Happy Fall Ya’ll!
I am sure many of you, like us, have been out collecting leaves and acorns and pinecones and whatever other nature treasures you’ve been finding with your kids in the great outdoors.  This is just THE best time of the year to be out and about exploring and enjoying the beauty of God’s earth.  If you haven’t been out much, ya better get out there quick–you know how quickly fall’s glory fades into winter’s long cold.

Several months ago, I came across an old post for creating a nature collecting can that kids could take with them on their outdoor adventures and fill with their special nature “treasures” while they explore.

I decided straightaway that we had to make our own, since my children are always handing ME everything they find along the trail. 
Well, that was last spring.  And though we made our cans at that time, I never got around to blogging about it, even though they have been used repeatedly over the months. 
Lately, the kids have been bringing their cans in stuffed full of fall leaves, mushrooms, acorns and much more as they play in the woods, or in the backyard. 

Anyway, I thought it was high time I shared this post with a step by step tutorial.
In addition to the instructions I found online, we also SEALED ours with Outdoor Mod Podge to make them waterproof.  The last thing I wanted to do was ruin our cans after one trip into the woods.  I wanted them to be able to be used over and over again.
My older kids worked with me to design and make their can, but I had fun making this owl can mostly by myself since it was for my two year old.

Nature Collecting Can Instructions:

You’ll Need:
-Old pair of (adult sized) blue jeans
-Fabric scissors
-Emptied circular can (tin-lined cans hold up better than oatmeal cans)
-Felt scraps (or fabric, or paper)
-Craft /tacky glue
-Ribbon or a non-fraying material
-“Outdoor” Mod Podge
-Foam brush
-Exacto knife

Remove any paper from outside of can.

Cut off a section of old blue jeans that is large enough to completely cover the can.

Apply using tacky glue.

Be careful not to cover the lip at the top of the can  if you want to be able to use the lid on it once it is finished.

Begin gluing on whatever design you want.

To hide the seam where the jean material comes together, glue decorations directly over top of it.

Here I placed a hill and a tree directly over my seam to hide it.

Continue decorating can all the way around. 

Now, I used felt on this one, but any thinner fabrics or papers could be used and would seal flatter than felt when Mod Podge is applied.

Alternatively, you could paint a design on your can.  It really doesn’t matter what materials you use as long as you do the most important step which is to seal it.

Ok, time to make the straps for your nature collecting can.
Cut out both of the inside seams from the legs of the blue jeans.

Cut two small holes at the top of the can (on opposite sides) with an exacto knife. 

Pull the blue jean straps through it, then knot them on the inside. 

Repeat with the other end, and now you have straps for carrying your can!  Edge along the top of the can with a ribbon or a thin piece of felt (this step not shown).

Once all decorations and straps are in place, use the foam brush to apply a thick layer of Outdoor Mod Podge. 
If you use felt, you’ll notice a LOT of the Mod seems to soak into the felt.  That’s ok; just keep applying until you cover the entire design. 
Allow it to dry for several hours, then apply the second coat of Mod.  I just hung ours up from the straps to let dry.
Once dried, you can replace the lid to the canister if you desire (we didn’t).

The pretty nature can shown above with the birds on it was also covered in old blue jean material first, and then my daughter and I used thinner fabrics and papers to make the birch trees and the little birdies.  I liked how everything lays a little flatter on that one, and it was easier to cover in Mod Podge than the mostly felt-decorated canister.
But honestly, the Mod seals everything in so nicely, that you could use almost any type of fabric or paper to decorate your can, so just use what you have on hand and be creative.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
Time to get outside and start collecting those nature treasures!
See ya soon!

5 thoughts on “Nature Collecting Can

  1. Becki Lewis

    I just found out about link-ups a while back. I’ve loved doing them, so I thought I’d try one myself. It’s super easy so far!

    I have the same problem with trash… I just cleaned the mountain of empty food boxes off of my fridge. I used them to make drawer organizers, and the rest became a set of blocks which the girls seem to love. I have saved money though by reusing. Could you imagine how much all of those plastic drawer organizers would have cost?

    I am featuring your idea on tomorrow’s link-up. I hope you stop back and share again!

  2. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Hello and nice to meet you, Rosilind.
    Thanks for commenting. Though I’ve never been to Croatia, my husband and I enjoyed two summers in Czech Republic with Josiah Venture missions, and from what I understand Croatia is absolutely beautiful, and many Europeans vacation there.
    blessings to you in Jesus 🙂

  3. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Hi Becki.
    Thanks, and thanks for offering a Link-up. I’ve never actually done one of those, lol,but I gave it a try and it seemed easy enough.
    How funny that you are also covering your canisters in denim! It’s so hard for me to throw half my “trash” away because I’m always thinking of other ways to use it. 😀
    blessings, friend!

  4. Becki Lewis

    This is great! I don’t know how I missed it before, but thank you for posting it on my Eco Kids Linky! I have been saving all of our cans like those to make drums for my music studio, and just recently I started using jeans to cover them too! I guess great minds think alike. LOL

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