Trash or Toss

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By Kid’s Craft Contributor, Gillian from the blog “Dried Figs and Wooden Spools”.

I’m just going to come out and say it. My trash and recycling cans were looking kinda sad. With two kids and a dog (and a husband who isn’t always careful) the once cool and shiny flip top cans we use for both our trash and recycling have seen better days. They are a little scratched and no matter how often I clean them, not very shiny. And worse, they have ugly signs stuck on them so everyone knows where to put what. Those signs, by the way, were meant to be temporary until I could find something better. But temporary turned into “it’ll do” until I decided to give them an Earth Day spruce up.

OK, so it didn’t make them shiny and new again, and it didn’t get rid of the dent in the back of one where the kids “accidentally” knocked them into the corner of the wall, but at least the ugly signs are gone. And it’s better than getting new ones and having to send these to the dump. Besides, you almost don’t notice the scratches anymore…

Here’s what you need:

Not-so-shiny-anymore trash cans
Vinyl stick on letters
Electrical tape
Clear matte spray paint
Strips of paper

Start by giving your cans a good scrub down. They probably need it anyway. Mine did! Once they are clean and dry, use your ruler to tape one of the paper strips about 1/3 of the way down the front of the can. This will create a straight line for your stickers to sit on. Carefully stick the vinyl letters along the edge of the line to spell out “toss” or “recycle” (or whatever you want! They’re your cans after all!)

Create a box around the letters using electrical tape then mask the rest of the can with newspaper. Smooth down the letters and the tape to assure there is no seepage and spray in thin, even coats, allowing each to dry before adding the next, until the shine has gone from the surface of the can.

Once the last coat is dry, carefully peel back the tape and letters (you might need tweezers to grab the corners of the letters) and clean up any errors with nail polish remover.

Voila – fancy (almost) new trash and recycling cans! Happy Earth Day!

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About Gillian

Gillian Grimm lives in Charlottesville, Virginia where she balances writing, cooking and crafts with eight chickens, two kids, a dog, a cat and a husband. As the daughter of a Journalist, she grew up all over the United States, switching schools, towns and newspapers every few years and loved every minute of it! She now works as a freelance writer, primarily in the craft industry but with a few forays into travel writing, narrative non-fiction and educational matters. Gillian was recently published in the literary journal the “The Northville Review”. You can find more of Gillian’s work at “Dried Figs and Wooden Spools”.

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