Milk Can House Number

3 Materials
2 Hours

My parents-in-law gave us an awesome old milk can and it took me a little while to decide what I could do with it. After some thought I decided to use it as a country-inspired house number display.

The milk can had already been re-painted at one point and while the green paint and the rust spots definitely gave it a nice patina, I decided to clean it up and repaint it to make it a little cleaner and kid-friendly.

First step was to clean up all the loose paint. I used a wire brush (affiliate link), metal scraper, and rough-grit sandpaper to clean it up and make a good base for the new paint.

Once it was ready I used Rust-Oleum Professional High Performance Protective Enamel in matte black and gave it two coats, letting dry about 24 hours between coats. For the stencil I made a point to choose a font and size that looked like it belonged there - that maybe the farmer numbered all his milk cans and this was just one in the lineup. The stencils I used were from the Martha Stewart Monogram Serif Stencil set (affiliate link), trimming the letters down and taping them together with painters tape. I had used the "o" previously for another project.. hence why it's brown.

I used white acrylic paint to stencil it and filled the gaps in the stencil with a small brush after. I think the milk can came out pretty cute and adds the perfect country touch!

Please check out the original post on my blog for product links!

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Sarah | Birch Landing Home

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


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Debra Thomas
    Debra Thomas
    on May 10, 2017

    I love this. My mom gave me an antique milk can years ago and me promise not to paint it because it devalues the price of the can. Did you hear this?
    • Kathi bakker
      Kathi bakker
      on Apr 7, 2019

      If you're worried about antique value in any "found condition" is always best. It's a judgement call on your part if you are making a cute home accessory or more interested in antique value.

  • Weazie
    on Mar 29, 2020

    I had pinned your post for future use. Well, the future has arrived! What type of brush did you use to paint the can? Love this!

Join the conversation

3 of 170 comments
  • Denise Taylor Davidson
    Denise Taylor Davidson
    on Jan 8, 2018

    I’m not sure what it would cost to ship one of these milk cans they’re very heavy I have quite a few that I would love to get rid of
  • Joanie
    on Jan 14, 2019

    Great job. Sharp lookin' and not over Milk cans.... I'd love to have just 1. ;((

    • Sarah | Birch Landing Home
      Sarah | Birch Landing Home
      on Jan 15, 2019

      Thank you so much! Yes, they can be hard to come by - very thankful for my parents-in-law that found this one! Good luck finding a deal on one!!

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