Turn Those Ugly Cookie Tins Into an Adorable Re-Usable Gift Box!

4 Materials
$6
1 Hour
Easy

If you have old cookie tins laying around that you want to give new life to - then you must read this post!!!
Who has an old cookie tin laying around their house that gets rarely used? Especially an older one with cheesy and out-dated prints on them? Maybe you aren't raising your hand. If that is the case, then you can enter any thrift store and find a boat load of these seemingly lifeless containers for dirt cheap.
You will want to start by cleaning out your tins (old cookie crumbs anyone?) and taking off any labels that may be on them. Make sure they are clean and dry. Then get some cardboard and head outside where your spray painting magic can begin! I put on about 3 coats of spray paint on all of the tops and bottoms of the cookie tins. Its much better to put on multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat of spray paint. Thick coats will drip and ruin the finish of the new color.
When your containers are newly painted and fully dry (wait at least 24 hours after spray painting), then you can start embellishing them with washi tape. I started with my rectangle shaped cookie tin and added washi tape just like it was ribbon on a wrapped gift.
When the tape was lined up, I used the X-acto knife to make cuts where the cookie tin opens up. I also trimmed the washi tape on the bottm right at the edge of the container for a nice clean line on the bottom.
You can use similar materials and make this DIY Lunch Box Treat & Note Holder From An Altoid Tin

Suggested materials:

  • Cookie tins  (thrift store)
  • Washi tape  (http://amzn.to/29FsBUj)
  • Magnetic yarn flowers  (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MagnetMenagerie)
See all materials

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Maura White

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

15 questions
  • Barbara Barnes
    on Jul 19, 2016

    What kind of spray paint did you use?

    • Jan
      on Jul 19, 2016

      I rarely comment on these things but...this is one of the cutest ideas I have ever seen. I'm wrapping gifts in painted tins this year. Thank you, o clever one.😘

    • Maura White
      on Jul 19, 2016

      I used Rust-oleum and got it on Amazon over here: http://amzn.to/29RSnVt

    • Peggi Tebben
      on Jul 19, 2016

      You can get it at Walmart too.

    • Matty watts
      on Jul 20, 2016

      I have lots of tins .... I'm so doin this . So pretty in my bedroom

  • Snowflake4123
    on Jul 19, 2016

    Did you have a sticking problem where the bottom and lid overlap? Is it possible to tape off the overlap area before painting? BTW... WELL done! Lovely!

    • Maura White
      on Jul 19, 2016

      I will say that it is tighter closing the lid to the bottom if there is tape there. But it still works. if it was a problem for you, you could just cut the tape so it isn't in the way.

    • Kathy Haines Cramer
      on Jul 19, 2016

      Maura, she is talking about the 3 layers of paint at the top of the base, where the lid fits. Doesn't the paint scratch off or stick to theiop when you put the lid on?

    • IFortuna
      on Jul 19, 2016

      Just tape off that portion where the lid meets the base to fit securely before painting. No need to paint this small area since it is not seen until the lid is removed. At that time I think it doesn't matter.

  • Catherine Westergaard
    on Jul 19, 2016

    doesn't the paint just scratch off? Would be hard to use and not scratch I would think.

    • Maura White
      on Jul 19, 2016

      Well I supposed it would scratch off if you bumped it or scraped it on purpose - but gift boxes generally aren't in a high scraping zone ;)

  • Tina
    on Jul 19, 2016

    Can you still fill them with cookies, etc, after they're spray painted?

    • Maura White
      on Jul 19, 2016

      I'm not sure that I would - the cookies might have a hint of spray paint smell. But if it got sprayed now, and you let it air out a few months - maybe???

    • Amy W.
      on Oct 17, 2016

      After they air out, you can pack cookies or treats in them, l always wrap mine in cellophane or plastic wrap and then put them in the tins.

  • Karen
    on Jul 20, 2016

    Do the tins need to be sanded lightly before using the spray paint? Lovely project!!! Can't wait to try it.

  • DB
    on Jul 20, 2016

    Did you paint the insides?

  • Carol Brown Hargrave
    on Jul 20, 2016

    Is any sanding necessary between coats of paint? I love these!

    • Maura White
      on Jul 20, 2016

      I did not sand - but someone else asked about sanding the tins before spray painting and that's not a bad idea. I wouldn't sand inbetween coats though b/c then youll just scrap off paint and it will ruin a smooth finish.

  • Aimee
    on Jul 20, 2016

    How is de coupage done??

    • Maura White
      on Jul 22, 2016

      Decoupage is a post all by itself. But an easy way is to cut up strips of colorful paper, and use a watered down mod podge and place the papers on the tins.

