A Crafty Mix


How to Make an Adorable Washboard From a Tin Can

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. We used a coffee tin to make this adorable, antique washboard that doubles up as a shelf.

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

Isn’t it just the cutest? No one believes me when I tell them that we made it from a coffee tin and bits of scrap wood. It’s only 36.5 cm high and 18 cm wide, so it’s just perfect for a small space.

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.

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 tin inside the slits, before assembling the frame in the same way.

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

We added two little buckets underneath the shelf and this gorgeous graphic that we downloaded from The Graphics Fairy at the top of the washboard.

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

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 made from a tin can and scraps of wood. #tincan #recycle #diyhomedecor #easyDIY

I’d love to know what you think about the washboard. Is it something you’d add to your home decor?

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 😉

First Note FN75 Musical Washboard

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.S. We used the other half of the tin can to make an outhouse toilet paper holder. If you liked this idea you might enjoy that one too 😉

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

Categories:   Craft Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts, Quick & Easy Crafts, Trash to Treasure


  • Posted: September 26, 2018 22:00


    I love it we have a really small bathroom and it needs storage space and it will work in there. (we call it our out house) cause it is soooo small
    • Posted: September 27, 2018 03:15


      😀 Love how you named your small bathroom an outhouse Joyce. That's so cool
  • Posted: August 12, 2018 15:34

    Deborah Chism

    Love the Wash board shelf. I am gonna make it and put it in my laundry room for Decor.
    • Posted: August 13, 2018 11:58


      So glad you like the washboard Deborah and that you're going to be making one. That's the best compliment ever
  • Posted: July 7, 2018 06:02

    Yolanda Reygaert

    Oh my gosh!! I love it!! I've been searching for a simple DIY for a washboard. Thank you so much!!
    • Posted: July 7, 2018 09:01


      Soooo happy you like it Yolanda. It's not the biggest washboard in the world but it sure looks the part
  • Posted: December 28, 2017 19:16

    Tsu Dho Nimh

    I am STEALING THIS! Minus the shelf, and smaller and with a different label, but it's your idea I am ripping off. I need to make accessories for an 18" doll's "Victorian workhouse orphan" outfit. Never thought to whack a can flat and use it for the "board".
    • Posted: December 30, 2017 07:07


      LOL, steal away. It always makes my heart happy when something we do inspires someone. We made teeny tiny versions too that might work for your 18" dolls
  • Posted: December 15, 2017 14:08

    Maude Laf

    Now that is my kind of wash board ....sure can't use it to wash clothes but hang it as a reminder to some of us that have used a washboard before .....yes I have too !!! Makes my Knuckles hurt just thinking about using one of these again .....lol....Really cute and I think I am going to make one for my Laundry room and one for a Key holder ...thanks for Posting .. Love it !!!!
    • Posted: December 17, 2017 04:33


      LOL Maude, those were the days. Thank goodness we have washing machines now. Maybe I should stop complaining about doing the laundry and remember how lucky we are that we don't have to do it by hand anymore 😉 Let me know how your little washboard turns out please
  • Posted: October 28, 2017 10:46

    Nancy M

    Nice! Been looking for an idea to use for a couple sets of keys near my front door. My tiny cabin (14'x24') is very rustic, and this would fit in perfectly! Thanks for sharing!
    • Posted: October 29, 2017 07:46


      That's a huge pleasure Nancy, thanks so much for your lovely comment. Let me know how it turns out, I'm sure yours will look stunning in your cabin
  • Posted: August 14, 2017 21:48


    Agree adorably cute. I like that it is functional too as a shelf.
    • Posted: August 15, 2017 11:37


      Thank you so much for that Anonymous, I really appreciate it.
  • Posted: August 14, 2017 16:54

    g lynch

    Just saw this - very imaginitive and what a great idea! Thank you for sharing your talents!
    • Posted: August 15, 2017 11:38


      Thank you so much, I'm really glad you liked it
  • Posted: August 14, 2017 16:38

    Michelle - Happy Heart Made

    Michelle, You are brilliant...love everything about it!!!
    • Posted: August 15, 2017 11:38


