Gift Giving Idea: Trash into Treasure Boxes

I am collector of throw-away” stuff”.  Not junk, but honest to goodness – discards.  My friends and family know to give me  their throw-aways, which are different than cast-offs. Cast-offs are unwanted items like furniture and lamps.  Throw-aways are bits and pieces of packaging, parts of items – stuff that seems useless once it’s original purpose is complete.  Throw-aways are what I can’t seem to say “no” to.  I love the challenge of coming up with some new use for these discards that will be Oooohhh… la la worthy.

Recently, when I saw a bag filled with film canisters at a local camera store being thrown away – I had to speak up.  I couldn’t bear to see it tossed and asked the salesman, if I could please have them.  He handed the bag right over to me and asked what I was going to do with them.  I told him, I didn’t have a clue, but I will come up with something sooner or later.

These plastic film canisters are becoming obsolete, but can still be found at camera stores and where film is processed.  Here are my rescued throw-aways.


Craft Ideas with film canisters


Prest-O Change-O ! Add some decorative paper, buttons, an earring, tulle, some sheet music, along with some hot glue and you have-

Craft Ideas with film canisters

Pretty mini- gift containers.

Film canister craft ideas

They make giving something little-extra special.

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Gifts that will fit:

Anything small – earrings, rings, and other jewelry (if the jewelry is on a hanging card, discard the card and place the jewelry into a piece of tissue paper), rolled up dollar bills,  a key to something big, like a car.

Film canister craft ideas

Top: Vintage clip-on earring with the clip removed.   Canister Cover: A piece of a Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog cover.

Gift boxes made with film canisters

Top:  A gold and pearl button on top of a larger black button.  Canister Cover:  Scrapbook paper

Crafting with film canisters

Top:  Mother of pearl button with a tulle rosette and rhinestone button glued on.  Canister Cover:  Gift-wrap

Craft Ideas with film canisters

Top:  Vintage button  Canister Cover:  Sheet music

Film Canister crafts

Top: Square button with a silver pearl button glued on top.  Canister cover:  Wallpaper scrap.

Don’t they make pretty little gift boxes?    They were practically free – only the cost of the materials I used to decorate them with – most of which were throw-aways, too.

How would you add your style to a  film canister and what would you put in it?   I would love to hear your ideas?



  1. says

    These are just darling, and so easy to personalize. Thank you for sharing your gift of creativity with us. I look forward to more!

  2. says

    What a very cute idea! My Mom saves quarters in them and then gives them to the great grands when they come to visit. That would be a great gift for a college student who has to use a laundromat!

  3. says

    Very clever and pretty too! I used film canisters for change and money, buttons, safety pins things like that. It seems like decades ago. I never would have thought about decorating them….I’m a big fan of the plastic cases my razors with the built in cream arrive in. I use them for vitamins to storing safety pins of course. They may just be in need of some decorating.

  4. says

    such cute ideas! I love to see original ways to use things in a different way than we usually view them. Great post!

    • says

      Hi Sydney-

      When I was in college my mom used to send me quarters to do my laundry in the canisters. Thinking of that, brings back fond memories.

    • says

      Hi Kristina-

      I ripped the cover off of that NM catalog about 6 years ago and have kept it in my paper stash. I have used bits and pieces of it for different projects. It is a raised metallic card stock and so pretty. Neimans always creates great looking catalogs at Christmas. I have another one that I kept intact. I place it on my piano during the holidays. It is so festive and a perfect holiday decorating accent.

  5. says

    I go to the camera store frequently, so I can salivate over my dream camera. I keep hoping on one of my trips that it will be on sale or I will win the lottery and be able to buy it outright without feeling guilty about spending so much money. Next time I go, I will tell him to check out this post. :) Thanks for leaving a comment.

  6. says

    i love giving gifts in recycled things….lots of times i just uses boxes from the pantry :) great idea :) i’m going to feature you next Monday!

  7. Pittypat Paperie says

    OMGosh… cute, cute, cute! I am right there with you. My hubby never throws a little box or anything away until he sees if I can use it. I love to think of it as recycling, but I really just love making someting cute from “nothing”, lol.

    Hope you will stop by and visit me sometimes over at Pittypat Paperie.

    • says

      Thanks Donna- I am still getting the hang of fb. It makes me happy to see that my projects are inspiring to readers – it makes my day and makes blogging so worthwhile.
      My best – Diane

  8. says

    Great idea for film cannisters. I loved the idea that the reader gave about putting quarters in them and giving them college students as a gift for doing the laundry. Those might be covered in instructions on how to operate a washing machine! Thank you for your kind comments on my latest post. Hope tha tyou’ll visit again and check out my other entries. Cherry Kay

  9. says

    These are really pretty. At first, I won’t lie, I thought they were going to be really cutesy but I would love to give or get one of these. I loved that you showed all the different possibilities and uses of so many different fabric treatments. Now, I wonder if I have any of these babies in an old junk drawer somewhere? :)

  10. says

    This is one of the coolest ideas to come along in quite a while. Only problem is that there might not be many of them around anymore. I think I might still have a few kicking around, but it would be so fun for stockings at Christmas! Love it!

    • says

      Hi Michelle-

      Thanks for the comments you sent my way. I found out from my local phootgraphy store, that they still get a lot of the film canisters. They told me that in our local high school the kids have to learn photography the old fashioned way first, before they can take a digital class. You may want to check out a photography store near a high school for the film canisters.

      My best- Diane

  11. says

    Film containers are a great prize for teachers too. I teach a rocket science unit to fourth and fifth graders and we use these to make Alka-Seltzer rockets. The clear ones make the best seal.

  12. says

    Love your revamped film canisters! Very good idea! I spraypainted mine but I like the pretty paper instead. I filled mine with bubble stuff and made bubble wands!

  13. Olivia says

    These are the exactly what I need for my daughter who ALWAYS takes off her earrings/ jewelry, tosses it in her purse, and looses a majority of them.



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