Kitchen Canisters, take 2: Winter Pinterest Challenge

A couple blogs I follow, Katie (Bower Power), Sherry (Young House Love) and Michelle (Decor and the Dog) – plus Megan (The Remodeled Life), who is new to my blog feed – threw down a winter Pinterest challenge. They challenged us to tear ourselves away from the Pinterest boards and pick a project to actually complete. Get stuff done, instead of just dreaming about it. I am trying to keep this blog fairly kitchen/food orientated, so I was first drawn to my food board. (Hence the rash of Pinterest recipes you’ve seen from me in the last week.) I hunted through my pinned recipes and some other recipes on the food board. Nothing seemed “big” enough. Dr. Seuss Cookies and Chicken Pot Pie. Meh. So then I hopped over to my organization board and realized I had a couple kitchen related things on there that would be perfect for this challenge. I had thought about tackling a few different kitchen organization projects there, but realized with a trip to Iowa to see E’s sister and our already taxed schedule – I should keep it simple. [Warning: the following blog post is a little long. Mostly because of an exorbitant amount of pictures.]

I decided to tackle my flour and sugar canisters. Here was my current set up:


Function, but no form. They were tupperwares someone didn’t want anymore and passed on to me. The lids held the measuring cups and the tupperwares themselves held about two quarts. For the most part they worked well, except they didn’t really pour. Instead the flour would sit in a pile until it all came tumbling out, dusting the whole counter with flour.

I hunted around on Pinterest and found a couple good ideas:

My first step was to go to the container store and find a couple canisters I like. I found both of the ones pictured here, but there were other ones that I liked a little more. The one I liked the most was exactly like the cookie jar I grew up with. A glass, square-ish base with a round metal screw-on lid. They were each four or five dollars, so I felt ok getting them with the possibility that I would screw them up and have to buy replacements. I also liked that I could add a pop of color by painting the lid too. Lets call it my subconscious still wishing I could have one last cookie before bedtime, so I bought the cookie jar look alikes.

I decided to do a take on the 1, 2, 3 numbered canisters above, detailed more On at Home with the Hatfields, and use acrylic paint (since I also had plenty on hand) to paint the words Flour and Sugar on the canisters. I used big labels and just printed the words out on it and then used a scissors to cut the words out. (Home with the Hatfields recommends using an exacto knife, but I’m just not as handy with one of those for these teeny letters. Instead I used a scissors and then just used tape to recover the lines I had to make to start my cuts with my scissors.)


I toyed with a couple different color options: royal blue, red, charcoal. Finally I decided to play off of a color in the jars I keep by my stove.

DSCF4775I wanted something that would work with that bottom stripe of color there. Something much bolder, but in the same family. This shot is kind of washed out, but I put it in the aqua/turquoise family. I mixed up some paints to come up with a deep teal color, and while I was at it decided to paint the lid of the doggie treat jar too.

DSCF4778It bled through the label a bit, but I figured I could just scrape it off with an exacto knife. After I painted the letters on I sealed the acrylic paint with a clear sealant and then pulled the label off for the big reveal!

Ruh, roh. Here’s what I think went wrong:

  1. My lettering was too fine.
  2. I applied the paint too thick.
  3. I sealed the paint with the label on the jar, so when I pulled the label off the paint came with it. I essentially fused it all together.

So, I scrubbed up my jars and started over again. This time keeping things simple and just using an F and an S in big blocky font. My sister, Michelle, also had a great idea that I reverse the letters out. So I’d paint around the letter so the letter would be clear and the contents of the jar would show through.

DSCF4780I wanted the square around the letters to have rounded corners, so I used a printed label sheet with a rounded square cut out and then taped over the top with painters tape.


When it was mostly dry I started pulling up the labels and realized the paint wanted to peel up again. Not so much as before, but it was still pulling up some. To fix that I used my exacto knife to score the edges of everything so the label had a break line around it. Then I peeled everything off.

DSCF4786You can see there was still some bleeding and parts that needed cleaning. I used my exacto knife yet again to scrape that off (it comes up really easily, so go slow!) Then I took them outside to seal. Except I live in Minnesota, so outside right now is a bad idea. It’s also a bad idea to use spray paint in a unventilated area, so I just worked in the garage with the garage door opened.

