Chalkboard Kitchen Canisters and Labels – Not a Creature Was Stirring, Not Even a Mouse

Obviously, it isn’t the night before Christmas yet, because the creatures have been stirring in my pantry, and I’m not happy about it.  There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering a mouse has helped himself to foods in your pantry, and they are persistent little critters.  We live in an old house that has lots of little nooks and crannies they find their way in through.  They don’t come indoors during the summer, but in the winter, they make themselves right at home in our warm pantry.

Plastic storage containers weren’t keeping them at bay – they just chewed through the lids.  I have glass canister jars that I use for a lot of my staples, but they aren’t big enough to hold larger quantities, like full bags of potato chips, so I needed to find something else to store things in.

Just what I needed to keep the critters out of my food, came waltzing through my door recently.  Well, they didn’t waltz in exactly.  My in-laws brought  us this tin filled with cookies when they came to visit for Thanksgiving.

cookie tin

My oldest son brought home this tin full of popcorn a few days ago.

popcorn tin

Both of them are very cute Christmas tins, but the reason you see tin storage containers in the thrift stores all the time, is because people don’t want to hold onto something they can’t use year-round, and once they’ve eaten the food inside the tin, they can’t think of another way to use them.  The good news is, mice don’t like the tins either, because they can’t chew through metal, so these were going to be perfect to protect my food.

I didn’t want Christmas tins in my pantry, so I gave them a makeover as chalkboard kitchen canisters.  I just painted both tins with chalkboard paint.  You can use either the spray paint or the brush-on paint.  I brush painted the larger tin, and used spray paint on the smaller one.

I could just use chalk to label the contents inside the can, but I wanted something a little cuter, so I designed some labels for the tins.

Chalkboard Canister Labels

Here’s a blank label too, so you can create any word you want.

printable canister label

Now, you could just print these labels out (on laser paper), and decoupage them onto a tin, but I wanted mine to look more like a chalkboard, so I traced the design onto the painted tin by coloring the back side of the labels with a pencil, then turning the label over and tracing over the design with a ball point pen.

chalkboard label transfer tutorial

You can see how the design now shows up in pencil where I traced over it.  You can also use white tracing paper, rather than color the back of the label with pencil, but I didn’t have any on hand.

chalkboard lettering transfer

You could trace over the design with chalk, and it will be erasable, or you could spray over the the chalk marks with clear coat so they won’t rub off, but I opted to use a fine tip white acrylic marker to trace my letters, because I wanted them to be permanent.

chalkboard tin can

I did the other can the same way, except I drew a straight line across the bottom of the label outline on this one so it fit on tin.  This one will hold pasta.  I didn’t use the paint pens on the back sides of the tins, so I can still use chalk on them if I want to put something else in them, and hand write a label with chalk.

I rubbed chalk dust with my fingers around the tins, just so they’d look like authentic chalkboards, but that’s unnecessary if you aren’t going to actually write with chalk on them.  You will need to prime the surface if you will be writing on yours though.

chalkboard labels kitchen canisters

This should keep those critters out of the food in my pantry…but I need to get some more large cans.  Unless someone shows up with more popcorn or cookies, I’ll be hitting the thrift stores, because I know I’ll find plenty of them there!

signature closing

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  1. Great use for all of those tins we can never figure out what to do with! I’m going to be on the lookout for some at the thrift store after Christmas. I can get rid of all the old grubby plastic containers I have!

  2. I love the idea of re-purposing items. You have solved a problem for me with about 8 tins I have taking up precious space.
    thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh Angie, your post gave me one of those DUH moments, that… why didn’t I think of this!! Especially since I use chalkboard paint regularly, lampshades, refrigerator, hutch, sideboard top, doggie dresser, etc, etc. I recently built myself a hutch, stocking it with lots of staples, but no labels. Thanks so much, you always have fantastic ideas! Merry Christmas!!

  4. Love this project, Angie. And I feel for you with the Micky’s…they just make me mad & crabby: extra cleaning & $$ down the drain! So defeating. Did you know they don’t like drier sheets? I stuffed my pantry full. Good luck exterminating!

    • I didn’t know that, Lora! I’ll be stuffing my pantry full of dryer sheets now too!

      • Be careful with dryer sheets if you have pets..toxic for them..always discard 🙂
        Wonderful re purposing! ! I have a overflow area in my basement for staples & now I can individualize containers & not throw all in large plastic tub..thx

  5. Tammy Churchill says

    Merry Christmas Angie! Thanks so much for all the beauty you share, the great ideas, the free vintage printables and everything else! I love seeing glimpses into your home and the way you’ve upcycled so many cool finds into practical solutions. Your blog is a daily blessing to me and I wish you and yours the most blessed of Christmas celebrations. Tammy

  6. What a great idea!!! My grandfather used huge old tins from his store to keep feed sacks in his smokehouse and they were in perfect shape after 50 years, so I guess I’ll be using those big ones for things I store outside in our storage. We live in the country and those ittle mice love our duct work but so far haven’t made it past there. They will though.

    Those are so cute and just perfect Angie!! I’ll be looking for some tins too!

  7. Very creative and adorable-you are a smarty!

  8. Marlene Stephenson says

    You are so creative,i love this blog,thanks so much for the idea.Merry Christmas.

  9. Such a great idea, Angie…and they look so great, too! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Oh my goodness! Genius! We are fighting a loosing battle this year, the little critters are so bad! I have wanted to redo my pantry and was lost for an idea to make it a little cohesive. Chalkboard tins! Great idea! Need to make a dash to the hardware store for paint before I lose my sanity. Thank you! Thank you!

  11. Of course this is a great idea! And lovely besides.

    But have you thought about adopting a cat? I live in the woods and I have voles and squirrels (this is Alaska) outdoors and in outbuildings but nary a one in the house in 40 years. The pests seem to know it’s just too risky to come into the warm house – even at well below zero.

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Christmas Eve where not a creature is munching in your pantry other than you…..

    • LOL – Sherry, we have TWO cats that are both indoor/outdoor cats, and they kill them constantly around the house outside, but the critters are too abundant for even them to keep up with.

    • Too funny#! I have 2 cats & they still come in my basement. Haven’t seen any on my main level.Like this idea to organize individually using something they can’t enter!

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