My Material Life

How to Can Flowers, Pencils & Paintbrushes

First, buy a can of soup or what have you and eat it up. Then remove the label and wash your can. (Be careful with this. Remember that the upper interior edge of your can is likely to be sharp. Now take a good look at your bare can. It may not need anything to dress it up. That can holding the paintbrushes is nice and shiny with an interesting ridge pattern; it looks great even without that golden bit of wool. But the other can is a little dull; it needed something. That something is a cosie or if you prefer, a sweater. I’ll show you how I dressed these cans. After that, all you do to can your flowers, pencils and paintbrushes is insert them in your can – with water for the flowers, of course.

I dressed this duller can with a striped cosie or tube that I made with a stick loom made from twenty-five narrow craft sticks glued to the cardboard tube from a used up roll of duct tape. I love the contrast of the grey with those vibrant warm colors. The knit tube was interesting enough from the right side, but when I turned it inside out I got this …

mml can cosie

What does it look like to you? Knitting, weaving? It’s different, right? I’m kind of crazy about it. Now if you don’t have a stick loom around the house and you don’t want to make one, but you like the idea of dressing an aluminum can in a sweater, you can knit a flat piece and seam your short ends to make a tube. For the paintbrush can I used garter stitch to knit a 2-1/2″ by 7″ rectangle. But it really doesn’t take that long to glue twenty-five sticks to a cardboard tube.

Want to give it a try? Take a look at the following posts for more on the how-to of knitting with diy stick looms:

Attack of the Knitting Nancys

Toilet Paper Roll Knitting Idea #15: Padded Hanger Makeover

Toilet Paper Roll Knitting Idea #8: Summer Skinny Skarf

The last post in the list above shows you how to bind off a flat piece of knitting on a stick loom. The method is the same for binding off a tube, but you need to do one more thing with the last loop you pull from the loom to close your circle. You need to take that loop and bring it under and through the first stitch that was bound off before pulling your yarn tail through it and pulling it tight.

To create the stripes I “carried up” my grey yarn – I didn’t cut it at all as I alternated one row of grey with one row of color. I did cut each piece of the more colorful yarns after they were used in a row. When I was done knitting my tube I knotted each row of color’s two tails together. This created what looks like a seam at the joins. I didn’t bother to weave the ends in. Just threaded them through to the wrong side and trimmed them. Stripes are often more trouble, but so worth it.




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