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How to Repaint Old Canisters

Give old canisters a new look with paint and decals.
glass canister image by photooiasson from Fotolia.com

Give your old kitchen canisters a new look with paint and some attractive decals. Glass or metal canisters can be coated with enamel paint to achieve the kind of look you want and then covered with a coat of polyurethane to protect them. Using ink jet water transfer paper and your computer you can custom-design the image for each canister. Use images from the Internet, clip art or even photographs to get just the look you want.

Give old canisters a new look with paint and decals.
glass canister image by photooiasson from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Ink Jet Water Transfer Paper
  • Scissors
  • Images
  • Spray Polyurethane Sealant
  • Enamel Spray Paint
  • Newspaper
  • Computer And Printer

Wash the canisters with mild soap and water and dry them with a towel. The surface should be clean and dry before you paint it.

Take the canisters to a well ventilated area and place them upside down onto the newspaper. Turning them upside down prevents paint from getting inside the canisters.

Spray a light coating of enamel paint on the canister surface and allow the paint to dry. Spray paint the lids as well. Apply a second coat of paint if necessary to get the look you want.

Put the ink jet transfer paper into your printer. You can get transfer printer paper to make clear or colored decals.

Create the images you want to put on the canisters using Word or a graphics program and print them out.

Cut the images out with scissors and place them into a bowl of warm water. Leave them in the water for about 30 seconds or until the transfer slides freely on the paper backing.

Place the transfer image onto the canister and gently pull out the paper backing. Use a sponge to gently press away any air bubbles and allow the transfer image to dry. Use smaller images for the lids if you wish.

Spray the canisters and lids with a light coating of polyurethane to protect the paint and transfer images from moisture.


Use the same method to create your own decorated food storage canisters. Glass pickle jugs or large coffee tins work well and will keep the contents safely sealed in.


  • Always use paint and varnish in a well ventilated area. People with asthma or other respiratory issues should wear a gauze mask to prevent inhalation of paint fumes.
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