Repurposing Coffee Canisters – Removing The Print

by Texas Homesteader ~
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As bonafide coffee drinkers, we have no shortage of empty coffee canisters to repurpose.

For some repurposes I use the coffee can as-is. Others I painted. But for food-storage purposes I wanted to leave the canister unpainted. I found removing the print proved to be much more difficult than I thought.

Scrubbing the canister, using nail polish remover, paint thinner – even a straight-edge blade wouldn’t remove that print! 

Hummmm…  this is going to take a little more investigation…

I like to repurpose those coffee canisters but how do you remove the print? It was more complicated than I thought but there's a secret #TexasHomesteader

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Various Coffee Can Repurposes

I’ve written before about repurposing those handy empty coffee canisters to a new life.

They’ve been used in my garden to simplify chores, and I’ve painted them & planted things in them for my patio. And those painted canisters make a cute presentation when I want to share plants with friends too.

But recently I had a foodsy-type repurpose I wanted to do with them. I wanted to make food canisters with a few. And since I would be using them for storing food I didn’t want to paint the canister.

I dunno, it’s probably fine, but I worried about whether with repeated use the paint might fleck off or even get mixed in with our food. To me it just wasn’t worth the risk

Sneaky Trick To Keep Us From Removing Print!

As I was using a straight-edge razor blade to attempt to scrape off the writing I noticed a curious thing. The color of the writing was staying, but I was scraping away a clear coating over the print. 

Aaaaahhhh…  Sneaky, Folgers! So that’s why my efforts to remove your marketing weren’t working! 

My first line of defense was to remove that clear coating so the advertising-printed surface could be exposed.

This was actually the easiest step of all. The razor was simply used to scrape the entire clear surface of the printed area.

I like to repurpose those coffee canisters but how do you remove the print? It was more complicated than I thought but there's a secret #TexasHomesteader

Now that my advertising print area is exposed, let’s see how to get that print off.

A rag dotted with nail polish remover followed by vigorous scrubbing was only moderately successful at removing the print.

Dang, this is going to take all day! What have I signed up for, here?  Sheesh!

So I placed an old rag over the printed area and saturated it with nail polish remover. I allowed that saturated rag to sit and do it’s thing for a few minutes before attempting again. 

This time it was more successful. The print was softened and the razor was able to scrape it off much better. It still took quite a bit of doin’ to get all the print removed.

I like to repurpose those coffee canisters but how do you remove the print? It was more complicated than I thought but there's a secret #TexasHomesteader

But even then it still didn’t leave a clean surface. Now there was a gooey semi-colored layer remaining that the nail polish remover just wasn’t taking off. 

(shakes fist in the air) Dang Folders, what are you doing to me here??!!

Finally Removing The Rest Of The Print

Hearing my frustration, RancherMan came over to investigate. He mentioned that Goo-Gone is supposed to be good at removing sticky residues.

Alrighty then, let’s give that a try. I mean, I’m already pretty time-invested here #aminot?

A little goo-gone sprayed on the surface and allowed to sit for a minute or so followed by a vigorous rubbing finally garnered success!

I like to repurpose those coffee canisters but how do you remove the print? It was more complicated than I thought but there's a secret #TexasHomesteader

In the end, removing the print from that coffee canister was more time consuming than I thought it would be. Plus required a three-pronged approach. 

I first had to scrape away the clear coating to expose the painted surface. Then I needed to soak to soften that print using a rag saturated with nail polish remover. Finally, *Goo-Gone was needed to remove the remaining residue.

Cleaning The Canisters

After those three steps I brought my canister into the house and wet it down with my spray bottle of grease-cutting soap cleaner.  Then I sprinkled the surface with baking soda using my repurposed shaker  that I keep under the sink. 

My homemade pot scrubber gave a thorough cleaning followed by a quick rinse. Finally, all done!

Although removing the paint took some time & elbow grease, I’m really glad I did it for my next projects.

Food-Themed Repurposes

I’ll be using coffee canisters to myself a simple, vintage-look bread box as well as a flour canister for my kitchen. Since the area has been cleaned of any product printing, I can get cute chalkboard labels and write on them with a white paint pen.

