Turning Soup Cans Into Sweet Pop Art Pencil Caddies

Soup, there it is! Come on, could I pass up a chance to include this SNL clip?

The answer is no. No, I couldn’t.

Anyway, I’m beginning to think that Friday posts should be called Fast & *Almost* Free Projects since we had Sir Butterfly last week and now we have a little soup can craft that I did in honor of my good friend Andy Warhol (ok, so we’re only besties in my mind…). How cute are these guys holding some of Clara’s drawing supplies on her desk? The colors make me permasmile.

The first step was grabbing four of the limited edition tomato soup cans that Target is currently selling in honor of my buddy Andy. At 70 cents a pop, this entire project cost me $2.80 (since I already had the only other material I used on hand, but we’ll get there in a minute). First I emptied my cans of tomato soup into glass tupperware so as not to waste it (it’ll be lunch for the next few days, haha):

Then I carefully rinsed them out, doing my best not to soak the labels with water (slow and steady, baby). I let them dry out a bit upside down on a towel and even dragged a paper towel around the inside of each one to make sure no water was hiding in there.

Then it was cork templating time. Wait, maybe I should explain that a bit more. The reason for the cork was because each of the cans has an odd little edge about a quarter of an inch down from the top of the can. So while the top lip of the can isn’t sharp at all, there’s that little metal lip about a centimeter beneath it that I worried could result in Clara cutting her hand if she put it into the can and yanked it out quickly. So I did the safety-first mom thing and decided that by making a little cork liner for each can, it would completely cover that little edge that’s a smidge lower than the smooth top lip. The key was making sure the cork was tall enough to go over that lip, so there’s no way a little hand (or tongue, or toe) could rub against that part anymore, because the little cork “sleeve” would extend above it. I actually used a paper towel to make a template, like this:

Then I used my paper towel template to cut some cork rectangles of the same size:

I used old cork squares that I had (leftover from this project) to create the long rectangles that could be gently curled (don’t be too rough with them or they can crack) and slipped right into each can.

Voila. A little cork liner to keep anything from being sharp (they also look pretty charming, like those old cork-lined pen holders of yore). And the cork is super stuck in there once you get it in, so it’s above Clara’s skill level to somehow wedge it back out, which is nice peace of mind for a paranoid momma like myself.

So that’s my little $2.80 Friday project. Don’t they look cute next to Clara’s little crayon-truck masterpiece?

Here’s hoping Clara grows just as fond of my BFF Andy as I have after years of studying him along with my other artsy friends like Klimt, Vermeer, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec (FIT, represent – we were required to take a million years of art history, and only now do I appreciate that).

Any other fast and almost free projects going on this Friday? Any fun weekend plans? Any favorite artists? Oh and since I’m sure folks will ask, those awesome stick-like colored pencils are from a local shop here in Richmond called Mongrel. Since Clara’s three favorite “toys” are rocks, sticks, and sand, I couldn’t resist…


  1. says

    That is SUCH a great idea! And adorable I might add. Now showing off (more or less the lack of putting away!) my pens and pencils won’t be such a terrible idea!

  2. says

    Also, just for anyone interested in purchasing the colored pencils–who don’t live near Richmond–I have also seen them at anthro and TJMaxx. TJs actually has big ones and little ones.

    LOVE the can idea! Fun, inexpensive, and creative :)

  3. Kay says

    Justin Timberlake really needs to give up his music/acting/whatever career and join the cast of SNL.

    In other pertinent news, I will be doing this project immediately!

  4. Amber says

    Thanks for posting this! I saw these cans at Target earlier this week and ogled them for a few minutes before my fussy toddler interrupted my plans for what I could do with them. :)

  5. Jenna says

    What would you recommend to seal the paper on the outside? My 2 year old would have the most fun peeling the paper off instead of coloring! Do you think mod podge would work the best?

  6. Randa says

    So fun!! Did you get the twig pencils from Homegoods? I saw them there a few times and was mighty tempted, though I really don’t need them for our home. Finally got a pack to gift a friend. Somehow I can justify things when they are gifts. Ha ha! :)

  7. Amy P says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that saw these and wanted to do something with them! They are adorable!!!! My friend thought I was weird when I mentioned I wanted them for decorating!

  8. says

    I did the same thing with the soup cans minus the cork. By the time the third kid came the need to baby proof everything had faded away. Cork is a good idea though, the cans are a bit sharp for little ones!

  9. Ronica says

    Love it! I got some, too, but left them full and put them up on the soffit in my kitchen where I have a little collection of Americana-y kitsch kitchen things that make me happy (vintage tins from groceries, lunchboxes, gumball machine, smurf glass, etc.)

    I would second the mod podging. That will protect them and it could not be easier. Contact paper would be harder to do, but this will soak in and they will last a long time.

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