Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Paint Can Inserts

I'm super excited about these clear plastic paint cans, because I finally figured out a way to decorate them that is fast and cheap. I'm so giddy that I just need to say that again . . . fast and cheap. It doesn't get any better than that.

I've been attracted to these paint cans (and not in a creepy way) ever since I first laid eyes on them. But when I get them home, I look at them and get Crafter's Block, and I can't decide how to decorate them. The lack of inspiration then makes me choke even more. The pressure is stifling.

Well those days are gone. Finally, I figured out how to decorate them just once using a digital format, and then I copy, copy, copy until I'm sick and tired of making them.

I happened upon the idea by accident while browsing the Sam's Club Online Photo Center and discovering the cheap, cheap price of printing an 11" x 14" print.  Just $2.87 if you can believe it, and that decorates two paint cans, so it's really $1.435 per paint can! Okay, round it to $1.44 if you want to be so picky. It's just that it's really not that much because that extra cent covers two paint cans.

Remember, I'm the freak who will spend hours reconciling my checkbook to make sure I can account for that eleven cents that I'm off. And I will have fun doing it! No lie.

Blogging is my therapy couch.

Anyway, back to the cans. Here are some of the details for tricking out your own paint cans.

First of all, I made templates for two different sizes of paint cans. The first is what I call the Itty Bitty Paint Can, because it measures approximately 3-1/4" tall and 9-1/2" around. They're super cute, but you may have a hard time finding them. I got mine at Porter's months ago, and when I went back a few days ago, they didn't have any left. That's good news for you though, because that made it necessary for me to make a second template for the quart-sized can. Porter's had about a million of that size, and I know Michael's sells them too.

Yay for you!

Anyway, the first step is to save the templates to your computer, then upload them to your favorite photo center that prints 11" x 14" photos at a reasonable price. When you get them back, they'll look something like the picture above. I've tweaked them a tinsy bit because these pictures were of my prototypes. They have some flaws that I've, hopefully, ironed out.

When you get your prints, you'll first want to cut them out along the marked cutting lines.

For the itty bitty cans, I had to punch out holes for the paint can handles. It was a ginormous pain in the rear for the particular cans I bought, because the handles poked right through the plastic and interfered with the inserts when I slipped them in. 

See what I mean?

That meant I had to measure the distance down from the top of the can to the handles, then the distance between the handles, then hope and pray that I did it right while punching the holes in my beautiful $1.435 templates.

And then I still ended up screwing it up in spite of all that. Jeez, what a dork. I ended up cutting some orange scraps and taping them over my boo boo holes. Or should I say BOO! holes?    Ha.     Ha.    Ha.

See, you can't even tell, can you? Actually, don't answer that. I am one with denial.

I don't think it's that bad. I can live with it. Okay, another lie. I'm going to give them away so I don't have to live with them. And relive and regret. And obsess. It's a vicious cycle for us OCDers.

The Quart size paint cans worked out much better because I had a little experience under my belt. About 24 hours worth. There was still a little tweaking to do, but not much.

One of the bummers about the larger template is that I wasn't able to use my paper trimmer to cut the inserts out because they were too long. I had to get all old school and use actual scissors. I felt like a cave man. I mean Cave Martha.

Once I cut out the insert, the rest was easy. I rolled it up slightly, so that it was skinnier than the can, and then I slipped it inside. The hardest part was pressing the insert up under the lip of the top of the can. It was hard to get it started, and it felt creepy having to bend the insert to get it up there, but it laid perfectly flat against the inside of the can and you couldn't even tell that I had to bend it a little along the top edges to get it in there.

For the quart sized can I didn't even cut out holes for the handle rivet thingie-ma-bobbers. The insert just laid up again that part too.

Filling the cans with treats was pretty easy too. I could have made some cookies or something, but I was too tired after having to use those scissors.

For the final touches, I tied some ribbon to the handles and cut out some circles of Halloween paper to cover the paint can lids.

