Spray Paint Secret Safe




Introduction: Spray Paint Secret Safe

About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

This is a homemade diversion safe you can make in about an hour.

It's a great place to hide things like candy, or a spare house key, or . . . whatever you want.

I made a similar thing a few years ago: Shaving Can Safe (that Still Shoots Foam!).

However, this spray paint version is quicker and easier. Let's make it!

Step 1: What You Need

Here's what you need:

  • an empty can of spray paint
  • can opener
  • 1 1/2" pvc coupling (in plumbing aisle at any hardware store)
  • 2-part epoxy
  • sticky-back craft foam
  • rotary tool with sanding drum or sandpaper
  • masking tape


The spray can you use must be completely EMPTY. Begin by depressing the button on the spray paint can until all pressure is released!

I put a couple of strips of duct tape over mine and just left it for a few minutes, until the hissing stopped. Now you're ready to proceed.

Step 2: Remove Can Bottom

Using a standard pair of can openers, remove the bottom of the can by cutting on the side of the can as shown.

There will be a small amount of paint still in the can, so be sure to tilt the top end of the can downward to keep it from spilling out.

Step 3: Clean Can

Pour out any paint from the can into the trash.

I poured a little bit of paint thinner into the can, and used an old toothbrush scrub the inside of the can.

BE CAREFUL while doing this step.

The cut edge of the can is incredibly sharp and will definitely slice you up if you're not careful!

I poured out the paint thinner, and used a long pair of pliers to reach into the can with a wad of paper towels to clean and dry it out.

Step 4: Smooth Out the Opening

The opening of the may have some wavy crimp marks from the can opener.

These can be smoothed out by gently rolling the pvc coupling against the inside edge of the can on a table top.

Step 5: Sand PVC Coupling

The top edge of the pvc coupling can be sanded to create a small bevel as shown. This makes it easier to push into the bottom of the can later on.

I sanded this with a coarse sanding drum on my rotary tool followed by additional sanding by hand with 220 grit paper.

Step 6: Craft Foam Gasket

A gasket of sorts is made on the inside of the can with sticky-back craft foam. I cut two strips that were about 1 1/2" wide and 6" long. One at a time, these were test-fit and trimmed to length as needed and then applied to the inside of the can.

Two layers are needed, and they need to be placed about 1/4" up from the very bottom edge of the can.

To make the pvc coupling fit snug within the can, I wrapped it with several wraps of masking tape. You want it to fit snug, but not be too difficult to remove.

Step 7: Glue Can Bottom to PVC

I used 5-minute, 2-part epoxy to adhere the can bottom to the pvc coupling.

To ensure that everything was lined up correctly, the pvc was placed into the can, but extending outward about 1/4" past the bottom of the can.

I mixed up some epoxy and placed this around the inside edge of the pvc. The can was then placed on top of the can bottom, and pressed downward so the pvc would move into the can and seat the can against the can bottom.

The epoxy then flowed downward onto the can bottom.

Step 8: Epoxy Curing

Some minor adjustments can be made to make sure the can is centered against the can bottom.

When it looks good, leave it alone.

This was left completely undisturbed for about an hour - long enough that I was sure the epoxy had fully cured.

Step 9: Cured Epoxy

Once the epoxy is cured, you can remove the can bottom which now has the pvc securely attached.

If your craft foam gasket is airtight, there's will be some pressure created inside the can when you try to install or remove the bottom.

To alleviate this, I popped off the spray button and drilled a small hole in the top of the can that is hidden when the button is replaced.

Step 10: Hide Your Stuff!

Now you can hide whatever you want in your very own spray paint can safe.

Thanks for reading!



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27 Discussions

For the sharp edges, cover them with tape of any kind. That will prevent cuts.

Probably the best use (for those of us short on memory marbles) is for a short term hiding place to leave keys, money etc for kids, or out of town friends. For long term stuff a good ol' safe.

1 reply

Agree completely. Excellent comment, thanks!

My Hamilton Beach can opener cuts the rim on its side. Never a jagged edge. The lid fits back perfectly. No other tweaking needed.

1 reply

That's good to know. Traditional-style can openers work, but if people have that new style it can save a couple steps. Thanks for the tip!

It's clever, but I wouldn't use it except for something like a key because there is a great risk that someone - even I, because I'm scatterbrained - will toss it in the trash. We are too old to go hiding things where our heirs wouldn't think to look. Or, getting ready for a garage/estate sale, they (or I) might offer a box of partly used paint cans for a buck. In that case, even a key wouldn't be a good thing to lose because they might remember where they got it.

2 replies

You could always write "hidden money" on the can w/ felt tip marker.

I agree - it's more of a novelty thing. I gave this to one of my kids, and he's keeping candy in it.

Wish I would have seen this idea before, since I lost my marbles quite some time ago

Oh! So THAT'S where you keep your marble

*scribbles in notebook*
3 replies

I hide all my marbles in spray paint cans - it's a great way to keep from losing them!

I know its a weird hobby but I collect marbles from paint cans. Theyre kinda neat in a glass jar. Lots of em at work but some have only steel balls. Someday I will get all mine back. I hope...

I used to do that too! Lovely little clear bubbly marbles.

I've known people that put bank notes in seal a meal bags, then wrapped them in tin foil and stashed them in a freezer. The money still got too moldy to spend and they had to beg the Federal Reserve to replace the notes!!

1 reply

You need to put desiccant packs in with the bills.

me 3 minutes later: Need spray paint, why the ef did I keep an empty can!
Throws away life savings..
Great job on the able btw.

1 reply

neat little hiding place! No good around these parts though, we had break-ins at a place I worked at, and all they stole was spray paint so they could tag trains and fences!

Great idea! :D

Safety first. Put in safety glasses. Do this outside. Wear old clothes. Empty contents as you describe. Set can on level surface, then use a sharp awl and a small hammer and just barely punch through the inner ring of the top (where you drilled in the photo). (The can is strongest at this point, and the metal cannot tear beyond the inner top section.) This method of opening will not cause the can to explode, even if it is full. It is the only way to safely vent the can. Do this ALWAYS before any other opening procedure!