How can I reuse or recycle empty paint tins?

Paint canI was potting up the many, many children of my spider plant the other day and I needed more containers to use as plant pots. I went into the cellar and found a couple of old paint tins – gloss paint so actually tins rather than the standard plastic tub used for emulsion these days.

They were just the right size for my plants so have been commandeered for that this time but it made me wonder what else I could use them for – especially since they have (admittedly difficult to remove) airtight lids.

Any suggestions?

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8 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle empty paint tins?”


  1. Emma says:

    With gloss cans, you could sand them and paint them with the end of the gloss paint itself and use it as a colour-coordinated plant pot or pencil holder or whatever in the room you bought the paint for in the first place.

  2. Andrea says:

    If you can’t get the lids unstuck (or even if you can), they are great for making quick and easy bookshelves or other shelving – just so long as you have equal numbers of each size. I’ve done this often and find that ones that still have paint in them work best as they are heavier and therefore make the shelving more stable. OK, actually half the time it’s still useable paint and I end up loosing a shelf for awhile when I need to use the paint ;)

  3. Katz says:

    If you can clean out the old paint (I guess you would need to leave them airing for a while after using white spirit) – then you can store pulses and flower in them. Depending on the tin’s size. You can decorate them form the outside and make into a set. If you recently been decorating – you can also store leftover dry plaster or mortar in them – it would always come handy if you notice any new cracks in the walls or ceiling, as I was told these powedered products get spoiled after a while if left in original bags.
    Or, if you have good cutting tools – you can cut shapes in the sides and a whole in the bottom, stick the bulb in (or a candle) and you have a new lamp shade!

    • Molly says:

      With latex paint you can just leave the can open and it will dry out. Then you can just pull out the sheet of dried latex. This only works if there’s not much left in the bottom of the can, though. Dried latex paint is NOT considered a hazardous material, but wet latex paint is!

  4. peter says:

    how meny tins of paint will i have tobye to paint a 36 meter squared wall



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