Are you looking for a unique idea to recycle a large tin can? You are. Oh, that’s great, then we might have just the thing for you. This adorable, antique washboard that doubles up as a shelf.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

Isn’t it just the cutest? No one believes me when I tell them that we made it from an empty coffee tin and bits of scrap wood. It’s only 36.5 cm high and 18 cm wide (14 2/8″ x 7″), so it’s just perfect for a small space. If you have a really large tin can you can adapt the measurements below to make a bigger version.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

Okay, before we get to the tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!

What You Need to Make a Tin Can Washboard

You’ll need 1 large tin can that’s rippled and at least 20 cm high (about 8″). The rippled, wavy bit is important. Not all tin cans are cut from the same mold and you may need to walk around the store stroking cans through the labels to find the right one 😉 Yup, people will probably think your nuts, but that’s okay.

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You’ll also need some scrap bits of wood that are at least 2 cm (6/8″) thick, tin snips, a hammer, nails, wood glue, a rolling pin (optional) and something to cut the wood with.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's made from a tin can and scraps of wood.

Empty and wash the tin can before removing the top and bottom and cutting it in half. We’ll only be using the one half for this DIY antique washboard. You can save the other half to make this cute little outhouse that doubles up as a toilet paper holder.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's made from a tin can and scraps of wood.

Use a rolling pin to flatten the tin can. If you don’t have a rolling pin a rubber hammer or sneaker would also work. Just smack the tin can gently on a flat surface.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's made from a tin can and scraps of wood. #tincan #recycle #diyhomedecor #easyDIY

Once it’s nice and flat cut it into a square measuring 14 cm x 14 cm (5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″) and file away any rough edges.

For the frame of the washboard cut the wood into the following pieces:

  • Inside Top – 1 x 13 cm x 2 cm x 2 cm (5″ x 7/8″ x 7/8″)
  • Skirt – 1 x 13 cm x 6 cm x 2 cm (5″ x 2.5″ x 7/8″)
  • Shelf – 1 x 18 cm x 6 cm x 2 cm (7″ x 2.5″ x 7/8″)
  • Outside Top – 1 x 18 cm x 2 cm x 2 cm (7″ x 7/8″ x 7/8″)
  • Sides – 2 x 34.5 cm x 2 cm x 2 cm (13.5″ x  7/8″ x 7/8″)

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's made from a tin can and scraps of wood.

The next step is optional, but it does create a cleaner finish on the washboard. Measure 6 cm (2 2/8″) from the top of each of the side pieces and cut a slit that’s 14 cm (5.5″) long. Cut a slit all the way across the inside top and the side of the skirt. I’m hoping the photo below explains it better than I can in words. If not please let me know in the comments below. The slit helps hold the rippled piece of the tin can in place.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's made from a tin can and scraps of wood.

If you’re not keen on cutting the slits just skip that part. Your washing board will still look great, I promise.

Assembling The Tin Can Washboard

Okay, so now we can put it all together. If you went the “slitless” route (whoa that’s such a funny word, LOL), measure and mark 6 cm (2 2/8″) from the top of both the side pieces and attach the inside top on the 6 cm mark. Measure 13 cm down and attach the skirt and shelf. Finally, add the outside top and glue the piece of the tin onto the back of the washboard frame.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's made from a tin can and scraps of wood. #tincan #recycle #diyhomedecor #easyDIY

If you cut slits into wood pieces slide the piece of the tin can inside the slits, before assembling the frame in the same way.

Glue the upcycled tin can to the washboard frame

For extra storage hang two little buckets underneath the shelf.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

And add a gorgeous coffee themed graphic from The Graphics Fairy to the top of the washboard.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

The recycled tin can washboard is on it’s way to a guest house overseas, and I must admit I’m a little sad. I might just have to make another one to go with our oversized laundry tags 😉

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

I’d love to know what you think about the washboard. Is it something you’d put in your laundry room?

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

If you like the idea of upcycling a tin can into an antique washboard, don’t forget to pin it for later.

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

Caring is sharing 😉

Isn't this antique washboard just too adorable. It's a great way to upcycle a tin can and add something special to your laundry room. #tincanupcycle #laundryroomdecor #acraftymix #DIYDecor #laundrystorage #tincanrepurpose #DIYWashboard

Oh before I forget, if you don’t want to go to all that trouble and find some of the materials we used, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more crafty ideas to share with you 😉

Large Hanging Metal Safety Pins Laundry Room Wall Home Decoration - Set of 2 , Rustic
Sale First Note FN75 Musical Washboard
Laundry Sign Stencil | Perfect for Painting On Wood, DIY French Country Home Decor Calligraphy Signs, Rustic Decor for Farmhouse, Fixer Upper, Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Style

And as always, here’s wishing you a beautiful crafty week. Thank you for popping around for a visit.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

P.P.S We also made the most adorable miniature washboard ornaments that you’ll love.