A Step-by-step Guide to Decorating With Upcycled Cookie Tins

3 Materials
30 Minutes

It's that time of year again when the holiday season has come and gone and you're left with a pile of empty holiday cookie tins from Christmas gifts. Instead of throwing them away, let's upcycle them into functional storage containers.

This post was transcribed by a member of the Hometalk editorial team from the original HometalkTV episode.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to use contact paper to repurpose cookie tins into stylish and practical organizing solutions that you can use in your home.

How to upcycle cookie tins

This easy DIY project is affordable and environmentally friendly; all you need is a roll of contact paper and your creativity. I chose a paper with a wood grain, but these would look gorgeous with faux marble contact paper or even metallic contact paper. The choice is yours!

Empty cookie tin and faux wood contact paper

1. Clean your cookie tins

To start, you need several cookie tins and you want to remove the lids and make sure they are nice and clean.   

Measuring how much contact paper to cut by placing it over the cookie tin

2. Measure and cut the contact paper

I wanted to make the stripes of my contact paper go up vertically on my tin but you can do it either way. 

Cutting out the measured piece of decorative contact paper

To measure how much I needed, I unrolled the contact paper and used the grid on the back as a guide. Most peel-and-stick contact papers have grids on the back, so they're super handy to use.  

Cookie tin craft ideas

3. Applying contact paper

When you're working with contact paper, it's always easiest to start on one side and not to peel the back off all the paper all at once. This will keep it from sticking to the surface you're putting it on. 

Sticking the contact paper onto the sides of the cookie tin

To cover my tin with the decorative contact paper, I started at the back where the seam of the tin was. As I rolled the tin over the contact paper, I also pulled off the backing at the same time. 

Smoothing out air bubbles with a card

I made sure to smooth out any air bubbles along the way as well as crease the edges.   

Cutting slits around the contact paper hanging off the bottom of the tin

With the sides covered, I moved onto the bottom. To make the bottom smooth, I took a pair of scissors and made little cuts all around the contact paper that was hanging off.  

Sticking the cut slits down to the underside of the cookie tin

I made the slits fairly close together so that when they are turned over the bottom they laid flat.  

How to decorate with contact paper

When I had all of the little flaps stuck to the bottom, I ran my fingers around to make sure I had a nice crisp seam and no bubbles.  

Repurpose cookie tins

Next, I moved onto the top. Again, I made some little slits all around the entire top in case they overlapped at all when they were folded down. They shouldn't overlap on the top but I wanted to give them the flexibility to do so.  

Sticking slits down to the inside of the cookie tin

Then I turned down all of the flaps and smoothed them out on the inside of the tin.  

A piece of decorative contact paper to be used inside the cookie tin

Since I planned on using my tins without any lids, I wanted to finish off the inside and make it look really nice. I cut an additional piece of the decorative contact paper a little thinner than the width of my tin and then used it to line the inside. If you are keeping your tins closed and using the lid, you don’t need to finish off the inside.   

More Recycling Ideas

For another upcycling project see my glitter toilet paper roll snowflakes tutorial.

What to do with cookie tins

To attach the piece to the inside, I found it easiest to roll it up inside out and then peel the backing off slowly as I stuck it in place. Rolling it up inside out made it much easier to work with in such a small space.  

Upcycle cookie tins

Cookie tin craft idea tutorial

This contact paper project is a fun and creative way to upcycle cookie tins, giving them a second life as practical storage containers. Not only is it a budget-friendly solution, but it's also a great opportunity to add a pop of color or pattern to your living room or kitchen countertops.

It was so easy to use the decorative contact paper to recreate my Christmas tins. I love that it can be easily taken off if I ever change my mind.

I hope that you enjoyed this contact paper DIY idea and give your own cookie tins a brand new purpose.

For more upcycling and thrift projects, be sure to visit Recreated Designs and follow on Hometalk above.

If you love to thrift, grab my "10 Things to NEVER Pass Up at the Thrift Store" guide here...

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Recreated Designs
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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3 of 5 comments
  • Debra Holland Debra Holland on Mar 27, 2023

    I still have some like these from my grandma, who used shelf paper, and she’s been gone 23 years. :)

    As a tip, she used lidded coffee cans (and other things with lids) and would also cut out a circle sized price to cover all but the rim of the top.

    The plastic coffee can lids didn’t hold up to years of usage. But metal twist top ones did.

    I’m going to dig out the coffee cans and paper the insides and use them for decor storage. :)

  • Anna Anna on Mar 28, 2023

    Great Job and such a good idea! Have been doing this for years.