DSCF4802I taped around the outside of the letters again to try to limit the amount of lacquer that I’d have to scrape off later. I used Krylon’s Make it Last Clear lacquer. It dried very quickly; didn’t leave any additional residue, discoloration, or bubbles; and so far has sealed everything up great. It won’t stand up to a heavy bristle brush, but a soft cloth and quick wipe is just fine.

DSCF4805When I was done and pulled up the tape I was left with this. A foggy letter and a visible ring around the square. I was worried about scraping this off without hurting the paint, but there was no reason to worry. It was quick work with my trusty exacto knife again. After I cleaned around the square I didn’t mind the foggy letter so much and decided to leave it. It kind of looked like frosted glass. But when I rinsed the jars off in the sink the lacquer on the letters started bubbling up. It adhered just fine to the paint, but not the glass. I again scored around the letter and then used a little water to loosen the sealant up. It peeled up in one or two big strips per letter. After they were washed and filled up, I was left with this:

DSCF4810So happy! I decided to move them to the other side of the kitchen on an open countertop I had. I was first worried that it would be strange to have them next to the doggie treats, but I just loved how the lids all tie together and the glassware works so well. The dogs are part of the family too – no need to hide their treats under a paper bag or anything! I brought out some cinnamon sticks and a glass jar of baking cocoa to finish off the little baking/glassware area. I also was really happy with this arrangement because they tie in with mantle I have in the front room. My open floor plan means the colors I put in my kitchen kind of need to work with the dining room, which needs to work with the front room, which needs to work with the entryway. And it does, check it out:

DSCF4809Turquoise candlesticks and vases in the front room and, oh look, a pop of turquoise in the kitchen. Isn’t she clever?

The best thing about this project was that it inspired me to rearrange the rest of my kitchen too.

DSCF4812I put my Colorado trout cookie jar from E’s Grandma B where the old flour and sugar canisters used to be. It’s so much more open under this cabinet now, I love it. Plus my food scale seems much more accessible now that it’s not fighting for space with the flour and sugar.

DSCF4816 DSCF4818My little red book of recipes found a new home and instead I put a bowl of teas and via coffee in the corner. I love that when I have company I can just put this out on the table with the teapot instead of reading off the list of a half dozen teas we have. It’s a fun pop of color, and I went a little wild and put a bamboo bowl inside a glass bowl. I just love how the glass looks there in the corner, but it still has a pop of wood to tie in to the cutting board and cabinets.


The little red book of recipes went where the cookie jar used to be and I stacked it on top of a vintage Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book I inherited from my mom, who probably inherited it from her mom. I was so glad I paired all of this together because I think the red and yellow of the cookbook work so much better there next to the terribly impractical rooster of measuring spoons. And peeking out in the corner is a decorative cutting board I painted when I was probably 12 or 13. I can still remember sitting in my aunt Pam’s basement working on it, having a terrible time managing the paint brush. She did a great job doctoring up my shoddy painting job. Seeing that cutting board in my kitchen now is such a sweet reminder of her to me.

Here’s another shot of the whole kitchen:


Can you tell in this crummy picture how the teal in the flour and sugar canisters kind of pull out the really subtle color in the jars by the stove? Well it does. And the dog bone on the doggie treat jar works with the coloring of the confused dog? I imagine he’s sitting there wondering what sort of lunatic would be taking pictures of an empty kitchen. Yeah, that’s me.

Lets get one last shot of the new awesome canisters, because I know you just can’t get enough.

DSCF4824Exciting stuff, people. It is for me anyhow. No more talking about finding a new sugar and flour canister, I got ’em done! Tadah! And I think I’ll still use the old containers to keep brown sugar and powdered sugar in; I’ll just keep them stored hidden away in a cabinet. This project was a lot of fun to do, but took way more time than I expected. Chelsea said she did it during a nap time; either her baby takes some looo-ooong naps or my lettering was just more involved. E kept reminding me of K.I.S.S. throughout this whole project. No, I don’t mean the band and I don’t mean he was kissing me (though I’m not saying that didn’t happen either.) I mean, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Not sure I really listened very well… Regardless, I love how this turned out! What projects are you ticking off your list? Any Pinterest projects?

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the projects Megan, Katie, Sherry, and Michelle put together and see all the other projects submitted at the bottom of each of these blogger’s Pinterest posts.

Now I just need to find some scoops or measuring cups to keep in the jars (finding a measuring cup every time I need to measure out sugar or flour is for the birds). Lets hope I don’t put that off for as long as I did the canisters!


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