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 doubles up as a shelf.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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″)
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.
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.
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.
For extra storage hang two little buckets underneath the shelf.
And add a gorgeous coffee-themed graphic from The Graphics Fairy to the top of the washboard.
The recycled tin can washboard is on its 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 😉
I’d love to know what you think about the washboard. Is it something you’d put in your laundry room? Oh BTW, you can make teeny, tiny versions of this antique washboard too.
If you like the idea of upcycling a tin can into an antique washboard, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring 😉
Oh before I forget, if you don’t want to go to all that trouble to 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 😉
And as always, here’s wishing you a beautiful crafty week. Thank you for popping around for a visit.