Lastly, I printed out some Boo! poems and saddled a few of my favorite peeps with my prototype buckets. I bet they won't even notice that they're not perfect. And you won't tell, will you?

I know you want to make some cute paint cans too, so here are the insert templates. Have fun!

This is the template for the Quart-sized can. Be sure to click on the image first, then save it to your computer. That will ensure that you get the best resolution possible.

This is the template for the itty bitty can. Be sure to click on the image first, then save it to your computerThat will ensure that you get the best resolution possible.

And finally, the Boo Poem, in case you want to spread the love.


  1. these are so cute! a great idea, my girls would have a blast making these!

  2. You AMAZE me!!! These are the cutest things ever! I am now heading to Michaels to pick up some paint buckets and then printing off your ADORABLE templates. Thank you! So cute!!!

  3. These are great, Jill! I'm reading this post at the day job, but when I get home I am going to save your template. Love the graphics and I think you did a fabulous job - even if you did have to use those antique things called scissors! : )

  4. Why am I so handicapped? I clicked on the image, saved it to "My pictues" then opened up Costco photo center, uploaded the image, (didn't use the quick upload) and when I chose to print an 11X14 it gave me a warning about the resolution.
    What am I doing wrong?

  5. I just found you and I think I am becoming your newest wannabeez! I made my own version of the bookmarks and sent them to my daughters class, based on your idea. I love being digital, but I am always looking for a new idea on using them besides scrapbooking. I am not a control freak, I am a wanna be control freak, label maker versus the unfinished listmaker, trail of bits and pieces hallin 4 kids in the sienna momma. i look forward to reading more of your work and will be reposting some of your stuff on my blog to introduce my readers to you.


  6. Can I say....I love you!!!
    Thank you Annika and Jill for my adorable Boo can.

  7. Jeepers, Y'all are so sweet. Stop it.

    Carolyn, I'm wondering if you are waiting long enough for the enlarged image to open up in another window before you right click and save it to your computer. That might be the problem. Click on the image, wait a bit for it to open up in a new window, then right click and save the image. I don't think the method of upload should make a difference. If it's an upload issue, you could try saving the image to a jump drive and taking it to Sam's Club that way. E-mail me via my Contact button if you're still having trouble. I'd love to help you.

    Janet, let me just say . . . I love you way more and so does Stinker Dinker. You're the best! :)


    Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. My solution to having to use scissors on oversized items... a self-healing mat and a rotary cutter!! The OCD in you will love it! :)

    Love these cans! Thanks for the template!

  10. I love these! I went to Michaels yesterday, very inspired. But I was disappointed in their clear paint cans. I thought they would be more "acrylic" like...and the ones at Michaels were kinda flimsy and they fell apart easily(the bottoms came out) and the tops were hard to get off.
    Are yours "flimsy"(they don't loook like it)? Or are they a nice hard plastic?

  11. These are so super cute!! Would love to see a fall design too!

  12. alright! I might be officially obsessed with all the wonderful work! I am so excited. I just downloaded all your cards. I am going to make my own set. I also think this will be a great gift! You just saved me a ton of work! I am going to get busy sharing my recipe cards on my blog! Huge thank you!
    By the way! I have an amazing CM friend that cordinates a ton of events, no classes, just social. It is amazing. A group of us became friends from just always attending the gatherings. We range in age from 20s to 80s year old. It has become an amazing sisterhood around the craft tables.

  13. a little scary, I am back to comment again! Well, I really wanted to share with you, something you inspired me to make. I am challenging myself to thin out of the box with my digital program, so I created a Christmas Planner. It is a little rough but still affective!

  14. I love these!!! They make such cute decorations and gifts :)

  15. These are so cute!! I'm thinking ahead to Christmas. Do you have any (or plan to make) some Christmas inserts?

  16. Jill - you are awesome! I did something like this for Christmas last year - but my was all by hand.:( Took forever...but the girls at work (princess cans filled w/nail-pedicure stuff) loved them and the bus driver & aide (he-man themed filled w/treats) loved them! Thanks for your great ideas!