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Upcycle Tin Cans: Quick tutorial – Red Carousel Blog

My daughter Ivy is turning 7 soon and we have started to make some of the decorations for the party. These are some old tin cans we have decorated with decoupage, to match the party theme colours of pink and aqua. The cans can be used to hold things like straws, cutlery and flowers. 

Decoupage is the art of embellishing an object by gluing paper cutouts onto it, to give a painterly appearance. I remember doing quite a bit of decoupage as a teenager – using the old fashioned technique of applying paper cutouts, then many coats of varnish and sanding in between. This process would take weeks (lots of drying time). But here I’ll show you the quick version using mod podge and napkins. 

My daughter enjoyed getting involved with some aspects of this project, particularly the painting. Do be careful with kids though – as scissors and sharp edges from the tin can be a hazzard.


Empty tin cans (make sure there aren’t any protruding sharp edges that could cause injury)

Acrylic paint



Mod Podge (matte finish) – from stores such as Spotlight and Art Friend

Small nail scissors

Napkins with images suitable for decoupage 


1. Get your materials together

2. Using the paint brush paint the can with the acrylic paint. We did three coats of paint, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next layer. 

3. Use the sponge to dab the wet paint to give it a nice texture

4. Cut out images from napkin. Separate the napkin layers, keeping the top layer where the image is visible.

5. Once the paint is dry, apply some mod podge to the surface of the tin and carefully stick on the napkin image. Dab the image gently with your clean fingers to make it adhere to the tin, making sure you don’t drag the image – it can distort easily.

6. With a clean brush, carefully dab some mod podge on the image and the rest of the can to seal in the image and paint. You may wish to give the can a couple more coats of mod podge to finish off.