a trio of milk cans.

A few weeks back my neighbor, nnK, spotted some old milk cans that were being given away, so she grabbed them for me.

I feel like milk cans often come dangerously close to looking like bad 80’s decorating.  Like if they are painted in a black and white cow hide pattern, or maybe with a goose or something on them.

But I think I was able to give these a bit of an update, and now they’d be perfect in the garden.

To start out, I scrubbed them up with some dishwashing soap and then left them to dry.  Once dry, I sprayed all three of them with some clear, matte finish spray sealer to seal any remaining flaking paint and rust.

Next, I started with the black can and simply stenciled it with a stencil from Maison de Stencils and some Dixie Belle paint in Sawmill Gravy.

I moved on to the smaller, really rusty can.  This time I used a white transfer from re.design with prima.  This is just a section from their Beautiful Home transfer.

I recently discovered that quite a few of their transfers are being ‘retired’ and this is one of them.  You may still be able to get it from a retailer who has it in stock, but once they are gone there will be no more.

The white really popped on that rusty can.

The final can had some great chippy remnants of green and blue paint.  To dress it up a just a little, I added a section from one of my all time favorite transfers, Everyday Farmhouse.

Sadly, this transfer is being retired as well.  Boo hoo.  I’m definitely going to miss it.  It added just the right touch to the final milk can.

For all three of the milk cans, I added another coat or two of the matte spray sealer after stenciling/adding a transfer.  I wanted to give them just a little extra durability for use outside.

So, what do you think of my upgrades?

As always, thank you to re.design with prima, Dixie Belle Paint Co and Maison de Stencils for providing some of the products used on today’s projects.

20 thoughts on “a trio of milk cans.

  1. You did right by those old milk can. I had to giggle because I totally remember the 80’s milk can trend. No porch was complete without one. But you took an old farm piece of equipment and pretty much honored its simplicity and usefulness. They look great and would be the perfect place to put a pot of bright flowers. Thanks for another fun project. NNK is such a great neighbor.


    1. You always come up with the neatest ideas! It’s amazing how much stencils and transfers can improve the looks of things.


  2. When I first read the title of your post the hair on the back of my neck prickled! Milk cans conjure up bad decor memories best left in the past. As usual, you managed to rescue them by combining their individual personalities and your spot-on skill at embellishing tastefully. Each is a gem and will be snatched up quickly. Are they destined for Reclaiming Beautiful?


    1. Sounds like I accomplished my mission to give them an update, thanks Kim! And yes, these will be heading off to Reclaiming Beautiful this week.


  3. Such a great transformation! I have several old milk cans and thought the same..1980’s vibe. But you brought them up to date. They are a great inspiration! Again you are the queen of “up-do’s”! I truly love your work. If I was closer my home would be filled!
    Smiles, Alice


  4. Gorgeous! I remember those 80’s milk cans too, but am proud to say I never jumped on that particular band wagon. Lol. Love the “bee” can especially…it’s a shame they retire some of those. Good job, as always. And good pickens to NNK as well.


  5. Hi, Do you sell directly from your home any more? I live just a couple miles from you. I think I might be interested in the Farmers Market milk can. If not, no worries. I could take a drive to the shop.Thank you,RobinSent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device


  6. I have 3 milk cans…all plain. They need repainted but it’s not on my list right now. Although I really like those stencils/transfers! And it surely wouldn’t take long to spray paint. Maybe that should go on my “soon” list!


  7. Longer than I’ve been alive, my family has had an old milk can from the ‘80’s. As in the 1880’s. It was from the homesteading family that were the original settler owners of my family’s property. We also have a large trunk and a clothes washing plunger. The can has been sitting in my Mom’s garage just waiting for a new purpose. Thanks to you, I have found it!


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