cans6 My friends keep asking me if I’m less stressed “this time around….” They wonder if since this is my second wedding, I’m less intense or less interested in all the little details…

Um… Nope. I’m still every bit as crazy as I was the last time.

Let me be clear though: I’m not the bride that is dictating that the bridesmaids have identical hairdo’s or that felt the urge to spend thousands on a wedding dress. Oh no. My bridesmaids (might I point out my life long best friends and sister in laws) have been given one detail: Wear navy and have alcohol standing by for me. Simple right? Oh, and my wedding dress? Um, the groom is wearing Burberry and the bride is wearing J.Crew.  Does this get me the coolest bride of the year award yet, or what?

Unfortunately, the cool and calm shtick stops there though because as a DIY and party decor addict, unlike the world of bridal a decade ago, I now have Pinterest to blame for inundated inspiration and blogger friends like Eden of Sugar and Charm to share amazing ideas. Shortly after I got engaged, Eden and I had lunch. I shared with her my vision for my “Grapes of Wrath Chic” wedding and on the shelf of the restaurant we were at was an old crushed tomato can. Hmm… Eden suggested I “do something like that…” So I did a little search on the internet, found a great blog post from Organize & Decorate Everything and soon enough, I had my very own Breaking Bad type factory underway.


-CANS, of course! ( I had a family member who works in a school district collect tons from the cafeterias)

Birchwood/Casey Plum Brown Barrel Finish (this is used for for cleaning a gun or something. So you can probably find at a gun supply store, but I opted for Amazon instead). I had about 52 cans, so I purchased 2 bottles of this.

Birchwood/ Casey Cleaner/Degreaser

-Rag  (to apply the cleaner)

-Tooth Brush (to apply the plum brown)

-rubber gloves to keep your hands from burning off (half kidding)

-Hot plate or Electric Stove Top

**Note: It was hard to take pictures of the process for fear my kitchen was going to explode. Making these cans are not that hard to do, but it definitely requires some patience and some prep work, and if you can, an extra pair of hands. The Plum Brown and Degreaser are crazy toxic smelling so if you do decide to do this inside, I would suggest doing it with all the windows open. I also suggest wearing an apron and lining your counters or table with plastic Trash bags and wearing glasses to protect your eyes. I’m one cautious DIY-er. What can I say?!


cans1 -Peel off all of the labels. It’s okay to leave the glue on. Aside from the fumes, I found that it actually gave it a cool effect when it got burnt.

-Pour some of the Cleaner Degreaser on a Rag.

-Rub the liquid all over the outside of the can with the rag. (I only did outside of cans)

-Dry off the liquid with another dry rag.

-Dip a toothbrush into the Plum Brown. Brush it (up and down) on the can. I started at the bottoms and worked my way around. Then the middle, then the top. I probably dipped 4-5 times. I did this over the plastic bag and set the wet cans that were ready to “get rusty” in the sink”

-Using Tongs, lift the can from the sink and place on your hot plate (if you have it) or directly on the stove top (at a medium flame) for about 20-30 seconds. The tongs are great because you can use it to turn the can to get the heat everywhere. You’ll see the can start to get rusty. The plum barrel will likely drip on to your stove or hot plate but with a little scrubbing, it does come up.

Don’t touch the cans! They get hot so let them cool off! Once they’ve cooled off, it’s time for labels!



-I found a great shop on Etsy called Labelstone. They had the exact vintage fruit and vegetable labels I was looking for to go.

-There was no rhyme or reason when choosing what label I’d use for what can. I just went for it!

-I used a tape runner on the edges of the labels and a couple in the middle and stuck/wrapped them around the can.

cans8 cans4 cans5



These cans will be used throughout our reception. On the reception tables, they’ll be put on top of reclaimed wood table runners (also from a fab find on Etsy), and positioned in clusters with mismatched cut crystal punch cups used for votives and a desert plate which I’ll stencil for table numbers.

So there you have it! Vintage cans +crazy bride =  A very happily ever after.


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