I like to pack food along for our RV trips. And I prefer to use those foods that come packaged in cans. Why? Because in the rare instance that the pantry door pops open during travel, glass containers will break. Tin cans won’t. My problem is what to do with the empty cans after I’m done with them. I hate adding them to the local landfill. So, I’ve discovered several ways to upcycle tin cans while RVing.
In the kitchen
- Utensil storage. I use larger tin cans for utensils near the stove. I put spatulas, tongs, a slotted spoon, and other cooking utensils inside a tin can. Museum putty holds the can to the countertop. This way it’s one less thing to secure for traveling days.
- Flatware caddy. My husband screwed three tin cans to a small board. He also secured a rope to the board for a handle. Now we put spoons, forks, and knives inside the cans. When it’s time to eat, I can grab the flatware bin and easily take it to the picnic table outside.
- Wine storage. Friends who enjoy wine have used a series of tin cans for a wine rack in their RV. They superglued and tied several cans together. Then they fastened the cans to the underside of a kitchen cupboard. (I’m sure they secure the wine bottles for any travel days.)
- Tin can dinner. As a child, my sisters and I often begged to make “Hobo Dinners.” Inside a greased coffee can, we placed slices of onion, layer of sliced carrots, potato chunks, and a hamburger patty. We seasoned everything with salt and pepper. Then the food series was repeated until the can was ¾ full. Aluminum foil went over the top of the can. Then we placed the “Hobo Dinner” into the hot coals of an outdoor fireplace. It took about a half-hour to cook (depending on how thick the veggies are sliced). Yum! You can find an entire tin can recipe cookbook here.
- Bag keeper. I cut an “x” in the top of a tin can’s plastic lid. I poke plastic grocery bags inside the can, leaving just a little outside the can for access later. Bags stay neatly contained until one is needed.
- Planters. I have several house plants potted inside upcycled tin cans. (Our grandkids helped me decorate the cans with yarn, paint, and contact paper.) I’ve also started seeds inside our tin can planters. I like to use tin cans for planters outside the RV, as well. If they blow over in the wind the cans obviously don’t break.
- Reading glasses holder. Line the sides and bottom of a tin can with felt strips. Use museum putty to hold the can to a side table. Place reading glasses inside and you’ll always know where to find them. Note: Use the same felt lining technique to make a holder for remote controls, desk accessories, and more.
- Hobby holder. I like to store paint brushes, tubes of paint, and other hobby supplies inside tin cans. It keeps everything in one contained place. Another tin can stores my sewing needles, some thread, and a thimble.
- T.P. container. Use a large-size tin can with a lid to keep an extra roll of toilet tissue dry and ready when needed.
- Cosmetics holder. Full-time RVers can store cosmetic brushes, mascara tubes, lipsticks, and more inside a tin can. It will keep all of your makeup together. Hint: If you keep a plastic lid on the bottom of the can, you’ll prevent rust from marking the RV sink top.
- Nightlight. Our grandchildren love this nightlight. First, I froze water inside a tin can. Then I used a hammer and nail to pound holes in the sides of the can. (The ice kept the can from denting.) I put a small LED candle inside the can. It makes a great nightlight.
Have you upcycled tin cans while RVing? I’d love to hear about it.