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10 Creative Uses for Tins

-Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Metal tins are extremely versatile and should not just be stacked up in your storage cabinets or tossed out with the trash.

Whether you are using tin containers to store small mints and candies or whether you are using tin cans to create beautiful shades of paint, you should know that you could use these containers for much more than their everyday purposes. There are various craft projects using tin containers that you can tackle right in the comfort of your own home.

The one thing you need to remember when working with tin containers is that you need to be careful and stay safe.

Metal containers can be extremely sharp so it is important to use special can openers and cutters that don’t leave a sharp edge on the container. Also make sure to invest a good sturdy pair of gloves so that the raw edges of the tin containers don’t cut you.

Tin Can Pencil Holders

Different Ways to Use Tin Cans

1. Wine rack

Organize your wine bottles in a tin can wine rack!

This project is easy, functional and fabulous. All you have to do is to remove both ends of the cans, paint them any color you please and then arrange and stack them before you glue them.

2. Organizing Caddy

One of the most common uses for tin cans and tin containers is to use them to organize drawers, desks and other areas.

You can use tin containers (like the ones from Altoids), to organize your desk drawers. Put away erasers, paper clips, rubber bands, beads, tape, binder rings and anything else that’s lying around your desk drawer.

You can also use tin cans to organize your arts and crafts supplies.

Group together pencils, paintbrushes, rulers, scissors and other objects in various tin cans and organize them on your desk so you know exactly where everything is located. In order to make these aesthetically pleasing you can decorate the tin containers by painting them, covering them with fabric and more.

3. Décor

DIY arts and crafts using repurposed items is all the rage nowadays and tin containers are among the most versatile objects to use. Using tin cans as part of wedding décor can significantly save money as well as add a unique and rustic touch to the special event.

Tin cans can be used as hanging lanterns, centerpieces, hanging vases and much more.

There are also other ways to use tin containers as décor – you can make custom lamp shades, make your own scented candles and create holiday décor such as Jack O’ Lanterns or door wreaths.

4. Baking

Who would have thought that you could actually use tin containers as bake ware?

Tin cans can be used as cookie cutters or baking pans for mini cakes. Tin cans are also sturdy enough to be repurposed into miniature cake stands where you can display small cakes and cupcakes. All you have to do is glue a painted can to the bottom of a matching plate with strong glue.

5. Mini First Aid / Survival Kit

It’s always important to be prepared for emergency situations and a small tin container is just big enough to hold some of the most important first aid and survival items that you might need.

A tin container can hold cash, loose change, Band-Aids, small batteries, Ibuprofen, a small box cutter, Chapstick and various other small items that are normally found in first aid and survival kits.

6. Closet Organizer

In the same way that you can use tin cans to organize your wines, pens, pencils and your desk you can also use them to organize your scarf collection in your closet.

Assemble this project in the same way you put together the wine rack by gluing a couple of tin cans together to create little cubbies for your scarves.

7. Hanging Bird Feeder

Add a cute bird feeder to the tree outside your home by cutting out both sides of a tin can, painting it and tying it to a branch with some rope.

Add some bird feed and watch your tree become one of the most popular gathering spots hungry birds.

8. Piggy Bank

Make your own piggy bank out of a tin container where you can save up all your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

9. Mini Grill

Who would have thought that tins could be so resourceful?

If you cut strips into the can and fold them back you can put some tin foil over the hole and add some charcoal inside. Place a cooling rack over the charcoal and you’ve got yourself an instant mini grill.

10. Plant Markers

Keep your garden organized by cutting out strips from a tin can and using them as plant markers.

Write out the names of each plant on a piece of paper and then trace the lettering onto the tin strips. Trim the edges so that you can stick the strips into the ground.

Need More Ideas?

As you can see there are numerous craft ideas to help you repurpose your tin containers.

If you are interested in these DIY projects then check out our wide range of metal tins and cans for all of your crafting needs.

Should you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact our team at Packaging Options Direct and one of our experts will be more than happy to assist you with all of your packaging needs.

Ultimate Guide to Beer Bottling with Glass Bottles

-Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crafting your own home brew is an exciting and rewarding process. Whether you are doing it as a hobby or for business purposes you will come to find that while the brewing process is not too difficult, getting the brew in the bottle can be extremely tedious and many home brewers say that the bottling process is their least favorite part.

Although following a guide and a recipe may seem like an easy task, making sure the process is done right and that you don’t spoil your brew or introduce any bacteria into the bottle is the most important thing to take care of.

The final stage in the brewing process is bottling day, and although many professional brewers eventually switch to kegs or prefer cans over glass bottles, most start out with glass bottles because it is cheaper and a good way to distribute the beer.

Bottling your home brew will take time as there are many steps to follow and a lot to do to prepare so make sure you dedicate enough time for this process.

We know that it can be confusing bottling your home brew, especially if this is your first time so we want to help you avoid common mistakes and get you closer to finishing up the process so you can enjoy your creation.

Here is our ultimate guide to beer bottling with glass bottles.

Beer Bottles

Make Sure the Brew is Ready

Generally speaking, the best thing you can do for your home brew is to leave it in the fermenter for a few weeks before bottling. This will make the beer much tastier because it gives the yeast extra time to ferment the beer properly. During fermentation the yeast converts sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide as well as a number of other byproducts that affect the taste of the brew.

If you are using an airlock with your fermenter you will be able to observe the action by watching bubbles of air trying to escape. This is known as primary fermentation. Secondary fermentation takes place as the yeast cleans your beer thoroughly and creates a delicious brew.