      Thank you Michelle :D
  • Posted: July 24, 2017 00:58

    Jas @ All that's Jas

    That is super adorable, Michelle! I'm really amazed by your creativity. You're one of a kind!
    • Posted: July 24, 2017 05:45


      Aww Jas, thank you so much. I really appreciate that
  • Posted: July 18, 2017 16:07

    Brittany Bly

    Totally impressed! What an awesome diy!!
    • Posted: July 18, 2017 16:23


      Thank you so much Brittany, I really appreciate that
  • Posted: July 14, 2017 21:17


    Oh, how creative! :) I would never have thought to use a tin can to make a washboard. I love old washboards but they're so expensive here. So now I'll just make my own! Thanks, Michelle! :D
    • Posted: July 15, 2017 13:05


      Ahhh my fav historical blog lady who's such an inspiration. Thanks so much Lina, that means a lot coming from you
  • Posted: July 1, 2017 02:40

    FLORENCE @ VintageSouthernPicks

    You are so creative Michelle! I love that! I can just see you in the store feeling up those tin cans! That will be me in the store next. I'm going to have to make this.
    • Posted: July 1, 2017 07:45


      :D LOL Florence, you're going to have soooo much fun :D
  • Posted: June 28, 2017 05:45


    I like how made the wood pieces look old. Beautiful craft! Pammy - joyfulsource.com
    • Posted: June 28, 2017 06:46


      Thanks so much Pammy. We didn't do too much with the wood other than give it a light sanding. I really wanted it to look like it had been around for a long time
  • Posted: June 26, 2017 22:11


    It looks very nice so useful. Self-realization gives you a lot of satisfaction
    • Posted: June 27, 2017 08:01


      Thank you Karolina and you're right making something for yourself or someone else is so satisfying
  • Posted: June 26, 2017 21:51


    Wow! this is so creative! I really admire your creativity and wish I could come up with things like this. It would have never crossed my mind to open a can and create something this neat.
    • Posted: June 27, 2017 07:59


      :D Thanks so much Brooke, tin cans can be so useful.
  • Posted: June 26, 2017 18:26


    This is such a great idea and such a nice craft for the home
    • Posted: June 27, 2017 07:58


      Thanks so much D
  • Posted: June 26, 2017 06:49


    Michelle, I am in awe of your creativity! What a magnificent project! You always make things look easy but I know you put a lot of effort into this from making it, to taking fantastic photos! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!
    • Posted: June 26, 2017 07:04


      Awww Maya, thank you so much. You just made my day :D
  • Posted: June 25, 2017 03:06

    Amy @ Chew Out Loud

    Oh my goodness, you are just so creative! I love what you did with this; I would never have thought of it; that's why I have creative friends to help me :)
    • Posted: June 25, 2017 08:26


      :D Right back at you Amy, without all your recipes I'd be a bit stumped :D
  • Posted: June 24, 2017 20:06

    Jia Shin Lee

    This is extremely adorable but it seems pretty easy for me to do! Gonna try it out!
    • Posted: June 25, 2017 08:27


      I'm so glad yo hear that Jia, let me know how it turns out
  • Posted: June 24, 2017 11:33


    You have outdone yourself. The washboard is darling I thought you found one and added hooks.
    • Posted: June 24, 2017 15:30


      :D I'm so glad to hear that Debra, thank you so much
  • Posted: June 24, 2017 04:28


    This is such a great idea! I am all about DIY, and never thought about doing anything like this. It seems easy enough for me to do too 😊
    • Posted: June 24, 2017 04:53


      I'm glad you like it Clair and it is real easy to do :-)
  • Posted: June 23, 2017 19:33

    shelah mos

    What an incredibly clever DIY project! The end result makes such an attractive wall decoration.
    • Posted: June 24, 2017 04:56


      Thanks so much Shelah, I'm really glad you like it
  • Posted: June 23, 2017 17:38


    I thought this was a refurbished old scrub board until I read the post. Your ideas are so novel and new. This is gorgeous Michelle you amaze me every week.
    • Posted: June 24, 2017 04:57


