Wednesday, January 6, 2010

collecting: vintage metal picnic tins

Some of my favorite collections are ones that you can store other collections in.  The organizational fanatic in me loves boxes, bins and anything with lots of drawers.  I think that I found my first vintage metal picnic tin in high school, and I was hooked right away.  I really didn't set out to collect so many, but isn't that always the way with collections.  They are just so practical and handy, and they stack up so neatly in any corner.  I use them to store other collections that I don't use everyday-seasonal decorations or extra dishes and kitchen goodies. 
Here they are sassing up our pantry at the farm.

A stack of faux bois tins in the farm kitchen.

Right now, they are all gathered in the studio.

I label them with simple tags so I know just where to find what I need.

Another stack in the laundry area holds extra lightbulbs, rags and electrical cords.

These tins were produced in the 40's and 50's, and the sizes and graphics vary.  Most common are the picnic size with faux bois or plaid design.  More elaborate graphics, such as nursery rhyme characters or kitchen utensils, are more difficult to find.  The handles are wood, metal or less commonly, plastic.
I keep these two smaller sized tins in my kitchen where they are handy for toting baked goods.

These tins can be found fairly readily at the usual hunting spots, or on etsy and ebay.  Pick up one special design for storing extra office supplies or magazines, or add a colorful stack to your kitchen for extra pantry staples.  You can even go the traditional route and pack one up with a picnic lunch!


  1. Great idea. You have a nice collection of tins.

  2. Love these 'baskets'. My sisters uses some in her living room for holding DVDs and such.

  3. oh god they look so good stacked like that.