Raise your hand if you drink a lot of coffee! I’d be raising both my hands if I didn’t need them to type. Most of my coffee comes in bags, but I occasionally still get tins from Trader Joe’s. I’ve saved some of them to hold change or store various supplies, but you can also recycle empty coffee cans by using them in costumes. Here are five suggestions on what to do with them.
Make a hammer – DeviantArt user Alakittynya, also known as Nicole, used lids from coffee cans to make a hammer. She made the prop for her Amy Rose costume (from Sonic the Hedgehog). Four of the plastic lids look like they were used on the ends of the hammer almost like caps. They were painted gold. You could apply the same idea to a small Harley Quinn hammer.
Build a portable astromech – A coffee can’s cylindrical shape is just right for making an astromech. So, if you’re planning to dress like an X-wing pilot from Star Wars, or Luke Skywalker, or even Anakin Skywalker, you could carry around a droid to help you navigate the crowds at conventions. A full-sized droid is an option too, but this might be simpler. You can modify the coffee can with foam, glue, and paint. I think this idea would be especially great for kids.
Use it for hazard waste – When you’re in the habit of building costumes and props, you’re likely to eventually use items that need to be disposed of differently than your normal trash. Used X-acto blades are one example, fiberglass resin is another. You can keep empty coffee cans on hand to hold items or materials such as these to keep them out of your usual wastebasket.
Create a top hat – A coffee can is already the right size for a top hat, and it’s not too heavy. You could cut out the bottom of the can to make it lighter. Not all coffee cans are smooth so if you want that look, you’ll need fill any indentations with a material like Bondo and then sand the can down. Alternatively, you could cover the entire thing in thin craft foam (foam would also be suitable to create the brim of the hat).
Make it part of the costume – Leave the coffee can as is and make it part of the overall look. If you have an empty tin of Folgers Coffee, you’re practically set to dress like Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski. He uses a coffee can for his friend Donny’s ashes in the film. The can could also be a fitting accessory if you’re dressing like a character who consumes a lot of coffee – like Lorelei Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls.
Bonus: If you don’t have quite enough coffee grounds left over to brew a whole pot of coffee, hang on to them and use them to age or dye fabric.
Want more ideas on how to use everyday, household objects in cosplay? Check out the rest of the series.