How can I redecorate ice cream tubs so I can reuse them around the home?

Ice cream tubWe’ve had an email from Louise, saying:

Here in Malta ice cream comes in rectangular plastic containers. I use them a lot to organize my drawers and cupboard, they’re useful for all kinds of bits and bobs. However I’d like to use some as storage boxes on open shelves, and I’d like to decorate them. Any suggestions?

I love those ice cream tubs. The stuff that isn’t aimed at the luxury market in the UK comes in those rectangular tubs too and I’ve got them all about the place – holding beads/craft stuff, packets of seeds, cat medicines etc. The 2litre tubs are a great size for storing stuff in and of course the regular shape is great for stacking.

I haven’t redecorated any of mine though – anyone got any hints/ideas?

Because I’m obsessed with wire stuff at the moment, I might be tempted to try wrapping it in plastic coated wire (something like a less complicated version of these bottles) – I suspect that would really transform it but would take a lot of wire.

Any other suggestions?

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7 Responses to “How can I redecorate ice cream tubs so I can reuse them around the home?”


  1. melissa says:

    I’d go to a home decorating store and get some nice patterned shelf liners – those sticky-backed plastic sheets that some people put inside drawer and shelves to protect them. You could just trace around the tub onto the back of the paper, cut it out and then stick it in place. They come in loads of nice prints these days and most should be opaque, too.

  2. Nicole says:

    -decoupage
    -stickers
    -paint

  3. I am sure in the BIENNIAL some where in Liverpool will be the work of artist Robyn Woolston who use thousands of empty icecream tubs to great effect in an installation piece. I saw it in The Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead last year. She also re-sued severasl of them on the kids summer project we both taught on and had them rolling up paper into rods that they added to the sides of the plastic containers with double sided tape. Looked fantastic.

    • Sorry, excuse my typing.I’ll say it again without mistakes.
      I am sure in the BIENNIAL some where in Liverpool will be the work of artist, Robyn Woolston who used thousands of empty icecream tubs to great effect in an installation piece that I saw it in The Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead last year. She also re-used several of them on the kids summer project we both taught on this summer and had the kids rolling up paper into rods that they added to the sides of the plastic containers with double sided tape. Looked fantastic.

  4. Lynsey says:

    Use torn out pictures from old magazines and just stick them on haphazardly! You get to reuse bits of the mags before recycling and it’ll look great on the tubs. Tip though – you might need to lightly sand the tubs before applying glue to help it stick better.

  5. Jesse says:

    Paint ‘em: You can paint them but be sure to give those puppies a light sanding first. A plastic primer (spray paint) is also recommended, as plastic loves to let paint flake right off. Prime it, paint it. Should be good. Especially with a contrasting lid.

    Decoupage I also saw listed above, great idea. Either decoupage things that match, or use paper squares and do a mosaic. Seal it after with a polycrylic, and enjoy. If you feel up to it, adding a metal grommit or handle would make it attractive for shelving.

    Decoupage in fabric, same idea but use the patterns and texture of fabric. I do this type of thing all the time when I need storage tubs, because we literally have storage all around us we are putting in the recycling bins, why pay a lot for new ones at the store? It’s wasteful.

  6. You could even just leave them “as is” with the ice cream flair and then use them as a box to hold ice cream sundae toppings…it would add a little flair to an ice cream sundae party!

    Or you can decorate with scrapbooking materials and use as a photo holder!



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