I always want to call them tin cans, but I don't think they are tin any more, are they? I'm trying to reuse as much as I can. The glass and plastic things with lids are easy, lots of ways to reuse or reinvent those type containers. Any great ideas for soup cans? I have seen holes in them with candles, and that's cute, but I wouldn't use it that often. I only need so many pencil holders. I have a bunch of extra herb seedlings, if I put holes in the bottom could I grow herbs in them? That might make a cute gift. I'm open to ideas. It's just garbage I'm keeping if I can't reuse it, and I don't need more garbage. Thanks Jen
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln
on the hugelkulturberms, we plant many things that will take years to grow. so we get flatten a piece of tin into a rectangle and use something like a large nail to press words (indentations) into the tin describing what it was that was planted there. Of all the ways to label things, these labels don't rust nor fade in the sun nor get lost easily.
I use them to hold pencils as you've suggested, but other uses have been pretty limited. They rust through fairly quickly when used to grow plants in, or as scoops for sanding my driveway. I once used the lid to a large industrial-sized can to paint a beautiful garden sign which lasted only a couple years before disintegrating. (I have much better luck fashioning garden signs from sheet aluminum - aluminum is forever while tin cans are for the short term.)
I think the cans are mostly steel, and may be coated with a thin layer of actual tin to make it resistant to corrosion/rust. While recycling is the least effective of the three Rs, when there's not a real use for the cans (IE, as consequence of not being resealable after being chewed up by a can opener) then returning them to the manufacturing stream via recycling does help reduce the need for mining raw materials from the earth.
You CAN use some cans to make a rocket stove. You could cook a can of beans on a rocket stove made of cans. You can.
Bad humor :D
I don't love using metal containers to start plants. You miss one watering session on a sunny day and your seedlings might all be dead. Or get rust in the soil. Poking holes in the metal will allow uncoated portions of the metal to come in contact with air and water, and cause rust. I thought about maybe using a fancy can opener that leaves a smooth edge to remove both the top and bottom of the cans (it would only work on the cans that have a lip on both the top and bottom) and then hammering the cans flat and using them as shingles. I think it would be very inferior to a roof made of a whole piece of metal, though.
You can see with only one eye open, but you'll probably run into things and stub your toe. The big picture matters.
When I was younger, my Mom made some really neat stuff out if cans. The best I can remember is that the cans were cut in narrow strips. One was a candle holder and the strips were rolled up to make 4 feet. I looked for something like it though I didn't find anything like it.
Here some to give you ideas:
Invasive plants are Earth's way of insisting we notice her medicines.
Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work.