I love the way they turned out. And since the canisters don’t have paint added to the surface, I’m not worried about what might be flaking off into our food like I would it they’d been painted.

Repurposing coffee canisters for cute vintage kitchen items - bread box and flour canister. #TexasHomesteader

I suppose you could do an entire canister set this way. Either with all the canisters being one side, or by buying various sizes of coffee to get different heights for your canisters. You could have one for flour, one for sugar, and one for tea.

You could make them into canisters for rice or beans. Whatever you like to store. And the red and black colors of these Foldger’s cans  look nice on the countertop. So let your imagination run wild!


Coffee Canister Repurpose Ideas:

More Repurposed Coffee Canister Ideas

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15 thoughts on “Repurposing Coffee Canisters – Removing The Print


    Question how do u get smell out of canisters

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      After the coffee canister is empty I wash it with soap, baking soda & water. I often follow up with washing it in the dishwasher too. If coffee smell remains I’ll set the canister in strong sunshine for a few days. Typically that does it. If not, the smell is very faint and doesn’t affect the taste of anything stored in it. The coffee scent disappears completely over time. ~TxH~

  2. RK Henderson

    The easiest and cleanest way to get glued labels off #2 plastic is to fill the container with 200-degree water, wait ten seconds or so, and peel them off. (#2 melts at not much more than that, so use a thermometre to measure the temperature of the water. Also, you’ll probably need gloves, a dishtowel, or an oven mitt to handle the filled bottle.)

    This works on vinyl labels too, such as those often found on detergent bottles. You may need a knife to scrape up a corner first, but then the label pulls right off.

    Paper and plastic film labels will leave a layer of sticky glue, but you just pour out the water and scrub the gum off with paint thinner and a rag. Again, it comes right off.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I use the hot-water method for pulling actual labels off containers too, but instead of paint thinner I usually use WD-40 oil (just because that’s what we have) and it works well for removing sticky residue too. But dang when the print is actually ON the canister instead of a removable label it’s quite the frustration. So glad I discovered the secret that works well for us. ~TxH~

  3. Angela DeGroot

    Goo Gone is a staple here at our house. As you know your brother is all about the “right tool for the job”!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I dunno Evelyn, but you can follow the same steps & see. I don’t know why not! Come let us know how it works – inquiring minds want to know. 🙂 ~TxH~

  4. Linda S

    This looks like a great job for my kids to tackle. These canisters do make handy storage units! Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks with us.
    (Stopping by today from This Is How We Roll)

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes, I agree Charlene. I’ll be sharing some of the ways I’ve been able to use these for cute or vintage-inspired food containers soon, so be watching the blog! ~TxH~

  5. Sylvia

    I’ve only used them to store my kitchen scraps until it’s time to feed the worms . I will see what other fun uses you have posted in the past. I am a newbie here and love your posts. Thank You! 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Sylvia, I’m so glad you’re here and I hope you stick around awhile!! I’ve had fun coming up with various uses and they’re all super simple. ~TxH~

  6. Pam Kaufman

    I like to use Blue Bunny ice cream containers for use in our rv. I think their labeling is similar. I am going to give your technique a try and see if it works. Worse case scenerio I wreck the container and have to buy another (oh the sacrifices we must make lol!!). Thanks for the tip!

  7. ColleenB.

    You have more patience than I. I gave up on trying to get them stubborn labels off, so using scrapbook paper I covered up the labels with my pretty scrap book paper as well as regular wrapping paper; holiday papers as well. Yes, some I have painted (covering the label) for storing non-food items unless it’s a container of homemade cookies to give to family and friends.
    Goo-Gone is Good stuff

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve covered the writing with pretty paper in the past Colleen, and the results were beautiful. But these canisters are gonna see some heavy use. I really wanted them as clear as possible of anything that could become chipped, soiled or tattered. But I was surprised about that clear layer on top of the print. Removing that was the secret to success. I’ve since cleaned off the print to another couple of canisters to get my project going. ~TxH~


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