How to Make Vintage Cans

I just learned a new process from Cynthia, that I am in love with.
Do you love old rusty metal cans as much as I do?
I love the look but don’t really love the idea of not knowing where said cans have been
(or what might have been in or on them).
Well, I’m going to show you how you can get the look using new metal cans.

Aren’t these awesome? I love how they turned out.
None of them are the same. Which is totally perfect for the rusted metal can look.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:
Cans (these are #10 cans from any LDS cannery for only .75 cents each)
Plum Brown Barrel Finish (found at any sporting goods store which sells gun supplies)
Cleaner/Degreaser (found next to the Plum Brown)
Rag (to apply the cleaner)
Brush (to apply the plum brown)

Apply the cleaner/degreaser to the can using a rag. I only used it on the outside of the can.
It gets fingerprints and other spots clean so the Plum Brown can work it’s magic.
I didn’t have gloves on at first but decided to wear them after I read the labels.
I would recommend wearing gloves.

I applied the Plum Brown with a toothbrush. Just dip it in the bottle and brush it on the can.
I brush it on top to bottom, not side to side. It didn’t seem to go on as well that way.
I did it over the sink and wore an apron just in case it got a little messy.

Then place it on your burner over medium heat for about 20 seconds.
I’m sure it will be different for every stove so leave it on till it starts turning rusty
then turn it over and put it back on for about 10 more seconds.
I used kitchen tongs to turn it over. Don’t touch it because it’s very hot.
I placed the cans on hot pads to cool down. It only takes about a minute.
My stove got a little messy but it was easy to clean up with a little scrubbing.

Check out their rusty goodness. Let’s see, that’s 6 cans down and about 20 some to go.
They don’t take long to make and I love the effect.

Don’t you love these labels? Cynthia used free images from Flickr.
A google search for ‘vintage fruit crate labels’ will give you some additional sources.
French Labels
English Labels
The images are printed on weatherproof polyester label sheets by Online Labels.
The labels are available in many different sizes.

How about a bit of trivia: Did you know that can label art work was the birthplace of commercial art in America? The advent of Lithography enabled companies to use art to sell their product commercially and there was a great deal of competition between companies to create the best works. Here’s some links to a bit of history if you’re interested.

So why am I making so many vintage cans? We’re working on table decorations for the Summer Soiree.
You won’t want to miss it. I promise!
If you live in the Salt Lake area you will want to attend this awesome event for only $10 a ticket.
And you can join the Jordan Valley Home and Garden Club for free.
You’ll be learning anything and everything you wanted to know about your home and garden in the club.
For more information and to buy tickets to the Summer Soiree click here.

I’d love to see you there!

I’m linking to these awesome blog parties:
Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things
Weekend Warrior at Ask Anna
Tutorials and Tips Link Party at Home Stories A2Z
Best DIY Projects May Linky Party at Beneath My Heart
Friday Flair at Whipperberry
Strut Your StuffSaturday Link Party at Six Sisters Stuff
Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal
Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime
Make It Monday at Brassy Apple
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts
Show Me Extraordinary at The 36th Avenue

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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Diane @ The Checkered Apple May 24, 2012, 6:55 pm

    These are really nice! I’ve never heard of this type of rusting technique…very interesting. And never new about the polyester sheets either! Learn something new every day. Thanks for posting this!

  • I LOVE these what a cool tip. Wanna help me make some? 🙂

  • Cynthia May 25, 2012, 1:12 pm

    I love how they are turning out! Apologize to your stove for me! LOL! I am glad to know that it cleaned up nicely. Thanks for taking on all the work of making the cans- it will be so fun to update this post and show everyone what they look like AFTER we finish the stuff that goes INSIDE the cans. Great work.

    PS- I did a little test on the labels and held them underwater to see if the ink would run etc. Nope! The polyester labels are totally waterproof- that’s good to know for all sorts of handcrafted stuff!

  • Emily Saddler May 25, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Gorgeous Leanne! I can’t wait to see the finished product with the succulents planted in them!

  • Courtney! May 28, 2012, 9:20 am

    Those look great! And I love those labels! I have some lemon labels I need to do something with…

  • Vanessa @ {nifty thrifty things} June 2, 2012, 1:01 pm

    Wow! I Love those vintage cans! Very cool idea!
    You will be featured at this week’s {nifty thrifty sunday}!
    I hope you’ll come by and grab a button.
    Vanessa @ {nifty thrifty things}

  • six sisters June 4, 2012, 6:21 pm

    These vintage cans are so stinkin cute!! What a fun idea. We are so glad you joined our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday”. We love to see all of the great recipes and ideas!! Thanks and we hope to see you again next week! -The Sisters

  • Alana June 4, 2012, 8:49 pm

    These look amazing! Thanks for sharing this great tutorial 🙂

  • Q @ JAQS June 6, 2012, 11:58 am

    This is such a great project!

    Love for you to share this project at MADE by ME Wednesday’s Linky Party @ JAQS Studio:

  • Miss Kitty June 9, 2012, 3:24 pm

    Wow! What a great tutorial with all kinds of products that I have never heard of. Thanks for sharing all of this info with us. I saw your post because it was featured last week at Nifty Thrifty Things (I am browsing around at things that I missed).

  • Traci June 16, 2012, 6:13 am

    Thanks for linking up to my monthly party! I’m highlighting this project in my next post.
    great job!

  • Okie Fields November 8, 2012, 10:01 am

    I LOVE these, and I can’t wait to try them!!!

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