Clever Coffee Can Hacks That’ll Save You Time, Money and Effort
Emptied all of the coffee out of the coffee can? Don't throw it out just yet! Here are 16 genius ways to put a coffee can to work all around the house.
Bake bread in a coffee can
Use small metal coffee cans to bake perfectly cylindrical loaves of bread. Use your favourite bread recipe, but put the dough into a well-greased coffee can instead of a loaf tin. For yeast breads, use two cans and fill each only half full. Grease the inside of the lids and place them on the cans. For yeast breads, you’ll know when it’s time to bake when the rising dough pushes the lids off. Place the cans, without their lids, upright in the oven to bake.
Turn a coffee can into a yard seeder
When it’s time to re-seed bare spots on the lawn, make a spot seeder from an empty coffee can and a pair of plastic lids for precise seeding. Drill small holes in the bottom of the tin, just large enough to let grass seeds pass through. Put one lid over the bottom of the can, fill it with seeds, and cap it with the other lid. When you’re ready to spread the seeds, take off the bottom lid. When you’ve finished, replace it to seal in any unused seed for safe storage.
Just make sure you never do this to your lawn.
Store belts in an old coffee can
If you have more belts than you have places to hang them up, just roll them up and store them in a large, clean coffee can with a clear lid. Large coffee cans are just the right size to keep belts from creasing and a clear lid will let you find each belt easily.
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Make a coffee can bird feeder
To fashion a coffee can into a sturdy bird feeder, begin with a full can and open the top only halfway. (Pour the coffee into an airtight container.) Then open the bottom of the can halfway the same way. Carefully bend the cut ends down inside the can so the edges are not exposed to cut you. Punch a hole in the side of the can at both ends, where it will be the ‘top’ of the feeder and put some wire through each end to make a hanger.
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Build a DIY coffee can bank
To make a bank for the children or a collection can for a favourite charity, use a utility knife to cut a slit in the centre of the plastic lid of a coffee can. Tape decorative paper or adhesive plastic to the sides of the “bank”; for a collection can, use the sides of the can to highlight the name of the charity you are helping.
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Use a coffee can to collect kitchen scraps
Line a coffee can with a small plastic bag (even a used plastic produce bag will do) and keep it near the sink to hold kitchen scraps and peelings. Instead of walking back and forth to the garbage can, you’ll make one trip to dump all the scraps at the same time.
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Make a decorative container for small toys
Wash and dry a coffee can and file off any sharp edges. Sponge on two coats of white acrylic paint, letting it dry between coats. Cut out a design from an old sheet or pillowcase to wrap around the can. Mix 4 tablespoons white glue with enough water to the consistency of paint. Paint on the glue mixture and gently press the fabric onto the can. Trim the bottom and tuck top edges inside the can. Apply two coats of glue mixture over the fabric overlay, letting it dry between coats.
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Turn a coffee can into a DIY humidifier
If your basement is too damp, try this easy-to-make dehumidifier: Fill an empty coffee can with salt and leave it in a corner where it will be undisturbed. Replace the salt at monthly intervals or as needed.
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Keep toilet paper dry when camping
Bring a few empty coffee cans with you on your next camping trip. Use them to keep toilet paper dry in rainy weather or when you’re carrying supplies in a canoe or boat.
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Make a DIY coffee can rain gauge
Want to find out if your garden is getting enough water from the rain? Next time it starts to rain, place empty coffee cans in several places around the garden. When the rain stops, measure the depth of the water in the cans. If they measure at least an inch, there’s no need for additional watering. This is also a good way to test if your sprinkler is getting sufficient water to the areas it is supposed to cover.
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Separate hamburgers with a coffee can lid
Before you put those hamburger patties in the freezer, stack them with a coffee can lid between each and put them in a plastic bag. Now, when the patties are frozen you’ll be able to easily peel off as many as you need.
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Organize a cluttered laundry room
Keep an empty coffee can nearby as you’re going through the kids’ pockets before putting a load in the washer. Use it to deposit receipts and wrappers, paper scraps and other assorted items that kids tend to stuff into their pockets. Keep another coffee can handy for coins and bills.
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Use coffee can lids as plant saucers
Place plastic coffee-can lids under houseplants as saucers. They’ll protect carpets and wood floors and catch any excess water.
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Use coffee cans to eliminate workshop clutter
You want small items like screws, nuts and nails to be handy, but you don’t want them to take up workbench space. Here’s a way to get the small stuff up out of the way. Drill a hole near the top of empty coffee cans so you can hang them on nails in your workshop wall. Label the cans with masking tape so you’ll know what’s inside.
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Soak a used paintbrush in an empty coffee can
An empty coffee can is perfect for briefly soaking a paintbrush in thinner before continuing a job the next day. Cut a small “X” into the lid and insert the brush handles so the bristles clear the bottom of the can by about 12mm (1/2-inch). If the can has no lid, attach a stick to the brush handle with a rubber band to keep the bristles off the bottom of the can.
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Use a coffee can lid to catch paint drips
Turn the plastic lids from old coffee cans into drip catchers under paint cans and under furniture legs when you’re painting. Protect cupboard shelves by putting them under jars of cooking oil and syrup too.
It’s not just coffee cans that come in handy, either—take a look at these clever coffee filter hacks.