colorful crayon organization in tin cans

One of my favorite things in the Montessori classroom is the way they set out their art materials as though they are something to be treasured and displayed. The colored pencils are organized into matching colored holders (like these), and I’ve always wanted a set of my own (but not for $75!). Truth be told, my boys will use colored pencils and markers any day of the week, but crayons seem to always get passed over in favor of practically any other medium. Those poor, poor crayons needed some love and respect around here. I thought that maybe if I set out the crayons in a pretty display that the boys would be more apt to use them on a regular basis – and I was right!

del monte cans holding crayons
While packing school lunches one evening, I realized that these fruit cups would be the perfect size for crayon holders. So, instead of being patient and waiting for a bunch of empty cups at the end of the week, I started opening and dumping seven containers of fruit into a big Tupperware for storage – hey, they can always be reportioned into little Tupperware containers for lunches – I’ve got to get moving on this inspiration!

del monte cans painted in rainbow colors
If you’re lucky enough to have a rainbow of spray paint, it would really come in handy right about now. I only had about half the rainbow, so after removing the labels, I used acrylic paint to give each can three coats of paint followed by two coats of glossy varnish to seal it. Mitch rummaged up a piece of scrap 1×3 for me, and I made use of my white spray paint to give it a quick coat.

insides of cans screwed to board
Mitch screwed each can to the piece of wood for me (thank you!), because I’m not quite as handy with the drill as he is.

colorful crayon holder made from tin cans
Now it’s time to add the crayons!


crayons assorted and organized by colors


crayons and matching tin cans for assorting

The boys are loving crayons these days – yippee! I’ve been able to leave them sitting out on their art table for over two weeks now without a single spill or crayon mess mishap…though you might find yourself getting into serious in-depth discussions with your three-year-old over whether aquamarine belongs in the green or the blue container ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. I love this!! Did you need to do anything to make the edges of the top of the can smooth for their little fingers? I want to use your idea in my preK classroom.

    1. Hi Andrea, if you’re finding the edges are sharp, you can use a pair of pliers to flatten down any sharp spots, and then wrap the interior edge with a layer or two of duct tape to protect little fingers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. They look great thank you for sharing, but it does concern me how you can easily throw away food when there are children starving in the world.

    1. Hi Saira,

      I’m not sure where you got the idea that I threw away any food. As I stated in the post, I simply opened all of the cups at once and put the fruit into a single Tupperware storage container to be eaten throughout the week. No food was ever thrown out or wasted!

  3. This is beautiful! But aren’t there sharp edges inside the tins? Did you have to file them down? I would love to do this for when my BFF brings over her son, but I would be worried that his little fingers could get hurt reaching into the cups.

    1. We didn’t run into any sharp edges with our cans, but if your can does have sharp edges inside, I recommend filing them down and adding a strip of Duck tape (or other strong thick tape) inside the rim. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Love this! I, too, am looking for ways for the crayons to get used! Our art teacher has a set of the swiss miss coffee containers. I like the fruit cup idea and it would be affordable to just do it the quick way you did.

  5. I forgot to add with my comment how I liked the way you used colors in the same family in each container. This is an excellent idea for children who are learning about colors as each primary color has various hues.