Sunday, December 2, 2012

Upcycled popcorn tin wall hanging

It is not my intent to sound ungrateful, but I have popcorn issues. Remember the whole rant I posted under Three simply delicious autumn treats? I won't quote myself on it, but if you need a reminder, go back and look. Earlier in my life, one of the best Christmas gifts given by neighbors were tins of popcorn. At that time, the tin came with the canister and a solid lid as well as three flavors of popcorn; caramel, butter and cheese. In my house the caramel was the first to go, followed by the butter and then, in a desperation for low-grade carbs, the cheese. I don't know if we actually ever all the cheese.
About the time I went off to college, I acquired some really cool tins that were shaped like milk cans. I had a whole collection of cow themed memorabilia and the tins were painted with cows and sunflowers. I kept them for a number of years, but surprisingly when I married and entered a new life with this other person, he wasn't as in to cow stuff as I was and so much of that collection went by the wayside.  
It may be that the tri-popcorn collection of tins is still available for resale. I don't buy them because I don't really like popcorn and I don't receive them because I probably am not a good enough friend/neighbor to warrant them as a gift.
Though I don't prefer the contents, I like many of the actual tins. But unless they have the year round versatility of the milk cans, what can be done with the tins?
Obviously they can be recycled or reused. I've seen people store Christmas decorations in them or used as garbage collection bins. Lights can be placed inside and holes punched through them to light the pathway to the house around the holidays. However, if they aren't being used for those purposes, they are taking up space and being tripped over until finally, scratched, dented and no longer fit to the lid, one throws them away. It seems such a waste when most have such pretty little scenes painted on them. But what to do?

I'm not sure where the tin I have came from. (The one above was at Wal-mart, but I had already cut up mine, so that's why I had to snap a fresh photo.) As mentioned, it has been in my basement for several years. The lid no longer fits, at least I don't think it does, but I actually haven't seen it in months, possibly years. Until recently, the tin served as the trash can for the unfinished basement, but when the bottom was needed for a separate purpose, I was left with the canister sides. I like them. It has a cute scene with snowmen by a campfire. Naturally, I was inspired to make an upcycled wall hanging.
The first step was to square up the sides. The best tool for the job is, as the name would imply, a square. If you don't have one, you could borrow one or just use a sheet of card stock or some other object that you trust to have straight sides.  

Once the sides have been traced, use a pair of tin snips to cut out the desired scene. If you don't own tin snips, I imagine you could use a pair of sharp and durable scissors, but I cannot in good conscience recommend that strategy. Whatever you use, make sure you wear gloves, leather if possible so that you don't slice your palms open on the sharp edges of cut metal. After all it would be a shame to shell out hundreds of dollars for corrective surgery on an injury obtained while making a "free" craft.
It's a good idea to grind off or sand (you can rub the edges on concrete) the edges of the tin so as to keep them from becoming lethal decorations.
The final step is to mount the tin. If the proportions are correct, the tin image could be framed. In my case, I used nails and two sided tape to attach the scene to a painted wood block.

A wire run through the top makes it easy to hang and now I have a lovely winter decoration to replace the Christmas wreath or something I can give away to someone I am quite fond of. And the best part is with two scenes, I was able to make one and my daughter able to make the other. A fun project we could work on together.

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