Home » Crafts » Aluminum Cans Upcycled Into Vases: West Elm Knock-Off Decor

Aluminum Cans Upcycled Into Vases: West Elm Knock-Off Decor

Upcycle aluminum cans like soda cans, and beer cans into quirky vases using spray paint.

Today the Thrift Store Team is upcycling and recycling all kinds of plastic containers, coffee cans, wine bottles, and more to celebrate Earth Day. The projects are amazing. My upcycled can vases are a knock-off of popular West Elm vases, which are very pricy.

aluminum cans to upcycle into vases

I started my upcycle project with these beer cans but soda cans or any aluminum cans will work just fine.

west elm soda can vases

My inspiration for this project is the Pretti.Cool Soda Can Vases from West Elm. They are made out of concrete, and the cost is $45 per vase for a total of $225 for all five vases. Seems a bit steep to me, even for concrete. I made my five vases for less than $25. After reading my project tutorial, let me know how you feel about mine vs theirs’. 

How to upcycle aluminum cans into vases

I think mine turned out great, better than expected! Get ready for the tutorial. Also, the Thrift Store Team project links are at the bottom of the post.

fill aluminum cans with sand to make vases

The aluminum cans are much lighter than concrete, so I filled my cans with sand, only about halfway full. The weight of the sand should keep the cans from tipping over; since the cans are only half full, the sand shouldn’t spill out if they do tip over.

crsuh aluminum cans to make DIY vases

After I filled the cans with sand, I crushed them with my hand. They crush easily and you can make various crimped and crumpled shapes just by squeezing different areas of the can. I didn’t do anything special just tried to make each can look a bit different from the others.

how to upcycle beer cans into vases

These are the three cans I started painting. After I painted them, I pulled more cans out of my recycle bin and spray paint colors from my stash and decided to go with an all-out copycat project of the West Elm Vases.

Rustoleum Spray Paint for DIY projects

I ordered the Rustoleum Chalked Charcoal and the Rustoleum Cinnamon in anticipation of this project. I had the other paints on my shelf already.

Rustoleum Spray Paint Color For West Elm Knock Off Vases

The individual colors in order are; Cinnamon, Chalked Charcoal, Wildflower Blue, Tuscan Sun, and my all-time favorite off-white spray paint Heirloom Satin. All of the spray paint I used for this project is Rust-Oleum brand.

In order to keep the spray paint from running, I applied several light coats to the cans letting the coats dry in between applications. It did take a bit of paint to cover the bold writing on the cans.

FolkArt acrylic paints for DIY vases project

Once I had the aluminum cans spray painted and dried, I pulled out several colors of acrylic paint. I selected a really light yellow, a pale gray, maroon, navy, black, tan, and white.

use various brushes to make speckles on painted aluminum can vases

I’ve used a baby bottle brush to add specks of paint to furniture before, so I started working with the bottle brush on the cans. I poured the acrylic paint colors onto a paper plate and dipped the brush tips into the paint. Then I wiped some of the paint from the bristles using a paper towel.

use a baby bottle brush to make dots or speckles on painted cans or other painted surfaces

Next, I touched the brush to the painted can until there was no more paint coming off of the brush, then I repeated the process, dipping the brush in the paint, wiping some off, then applying the paint to the can using the brush.

how to make knock off West Elm soda can vases on a budget

I went through three different brushes, including a vegetable cleaning brush and a wire brush, because the bottle brush was not working exactly like I wanted. But, for putting paint speckles on the cans, the bottle brush seemed to do the best job.

spray paint soda cans and use them as vases

And that is all there was to this project. Seriously, it was not time-consuming and not a difficult project at all.

how to spray paint aluminum cans to make cute vases

The total project time was probably 3 hours from start to finish. I was working on other projects while the cans were drying. 

spray painted aluminum cans (2)

I wasn’t trying to match the West Elm Soda Can paint colors exactly, just the general color and paint idea.

how to make vases using upcycled aluminum cans

The spray painted and paint speckled can vases make me smile.

how to make soda can vases or beer can vases using spray paint

It’s hard to figure out the cost of my can vases because the cans do not need a whole can of spray paint for coverage, and I used very little acrylic paint for the speckles on the cans. 

save $200 on these West Elm vases by making your own

All 5 of the West Elm vases would cost $225.00 plus tax and shipping costs. I’m going to say that all 5 of my DIY Upcycled Aluminum Can Vases cost $25 to make—pretty good savings.

pin collage recycled jewelry

If you liked this upcycled project, look at my upcycled jewelry projects… 13 Recycled Jewelry Projects

Please leave me a note if you have time before you take off on the tour. Tour the other recycle/upcycle projects in honor of Earth Day by clicking the text links below the “before” makeovers photo collage. 

how to upcycle coffee cans, soda cans, beer cans, and wine bottles


Thrift Store Decor Tour, Recycled and Upcycled Projects….
DIY Upcycle Ideas from Your Recycle Bin – My Repurposed Life
How To Upcycle Aluminum Cans Into Vases – Petticoat Junktion (you are here)
Upcycling a Coffee Canister with Cork Fabric – Sadie Seasongoods
DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch – My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Recycling Bin Propagation Station – Organized Clutter
Recycle Bin Craft – Shop At Blu

West Elm Pretti.Cool Soda Can Vases DIY Knockoff project by Petticoat Junktion
As always, thanks for being here, Kathy

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Well aren’t these soda can vases the cutest! Love how you can so easily customized as desired as well. Super sweet, Kathy!

  2. I have to tell you O was a bit skeptical at first. But Holy Cow! You nailed it! …like you always do! Love this project! And Modelo.

  3. Kathy
    What an amazing knockoff of the West Elm products! You did an awesome job. Wondering if the $25 includes the price of the beer lol

  4. Amazing! What a weird, quirky idea in the first place! And then for West Elm to market them at such an inflated price! Yours are absolutely as cute if not cuter! The only thing I like better about the West Elm version is that they are matte surfaced. But that’s just a personal preference. You did a great job!

  5. These turned out better than the $200 crazy price tag! You truly did an amazing job!!!

  6. These are seriously incredible, Kathy! I can’t believe how much they look like the West Elm versions.