Coffee Container Upcycle

Introduction: Coffee Container Upcycle

About: I like to design and build random things.

Although coffee is not the drink for me, there seems to be an endless supply of these containers available from my work. Instead of cluttering up the recycling bin with the empty containers, I thought about ways to make useful things out of them since the container itself does not look that bad. My last coffee container project, the Twine Holder, is working out fine in the garden. However, my wife is tired of these things sitting on the kitchen counter so we thought it would be nice to try something decorative vs. utilitarian for the next batch of containers.

First, my wife and I both grew up in South Carolina and went to the University of South Carolina – Go Gamecocks! Since our days of hanging out at the stadium before the big game are behind us, she thought making something for tailgating might be fun. So we painted two of the coffee cans in Carolina colors. To share the love of all things South Carolina, we also decorated some of them for the Clemson fans. Many of our friends and family somehow seem to love that tiger paw so we are sharing the love. It ain't all bad ya'll! Except in November, then its serious! (Sort of, anyway.)

Sooo...get ready to show some school spirit and make some coffee can tailgate containers!

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Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Printer
  • Scissors


  • Coffee Containers
  • Spray Paint
  • Adhesive back photo or label paper

Step 2: Acquire Coffee Containers

If you work for company that has a coffee area, you will most likely find plenty of these. You can also ask friends or neighbors to supply them to you.

Step 3: Determine Color

If your favorite team is green, red or blue, you are in luck since those are the primary colors for Maxwell House and Folgers. You can remove the printed labels with acetone (fingernail polish) which takes a decent amount of work. The Folgers tops are black. The small container of Maxwell house has a light brown top. If none of these colors work for you, find a spray paint that meets your needs.

Step 4: Paint

The labels are easy to cover with dark colors. The orange container took about 4 coats to completely block out the labels.

Step 5: Decoration

Draw or download your favorite images to place on the containers. Place them in Word or PowerPoint. Measure off the container area where you would like to place the images. Resize the images to match the area. Note that you could paint the images on the containers if you are artistic – I’m not.

Step 6: Print

You can fit enough images to cover two containers on one sheet of paper. We tried adhesive backed label paper and photo paper. For these types of images, I didn’t see much of a difference in print quality.

Step 7: Cut Out and Place on Containers

Take your time and place the print carefully on the container. Try not to get the print wrinkled when it goes on the container.

Step 8: Carolina

Here are the South Carolina containers. I can hear 'Hootie and the Blowfish' already.

Step 9: Clemson

And here's Clemson. They probably paint everything in town orange and purple.

Step 10: Just Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Get out there and paint some containers your favorite team's colors!

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