A few years ago, I stumbled upon an old milk can while on one of my garage sale adventures and it was perfect! It met all my criteria: It was cheap ($5!) which is a surprisingly hard detail to satisfy, it didn’t have shotgun holes in it, also hard to satisfy and it was begging for a milk can makeover! So when I saw this beautiful milk can specimen, SO many creative ideas started flowing through my brain. So many, in fact, that I couldn’t decide on one…so I let it sit…for 3 years.
One day, recently, I woke up inspired to achieve greatness and that’s when my old milk can and I, made eye contact and it was on! I had decided on creating what I was hoping would turn out to be a cute, milk can house number sign. I was reminded, however, that with any one craft idea that pops into your head, there are about one million and one ways to achieve it. This is why it is a good idea to go into each one with a plan…but also be flexible to let your idea evolve!
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- Milk Can
- Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Paint+Primer Color: Ivory Silk (Satin)
- Black Brush Paint (outdoor-friendly preferred)
- Recommended: hand sander or sand paper
- Card Stock
- Exact-o Knife
The first thing that I started with was to sand down any areas on my milk can where there was corrosion especially when there was pitting or lacking smoothness. This is very important because no matter what you may think, paint will not cover imperfections in the texture. If anything, it will accentuate them! You do not need a sander for this, sand paper of varying grits will work but, I will say that it makes it quicker and easier with one. I use the Black & Decker Mouse Sander and have had mine for years and it STILL gets the job done. The best part is you can find one for under $30!
Note: After sanding, you can fill the dents to give the milk can a smooth finish, but I decided for mine that the dents gave it a bit more character. Also, remember to clean the sanded surface thoroughly and then you’re ready for paint!
In a well ventilated area and away from anything that might fall victim to over spray (i.e. cars, windows, etc.) you are ready to party! For my milk can, I only needed one can of spray to apply a couple of coats of paint which was all this project took. I will note, however, that I can only speak for the Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover Paint+Primer. As the name suggests it is paint & primer and from my experience, it gives a better cover than I’ve gotten from others in the past. Any paint that you have on hand or prefer will do!
Next is when you get to let your creative juices really flow! I wrapped the handles of my milk can with twine to add texture and painted the twine in the middle of the handle, black to add depth. I then wrapped the twine (burlap would work too) around the can several times to create a band.
With the twine, I experimented to see if I could make a flower or bow accent and landed up making this cute little flower. It was very easy to do and I created a short tutorial post so that you can see just how quick and easy it was!
For the lettering, I created stencils from fonts that I printed out from Microsoft Word onto card stock. This is where the exact-o knife comes in for when you cut the stencils out. I hand-painted with a very small art brush using a black brush paint (not spray paint). There are, however, other ways to do your lettering. You could purchase vinyl letter stickers, free-hand it (I’m not that talented) or if you have a Cricut machine (they’re cool but too rich for my blood). When you’re all done, you can dress your beautified milk can up with colorful Fall leaves like I did here and change them out with flowers or other embellishments during other seasons!
Like what you see? I’d love to hear from you! For more DIY projects, click on “DIY” in the categories tab! There, you’ll find more simple projects like my Milk Can Makeover! To be the first to know about more DIY projects, recipes or lifestyle tips/adventures, sign up for the Real Housewife of Montana Newsletter and be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter for up-to-the-minute happenings from Montana!