10 Creative Ways to Upcycle & Display Vintage Tins

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Square feature photo showing four of ten photo snippets of upcycle crafts and ideas to display vintage tins.

Check out these clever ways to use vintage tins in your home!

I’m always drawn to vintage and collectible tins when I run across them at garage sales or antique stores. It’s like finding a blast from the past and I’ve accumulated quite a few over the years.

Most tins are fairly inexpensive (under $10) and I always seem to find room for one more! If you have a few of these beauties tucked away, here are some amazing ways to showcase them and use them.

1. Seasonal Displays

Use vintage tin containers as part of your seasonal decor! Fill tins with greenery and mini ornaments for the holidays or swap out decorations for different holidays and seasons!

Tray filled with greenery, vintage colorful Christmas light bulbs, a Rumford Baking Soda can with greenery in it and a rectangular vintage Tetley's Tea container with greenery, decorative snow and a small pink vintage looking reindeer in it.
Christmas Centerpiece
Photo of a vintage-style clipboard with an old postcard clipped to in a vintage green St. Patrick's Day display with an old Durkee's Allspice tin, clover wreath, ceramic pot of gold cup, vintage green Katherine Beecher Mints tin lid and other vintage spice tins including a vibrant Imperial gunpowder tea tin set in a wire wall basket.
St. Patrick’s Day Display
Display of small vintage tobacco and other tins on a wire wall shelf with Fourth of July decorations in the mix. In the center is a ceramic oval plaque with the American flag, a Penn's S
4th of July Display

2. Nostalgic Display Shelf

Fill a shelf or two with beautiful tins you’ve collected and mix in some nostalgic items.

Feature photo of a long shelf with a mix of vintage tins, nostalgic tin toys, and old books.
Display shelf of vintage tins and tin toys.

On this shelf, I display old books and vintage tins that bring back memories for me. I love this yellow Mambo’s coconut macaroons cookie tin, it was such a good find and it reminds me of our trip to Hawaii.

Closeup of a vintage yellow Mambo's Coconut Macaroon tin on a shelf with other vintage tins.
Vintage Mambo’s Tin Closeup

I wasn’t born in the 40s-50s but I’m drawn to vintage tin toys and I’ve been slowly collecting the ones that resonate with me. How cute are this mangle and toy stand mixer? By the way, if don’t know what a mangle is, it was a tool used to ring the water out of clothes! I had no idea what it was when I bought it but I fell in love with the beautiful retro green color!

Closeup of a toy stand mixer and mint green '40-'50s retro green and red mangle on a shelf of vintage tins.
Vintage Tin Toys Closeup

3. Vintage Coffee Can Buckets

Turn those big old coffee cans into a pretty bucket using a wire hanger! I had a couple of handles from old rolling pins left over so I used them here for the handles.

Photo of two vintage coffee cans, one blue Maxwell House and the other a red and white specialty tin with vintage cars on it. Both on a step with yellow flowers and wood handle gardening tools.
Vintage Coffee Can Buckets


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4. Gift Tin

Don’t pass up a cute vintage tin especially if it has a hinged top like this one. These make beautiful gift boxes for Mother’s Day or a birthday.

Photo of a hinged, gold lined decorative square tin filled with lip balm, hand cream, pink bath bomb and candle to give as a gift.
Gift Tin

Fill it with tea, hand lotions, lip gloss, small candles, chocolates, a handmade bracelet, or anything else you can think of. For Dad, fill a vintage tobacco or other rustic tin with shaving supplies, a tie and tie clip, or make a shoecare kit!

5. Vintage Tin Light

Turn a vintage tin into a starry night light by drilling small holes into the sides in any pattern you like. The first couple of holes I drilled left indents from pressing too hard so I recommend using light pressure when drilling and letting the drill do the work.

Make a hole in the bottom and insert a corded LED night light (like this one on Amazon) or add a battery-operated candle and set the timer to come on in the evening hours.

Photo of a tall rose bronze vintage Blue Mountain Coffee Liqueur that has small holes drilled into it and a corded light from the bottom to create a soft starry light in an entryway. Photo taken at twilight showing light sparkling on the wall.
Vintage Tin Light

6. Patriotic Tin Pedestal Table

I have no idea what this old rusty tin was used for but when I found it, I knew it would make a great top for an old pedestal table base that I’ve been holding on to. I didn’t have to do very much here except spray-paint the table pedestal base blue. This patriotic side table cost just a few dollars to make and I love how it came together! To protect it and prevent it from rusting further, I gave it a coat of polyurethane.

Red large tin with white stars used to make a pedestal table. The bottom pedestal a navy blue.
Vintage tin pedestal table

7. Turn Decorative Tins Into Tiered Trays

Stack vintage tins to make a tiered tray to organize your craft supplies, kitchen utensils, or anything that needs gathering up!

Here, I used three vintage tins to make this fun-tiered tray. For more on this DIY, check out my post –> How to Make A 3-Tiered Tray Using Vintage Tins.

Vertical feature image of a finished 3-tiered tray made with vintage tins.

I used an old coffee can, a wood bowl, and a candle holder, to make this retro coffee bar tiered tray! Learn more on how to make tiered trays from thrift store items in my post –> 6 Unique DIY Tiered Trays Made With Flea Market Finds.

Vertical photo of a tiered tray with a red 'Breakfast Cheer' coffee can top, candle stick center and a round wood bowl for the base, filled with coffee pods.
Vintage coffee tin tiered tray

8. Vintage Tins As Planters

Vintage tins and containers make beautiful containers to hold small succulents and air plants.

Photo of an Edgeworth blue pipe tobacco tin with a hinged lid used as a planter for small succulents.
Tobacco tin planter

9. Gift Wrap Storage

Tall tins like holiday popcorn tins, make great storage containers for kraft paper rolls of gift wrap!

Tall square vintage Santa Claus tin used shown as storage for rolls of wrapping paper.
Vintage tin to organize rolls of wrapping paper.

10. Vintage Tin Lids

Don’t throw out those decorative vintage lids! After making the upcycles above, I had a couple of lids left over so I decided to turn them into something useful. They have such a great old patina don’t you think?

Vertical photo of a jewelry organizer made from a floral tin lid and dark orange lid hanging on a wall.
Vintage tin lids turned jewelry organizer

I hope these upcycle ideas inspire you! If you have a vintage tin idea you’d like to share, reach out to me in the comment section below. I would love to feature your photo and link back to your website.


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