Film Canisters

There is some question from our readers as the whether or not these are safe to use on any consumption product.  Please check with a professional before you try to re-use them for anything else other than what is listed on this page.

When my plants are finished blooming, I save the seeds in the canisters.  Vicki

My church collects empty film containers and empty prescription bottles (with labels torn off) and we send them to our missionary hospital in the Ivory Coast. They use them for dispensing their prescriptions, because they do not have enough money to purchase new containers.  Lori

I use film canisters to hold rolls of stamps from the post office.  I use scissors to cut a 1/8th inch slit down the side, insert roll of stamps with stamps coming through slot. Recap with lid and pull out as many stamps as you need.   Dana

A good toy for a small child can be made from used film canisters. This is probably appropriate from a few months before the first birthday, through the second year depending on how it is used. You will need a used coffee can or some other cylinder shaped container with a reusable lid. A whole the size and shape for a film canister to pass through is then cut in the lid. You should probably first start with a small number of film canisters. As the child gets older, he, or she, will probably like to have enough film canisters to fill the can, or as many as you have to pass on. One of the skills this teaches is putting a round object in a round whole, but it also covers in and out, empty and full, and picking up.  From: Jennifer

I have 6 uses of film canisters I would like to share:
1) Holds coins eg. for tolls, parking meters
2) I put shampoo in some and conditioner in others – labeling them and then donate to a Homeless Shelter along with a packet of combs.
3) Holds paperclips or tacks or stamps
4) I put my kids baby teeth in them
5) Take to the beach and put in little seashells with sand.
Love your column. I have learned a lot.  Jan

As a Girl Scout Leader, we love to use film canisters for First Aid Kits. You can add PVC pipe (a piece about 1" in length)
to the back of the canister with hot glue.  Then put on the front a plain white sticker/label. Draw a red cross to symbolize first aide. Insert band aids into the canister, antiseptic wipe, along with a sealed rubbing alcohol gauze. Also can put small amounts of Vaseline, lotion,  seal the cap, and you are ready for first aid.  Linda

My dad is a photographer & so I grew up with film canisters, using them for everything! Some ideas:
1) I use them to save change – a dollar in each canister (unless it’s my quarter canister)
2) I use them to mix paints
3) The lids can be used as checkers
4) My mom wrote numbers on one side of each lid & we practiced our multiplication tables by reaching into a bag & pulling out numbers
5) I used to play with them in the sandbox & in the bathtub
6) Fill with a little rice or fine pasta & glue the lids on (& decorate) for musical shakers
7) The seals are pretty good & they can be used to hold bath gel for travel (don’t fill too much, though)
8) I use them to hold things like tacks, small nails, screws, picture hooks, pen tips (as in pen &ink pen tips), paperclips
9) Used them for science fair projects (made a water wheel using the canisters screwed onto a wooden circle)
10) When I played "hospital" as a kid my mom taped paper around the outside & wrote "Prescription" on the outside ( put small things inside) and I pretended to prescribe medicine to my stuffed animal patients. At one point I had what I considered a whole pharmacy.    God Bless,   B

I use them to store straight pins, and also as traveling sewing kits: they hold safety pins, needles and some thread.  Cynthia

Here is a neat idea for a toy for kids. Take a balloon and cut off the top. Stretch it over the end of a film canister forming a drum. Use duct tape to hold the stretched balloon in place. Pluck the drum by pinching the rubber, pulling and then releasing. By varying the tightness of the balloon you can change the pitch and create an entire orchestra. Sandy

You’ve hit on my topic! Film canisters – and a scrap of felt, put a couple of needles in, wrap some thread around another recycled junk mail or small piece of cardboard – a couple of safety pins and buttons and you have the perfect travel size emergency sewing kit. Put one in your glove box in the car, your travel case, your purse, send one to college with the kids or if you work with kids, they can make them for Mother’s Day gifts or Christmas Gifts.

My craft kids have used film canisters several different seasons to decorate as not or candy cups for shut ins, the Women’s Club, Kiwanis, The Senior Nutrition program. Etc. When my oldest daughter was backpacking with Girl Scouts we were always looking for ways to lighten her pack and used MANY film canisters for everything from emergency first aid equipment to seasonings for her meals (not just s & p), pre-measured ice tea mix and so on.

I have also used film canisters in crafting in place of wooden spools when the spool was just going to be a part of a doll body or whatever. They make cute sitting angels, – use a small Styrofoam ball for the head or the lid from a milk bottle or such. Use your favorite media for hair yarn scraps from another project. gather a small piece of lace to use as the dress and embellish any way you choose.

If I have extra buttons that come with a special outfit – your guessed it – in the film canisters. Now – to mark these. The clear ones you can see through (they’re great for seed beads and such), the dark color ones can be marked with a file folder label, or, (dig in the trash)
cut your junk mail envelopes and write on them then tape to the outside of the canisters. By the way, my recycled film canisters have taken blue ribbons at the fair three different years so if you’ve always wanted to do a fair entry but couldn’t really afford a big project – just look for the craft section and recycling. God bless!  Al

One thing to do with old film canisters is to hot glue the lid to the top of the container standing up. Put two green pom-poms in the container and hot glue two eyes on the front of the top green pom-pom. You have Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. These can sell at a craft fair for a dollar or you can donate them to a school for the kindergarten class to do an art project to take home to their parent’s. Thanks, Kim

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