      Oh that's great. We can never seem to find the real thing here in South Africa. Thanks so much Leanna
  • Posted: June 23, 2017 15:06

    jodie filogomo

    I don't know how you come up with these ideas---they are brilliant!! Jodie www.jtouchofstyle.com
    • Posted: June 23, 2017 15:26


      My hubby says it's coz I'm weird and I love him for it ;-) Thanks Jodie, hope you have a happy week
  • Posted: June 23, 2017 14:08


    That is so cute! I remember when my Nana had the real ones around and used them to decorate the farm house. They are awesome! Love how well you create things and share. Thank you!
    • Posted: June 23, 2017 15:02


      What a beautiful thing to say Emily, thank you
  • Posted: June 23, 2017 13:20


    Why are you so awesome Michelle?? Your washboard is the coolest on Earth because it started with an ordinary tin and some scrap wood and ended up looking like that. Love the graphic you added too. It is definitely worth people's look at the supermarket.
    • Posted: June 23, 2017 13:38


      :D hey Pili, thank you so much my friend
  • Posted: June 21, 2017 15:48

    Nikki Jo Frank-Hamilton

    Michelle, this is so cool. I am amazed with the way you think and envision the end product. Seriously, how do you look at a can and see this cool washboard? So inspiring. I love it. You could use this in so many ways, love that it can be used for magnets and notes and reminders or in the laundry room to use as decor.
    • Posted: June 21, 2017 16:02


      Awwww where's my blush emoticon when I need it Nikki. Thank you
  • Posted: June 21, 2017 10:13

    Keri Roberts

    No way Michelle! This is seriously awesome!!! Who would have thought to make a washboard from a tin can!? Well obviously you because you did. I'm still in awe, just wow! Great job lady! :)
    • Posted: June 21, 2017 14:17


      :D Thank you Keri. Now I just have to figure out what I can do with the other half.
  • Posted: June 21, 2017 07:13

    Sarah - Craft Invaders

    What a genius make - looks adorable. I'll be one of those odd people examining cans at the supermarket now!
    • Posted: June 21, 2017 14:18


      LOL, people gave me so many funny looks. Thanks so much Sarah
  • Posted: June 21, 2017 05:11


    I'm always scared of tin cans because of the sharp ends, but now I look at them in a totally different way. I need one of these Michelle, this is so amazing, I'm really blown away! You did it again!
    • Posted: June 21, 2017 06:23


      You're right Katrin, those sharp edges can be a little scary. We found that if you use a tin snip that's really sharp the cut lines are pretty smooth. Wearing gloves is probably a good idea just in case
  • Posted: June 20, 2017 15:08


    That turned out so well! What a fun project!
    • Posted: June 20, 2017 15:13


      :D Thank you so much Carlee
  • Posted: June 19, 2017 21:55


    Oh my gosh, I love this! It's just too cute! I'd love to try and make one too!
    • Posted: June 20, 2017 05:55


      Oh that's great Carolann, I'm glad you like it. Thank you so much
  • Posted: June 19, 2017 19:34

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    This is just to cool Michelle! I LOVE it!!! Yall did a fantastic job on it! It makes an adorable little shelf.
    • Posted: June 20, 2017 05:56


      Thank you Linda. Love that I could actually hear your voice in your comment. Have a happy week my Southern friend
  • Posted: June 19, 2017 16:57


    Oh my that is one original use for tin cans. I never would have thought to open it like that and roll it out. I love the way your "weirdo" mind works. Keep it like that and just as bright. This is really adorable. I can't blame you for not wanting to give it up.
    • Posted: June 20, 2017 05:58


      LOL, Mary, us weirdos have got to stick together, right? Thanks so much, I'm glad you like it.
  • Posted: June 19, 2017 12:22

    Angie ~ ambient wares

    This is so cute Michelle! It looks exactly like a washboard. Your creative mind never ceases to amaze me :D
    • Posted: June 19, 2017 13:15


      Thank you Angie :D Don't you just love old washboards, but they're becoming so difficult to find now.