin says:

    I use to get those popcorn cans as teacher gifts. Apreciated until I had to do something with them, feeleing guilty to simply thrw them away. Several are Christmas storage bins. I really like the idea that you can paint them and wrap with a textured ribbon. Very shaggy chic.

    Liked by 1 person

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