This year our family is leaving the cloudy Pacific Northwest and road-tripp’n it to Ventura, California for the 4th of July. My father is a camp host on the beach and I would not pass up a week or two in sand for anything, but this means that our Fourth of July needs to be portable and outdoor friendly. So I am going with a picnic theme and dressing up the trailer and picnic table. I decided to make fabric can wraps, washi tape treat boxes and a napkin holder, a bunch of bunting, and a PUL bowl cover. Tonight I am going to show you how easy it is to turn tin cans into a fabulous center piece with a little bit of fabric and some elastic. Tomorrow you can come back and see how to make a few different types of buntings, then Leah will finish the week with her Phat Friday tutorial which will be a perfect addition for your 4th of July picnic attire! On Monday I’ll show you a mini tutorial using washi tape, plastic baby food boxes, and a metal napkin holder. Then on Tuesday you can sew along with us and make the bowl cover.
My kids really enjoyed this project because the recycling was just picked up the other day and I need some empty cans, so they got to create a lunch using any cans they wanted too. They choose burritos, pineapples, and peas for lunch. Interesting, but doable. After lunch was completed I washed out the cans and got started.
Empty and Clean Tin Cans (or try Mason Jars)
First thing you need to do is measure the height and width of your cans. If you have a serger you will only need to add an inch to your height. If you do not have a serger you need to add 1.5 to 2 inches to your height. I also added 2 inches to my width so that I would get a nice gather to my fabric. Once you know your measurements cut out your material to match and cut out your elastic to the true width (not with the extra 2 inches).
Next you need to create a casing for your elastic. If you have a serger go ahead and finish the raw edges of the long-side of the fabric, then fold it (WRONG sides together) allowing room for the width of your elastic (3/4 to an inch). If you DO NOT have a serger; press the raw edges of the long side of the fabric down and then fold the fabric again allowing room for the width of your elastic and re-press it.
Because this is just for fun and going on a tin can (or over a mason jar if you like that look better) I am going to cheat and insert my elastic now. Attach one safety pin to each side of your elastic piece. Using one of the safety pins attach one end of your elastic to one end of your fabric and then feed the other safety pin through your casing and attach it to the other end of the fabric. Repeat this for the bottom casing, as well.
Now fold your cover in half with the RIGHT-sides together and without letting go of your elastic undue the safety pins on the top. If you are using a serger just gently pull on the elastic, so that it is longer than the fabric, and line up the raw edges of the fabric. Run it through the serger being sure to stop once you are near the bottom to undue the lower safety pins and gently pull on those elastic pieces as well. If you do NOT have a serger you will do the same thing on your sewing machine but I would suggest using a zig-zag stitch and then running a straight stitch through that.
All you need to do now is fill it with silverware, napkins, straws, flowers, popcorn….you get the point. Make one or make a bunch. Go rustic and wrap a tin can with twine and add that into the mix. These look great on Mason Jars too, but with 5 kids and 980 miles in the car, I am not sure glass jars will survive!