    • Aimee
      on Jul 22, 2016

      Thank you Maura!

    • Aimee
      on Jul 22, 2016

      Thank you Maura!

    • Wbe9197831
      on Aug 1, 2016

      99

  • Jud5287888
    on Nov 2, 2016

    This is adorable, but doesn't the paint come off/scrape off with the opening and closing actions repeated?

    • Maura White
      on Nov 2, 2016

      If the paint comes off just at the opening, that could be a good thing as the paint sometimes makes it stick. Since I'm using these as gift boxes, I know they won't be opened and closed often.

    • Vickie
      on Nov 3, 2016

      Also if you take less than a minute and mask of the bottom where the lid slides over, it will keep the tin from sticking and being difficult to open :) Love the gift tower made with round ones.

    • Jud5287888
      on Nov 3, 2016

      Great thought! Hope mine turn out that cute!!

    • Ladawn Buttrey
      on Nov 8, 2016

      U could spray a clear coat over it will protect from scratches

    • Jan
      on Oct 5, 2017

      I have noticed that if you wait awhile, like a few days or even weeks before using the item, the paint will cure and be harder to scrape off. I use spray paint with built in primer, and it will harden over time.
    • Barbara Stilson Richards
      on Oct 7, 2017

      Won't the odor from the spray paint make the food you put inside taste bad?
    • Melody McKinley
      on Oct 14, 2017

      I have waited a few days minimum to let the paint cure. The odor dissipates. I also line each painted tin with wax or parchment paper, cut to fit inside. Also, unless you paint the inside, the paint does not affect the food inside.
  • Sus13462142
    on Jan 10, 2017

    Can I use chalk paint"

    • Maura White
      on Jan 10, 2017

      You can try - but you may need to spray a clear varnish over it so it won't easily scratch off.

    • Sus13462142
      on Jan 10, 2017

      Thank you! I think I'll try it. I will use a clear varnish over it--that only makes sense. I will not be using it for food storage.

  • Laura O'Connell
    on Sep 22, 2017

    What is "washi " tape, and where can I find it?
    • Maura White
      on Sep 22, 2017

      You can get some on Amazon - look here: http://amzn.to/29FsBUj
    • Kay
      on Nov 29, 2017

      Hi Laura, you can get washi tape at Lincraft, Spot Light, Cherp as Chips, plus, the Regec Shop to I think. It is used @ lot in Card making @ some Craft project's. I live in Australia, so I think it is Lowe's, macy's, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart overseas. Hope this is helpful. Kay Adelaide South Australia
    • Malkah CC Bushinsky
      on Apr 3, 2018

      Sometimes you can find it at the Dollar stores, but definitely all craft stores (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Walmart) or craft departments have it. Daiso stores carry it as well. You can also go on line to Paper Source...

  • Obxl
    on Sep 30, 2017

    Would it be better to prime the prime them with a white paint first? I can see the paint scraping off easily
    • Maura White
      on Oct 1, 2017

      Yes you could certainly prime them first. But with one warning - if you make the paint too thick, they won't open and close easily. That is where the paint would scrape easily as well is on that lip that holds the top on. I've noticed that that gets sticky and too much paint would make it worse.
  • Kay
    on Nov 29, 2017

    Hi Joann, I love the Wedding Cake idear, I will have to try that one. What about a Birthday Cake to? Thanks for the idear. Kay Adelaide South Australia
    • Maura White
      on Nov 29, 2017

      birthday cake would be so cute - with the presents inside! I love it!

  • Bar33915407
    on Aug 9, 2018

    Will the paint chip off? What about it seeping into the foods?

    • Maura White
      on Aug 9, 2018

      I've used mine for gift boxes that aren't food items - like homemade soap. The paint has rubbed off a bit where the top and bottom go together, but so far no other chipping. Sanding the tins first can also help the paint stick better to avoid chipping.

    • Melin
      on Dec 22, 2018

      Great repurpose idea! Rustoleum makes great spray paints in oodles of colors that are made specifically for metal surfaces. Complete project with a durable, clear coat [matte or shiny] of Rustoleum ~ lessens any paint chipping.


      The possibilities for colors and designs are endless for these types of tins.

  • Kathy
    on Dec 12, 2018

    what kind of spray paint did you use?


Join the conversation

2 of 91 comments
  • Adele Dennis
    on Oct 17, 2018

    I was wondering what to do with some of my chocolate tins , thanks .

  • Dee
    on Sep 14, 2019

    I love how your mind works!!! Will do! tfs

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