When I was younger, I used to be very jealous of the kids whose birthday is in the summer months. Their parties always seemed much cooler to me, because they could do things like going swimming or a BBQ – anything outdoors basically. My birthday is in October, which is a really undecided month in a way. It’s not particularly hot and not cold enough for snow. As a child, that bugged me a lot. The little girl I’ve been babysitting for some years now got it even worse, if you ask her. Her birthday is on Christmas Eve. While other children get presents on two separate days of the year, she only gets them once (which, apparently, is a disaster for a 7-year-old!).

So, I’ve been planning for some time that this year will be different for her and decided to make a Christmas themed canny birthday DIY (Wow, what a tongue twister!). Now, here’s what I came up with!

Christmas on the Outside, Birthday on the Inside

Of course, you can use empty cans as lanterns or Advent wreaths during the holiday season, but there are many other alternatives, since cans are absolute allrounders. This time, however, I settled on a more versatile DIY. I will use cans, decorate them in a Christmassy fashion and use it as gift packaging for the beautiful coloured pencils I bought for the little girl. This is also a great project to keep children busy and creative at birthday parties.

Here’s What You Need for the DIY Allrounder

  • A random number of empty cans (If you’re planning to do this DIY as part of a birthday party, remember to start collecting them early enough. At best, you save more cans than children are invited, so that it is no problem, if they screw up on the first try.)
  • Acrylic colours (the more the better)
  • Clear varnish
  • Some pretty ribbons, googly eyes, gems or whatever floats your boat

You Need Instructions? Say No More, Here They Come!

  1. We know that we always say this, but when you let children handle the cans, it is extremely important: Use a safety can opener so that there are no sharp edges. Nothing ruins a children’s birthday party like crying children who cut their fingers.
  2. Decide on a design. Anything is possible: From Santa Claus and his reindeers to a snowman or gingerbread men.
  3. Arm the children (or yourself) with plenty of colours and brushes and get started. If you need it, print out a stencil beforehand, but, personally, I love imperfect results (especially those made by children).
  4. Apply one or two coatings of clear varnish, so that you can keep your canny decoration for the next years.
  5. Lastly: Pimp up your result with all the decoration you like. I decided on the reindeer design and used a crown cork as nose and some googly eyes.

I Built a Canny Reindeer – What Now?

Good question, I’m glad you asked! It is completely up to you, what you want to use it for. I already did this DIY last year, when my budget for Christmas presents was really low and filled the cans with candy bars. My mother kept her snowman-themed can and uses it as a flower pot this year for a tiny little Christmas tree and it looks amazing! Of course, you can also just stack them on top of each other or scatter them around your living room and underneath the tree. However you like to use them, I can guarantee two things: They are really fun to make and bring a nice Christmas feeling and look into your home and, in my case, a smile on a little girl’s face.

Of course, this DIY is also great for birthday parties that are not during the holiday season. Just let your creativity run free when it comes to the designs. 🙂 But don’t forget to recycle the cans correctly once you no longer need them, so that they can re-enter the recycling cycle (click here for more information on this).

Did you ever use cans for Christmas decoration? What did you make of them?

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