Projects – Tin Can Upcycle Part IV & Winter Sowing Update

Since one of my goals for the blog is to be honest when a project fails me I must tell you about the crash of my tin can contraption. The cans are still in perfect condition, but the wire hanging apparatus has crashed. It held up great…through rain, strong wind, but it could not hold up to me grabbing it in mid-fall to save myself from hitting the ground. I did end up on the ground, the tin can hanger hit the ground too. Happily, I am fine, and the cans are all fine. Only one plant was jostled out of it’s can and it was easily replanted. The wire apparatus broke into several pieces. I could have fixed it, but anticipating another disaster, hung my colorful cans on the fenceposts surrounding my garden. I really like them here! We can see them from the back window and my husband also said he thought they looked good around the garden. Live and learn! Don’t try to save yourself when you fall by grabbing something even remotely rickety.

While I was near the garden with my camera I thought it a good time to update my winter-sown lettuce progress. It’s growing so fast I’m going to have to start filling bags to give away. It’s delicious and tastes great mixed with organic romaine hearts from the grocer.

PS: If you’re wondering how I fell the truth is I have no idea. One minute I was picking flowers from the cans to press, the next I was on my way down.

Project – Tin Can Upcycle Part III

I’m grateful for the requests I’ve had for a part three of this project to show how the tin can rack was put together. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I kept my eyes open for wiry baskets for weeks when I visited thrift stores. I found a set in the local Goodwill for $3.99.

I used a Shepherd’s hook for my hanging apparatus and placed it near the corner of the porch where I intended to display the cans. This was a providential choice explained later in the post.

Painting the cans was easy. Rain also created a ‘happy accident’ while they dried.’

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Bob Ross

The moisture, on paint not yet set, rippled the finish, and gave the cans a crackled appearance without the purchase of an expensive crackle medium.

Leather strips, purchased long ago in a large bag of scraps, were the best choice for hanging the cans. I threaded them through the side holes and knotted the ends. Leather is durable and withstands tearing on the sharp edges of the can as they pass through.

My hardest problem to solve was how to hang the cans on the rack. Threading the leather strips around the weave of the baskets was an option, but if a plant dies, I want to be able to remove the can, re-pot with another, and attach to the rack again. S-hooks would work, but are expensive; I searched for an alternative. I found this in a 12-pack of wire shower hooks. These were inexpensive, easy to use, and matched well when sprayed with a coat of matte black spray paint. I needed 2 packs of these.

A few baskets seemed wobbly at their junctures, so I strengthened them with long plastic strip ties and cut the extra length away once attached.

I ran into a problem once I had the cans planted; the weight of all eighteen was too heavy for the Shepherd’s hook and the structure began to lean forward. NO! An oversized eye screw was needed to stabilize the contraption. This is where my location proved providential. I attached the eye screw into the wooden porch railing and secured the Shepherd’s hook with two plastic strip ties.

Out of necessity I will check each plant daily. The growing area is small and will dry out quickly. Updates will be posted later in the season. This strange tower of wire baskets and cans is certainly worthy of being entered into Kammie’s Oddball Challenge.

Projects – Tin Can Upcycle Part II

After the holes are punched in the tin cans it’s time to begin painting with acrylic paint. There will be residue from glue on the can, this can be removed with a heat gun and rag. I didn’t bother since I knew the cans would only be used for one season.

It took three coats of paint to get the look I wanted. Even before I had finished painting all the cans in pastel rainbow shades, rust had begun to work its way through the first layers. No bother…it adds a bit of shabby chic to the look of the project. I was very careful of the sharp edges inside the cans, but even being aware didn’t stop me from getting three small cuts on my fingers from the razor-sharp edges. I should have put a piece of masking tape over the holes in the sides as this is where I cut myself every time while painting.

The look of the cans is even better than I had hoped. The rack I wired together from thrift store inbox trays is perfect and holds eighteen cans. Stringing leather strips through the side holes gives me a strong hanger for the weight of the cans. I’m happy with my project and pleased it gives me more room to grow flowers specifically designated for flower pressing.