In general, around two weeks from brew day should be more than enough time for your beer to be ready for bottling, but if you are creating heavier or stronger beers you will need more time.

Don’t rush the bottling process and try to be patient, because even though it may not seem like the yeast is still processing sugars (signs of bubbling) the process is still happening and if you bottle before the yeast can finish, the remaining sugars will continue fermenting inside the bottle. If there are too many sugars still fermenting this could cause your bottle to explode. You can check the fermentation progress with hydrometer readings.

Choose Your Bottles

When choosing bottles for your beer you may consider recycling already used bottles. While this is an extremely eco-friendly method, the cleaning process is extremely time consuming and tedious. Luckily buying brand new bottles is not expensive and this way you can choose the finest bottles for your brew and you will have a uniform collection as opposed to various colors, shapes and sizes of recycled bottles.

Always remember to sanitize and inspect your bottles before pouring the brew in – even if you think they are clean.

Decide whether you want a standard bottle with a screw top, a swinging top or a different type of sealing cap. When choosing your beer glass bottles keep in mind that the color will affect your brew. The hop compounds in beer tend to be negatively affected by sunlight, therefore it is important to protect your beer with dark colored glass bottles such as dark green or dark amber glass.

If you do however decide to use light or clear glass bottles, just make sure to store them in a dark place.

Prepare for Bottling

Once the bottles and the rest of your equipment have been thoroughly and vigorously inspected, scrubbed and sanitized it’s time to prepare for bottling your brew. The first task is to prepare the priming solution. As mentioned earlier, the yeast gives off gas as it converts the sugars into alcohol and this gas is released through the airlock so don’t be surprised if your brew is flat at this point in the process.

To perk up the bubbles you need to add more sugar for the yeast to ferment in the bottles, and because this time they will be completely sealed the gas will not be able to escape and it becomes a part of the beer. The amount of priming sugar you add to the brew depends on how much carbonation you want and it’s a matter of personal preference.

There are various variables involved in how much sugar to add so just follow your preferred recipe.

For optimal clarity and to reduce the sediment you may want to use fining agents. It is important to add these in well before bottling. Adding agents such as gelatin should be done after fermentation has been completed, but about five to seven days before bottling to allow time for the proteins and yeast to settle.

Again, make sure that your bottles, caps and the rest of the equipment you will be using has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. You wouldn’t want any bacteria that were left behind to completely ruin your brew.

Siphoning the Beer

Make sure that you don’t begin the bottling process directly from a fermenter. For optimal results you will want to transfer, or siphon, the beer from the fermenter into a priming bucket or carboy. Make sure to minimize excessive splashing to avoid oxidizing your beer. Add your cooled mix of priming sugar into your sanitized bottling bucket and set up your racking cane to a hose.

The racking cane basically helps to keep sediment, or dead yeast, out of your beer. After you attach the racking cane to a hose you will want to sterilize it and check for air pockets. As soon as you’re done sanitizing it’s time to siphon the beer into the bottling bucket. Make sure the siphon hose is at the bottom of the bucket so the siphoning action can evenly mix the sugar water (priming sugar) with the beer for uniform carbonation.

Bottling the Beer

It’s finally time to fill your bottles with your brew. Attach the racking cane into the carboy or bottling bucket and then attach a bottle filler to the other end of your hose. Fill the bottles to about one inch from the top and lift the bottle filler to stop the flow. Fill the rest of the bottles the same way. As the bottling bucket empties you will have to move around the racking cane to avoid sucking up the yeast and the rest of the debris at the bottom of the bucket.

When you’ve transferred the majority of the beer into bottles you can collect any remaining beer into a glass for an early tasting. Don’t worry if you lose a couple splashes of beer during this process.

Capping & Cleaning

As usual begin by sanitizing your bottle caps by either boiling them for five minutes or submersing them in sanitizer for ten minutes. Invest money in a decent bottle capper. Even though the cheap ones work well, spending a little extra on a well-made capper will save you a lot of pain and suffering on bottling day. To cap your bottles just put the sanitized cap on top of the bottles and cover it with the capper.

Hit the capper with a hammer until you are sure that it is sealed well – be generous and strong with your hitting, but be careful not to shatter the bottle. You will know that it is property sealed because the capper will grip tightly to the bottle neck, otherwise the capper will easily flop around while you are trying to hammer it on.

Some may wonder if investing in popular oxygen absorbing bottle caps is worth it or if they are necessary to protect the brew. Unless you plan to store your beer for an extended period of time, such as a year or longer, then you do not need oxygen absorbing bottle caps.

As long as the caps are tight and properly sealed your beer should be fine.

Once you’ve bottled all of your beer, you’re pretty much done! All you need to do is to store the bottles in a cool dark place for at least two weeks and leave them alone as the yeast continues to ferment the priming sugar and conditions the beer.

Make sure to store the bottles in a safe area, because there is still a small chance of the bottles exploding if you added an excessive amount of sugar.

Before you relax, make sure to scrub, sanitize and rinse all of the equipment you used during the bottling process.

Enjoy Your Brew - or Sell It!

After all the hard work of sanitizing, preparing, siphoning, bottling, capping and cleaning it’s time to enjoy your brew – you’ve worked hard and you deserve it! Brewing and bottling beer is a long process, but in the end it is worth all of the hard work.

If you have any questions about what size bottle or what color bottle would be best for your brew don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be more than happy to answer all of your questions and assist you in making informed decisions about all your glass bottle needs.

Connect with us today!