Simple Storage Idea for all those Planes, Trains & Automobiles

As a mom of three boys, finding toy storage solutions can be challenging (and expensive).  Especially for the numerous planes, trains and automobiles that seem to multiply every time I turn around and are on the verge of taking over our home! Seriously, where do all these little things come from?! If you’re like me and need a solution… here it is! You’ll love this simple storage idea that you have right on the shelf in your pantry!

Planes, trains & automobiles;

I had picked up a Hot Wheels storage container at a garage sale that looked like a wheel.  We soon realized they got rid of it because the lid would not stay latched and all 16 cars we had neatly parked inside would soon be strewn across the floor again.  Plus, it didn’t hold our three Hot Wheels helicopters, eight airplanes, and numerous other cars and pieces of construction equipment.  While I love our big toy basket, such small toys somehow wiggle and inch their way to the very bottom which usually resulted in a complete basket unload whenever we wanted to play with them.  We needed something to organize and store these small toys.

My solution… empty oatmeal containers!  We are all about reusing, recycling and re-purposing in this house.  So the idea of making storage/organization bins for free and being green at the same time was more than exciting to me!

Before I decorated our containers, I had the boys try them out.  I wanted to make sure they liked the concept and would actually use them before I put in the time, effort, and materials.  They more than liked them… they were an instant hit!

Here’s how to pretty up and make cheap and easy storage for those planes, trains, and automobiles…


Supplies needed:

  • Oatmeal canister (lid optional)
  • 2 pieces of 12×12 scrapbook paper for each canister  (I would choose scrapbook paper over construction paper because it will hold its color and not fade.)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or cutting board
  • Scrapbook adhesive, glue, 2-sided tape, or Mod Podge
  • Plain colored 8.5×11 paper for label (optional)


How to make your own oatmeal canister storage containers:

  1. Measure the height of the canister.  Do not include the plastic ring in this measurement.
    Planes, trains & automobiles -- storage;
  2. Cut both pieces of scrapbook paper to the height of the canister.
    Planes, trains & automobiles -- storage;
  3. Apply adhesive.  If using scrapbook adhesive or 2-sided tape, apply it directly to the paper.  If using glue or Mod Podge, apply it to the oatmeal canister.  Make sure to get close to the edge so they are less likely to get snagged or peel up.
    Planes, trains & automobiles -- storage;
  4. Secure.  Wrap one piece of cut scrapbook paper to the canister.  I positioned the center of the paper first and then smoothed to each side of the paper.  This helps keeps the paper straight and less likely to get any bubbles.  Repeat with the second piece of scrapbook paper.
    Planes, trains & automobiles -- storage;
  5. Label (optional).  Cut a fun shape out of your plain paper to decorate and label your canister.  Adhere, making sure to get close to the edge.  Or… using label stickers, design and print from your computer.
  6. Seal (optional).  Since there are two exposed seams, you may want to seal the entire canister with Mod Podge.  I would suggest using the matte finish.  Using a foam brush, lightly apply Mod Podge in a downward motion so as not to snag the seams of the paper.  (I chose not to do this step and so far, our canisters have not had any wear to them.)
    Planes, trains & automobiles -- storage;

Note about the lid:  I kept the lids of our canisters not to close the canister, but to protect the bottom edge of the scrapbook paper.  So our lids are on the bottom of the canister and helps them slide a little easier.
planes, trains & automobiles -- storage;

With such a quick, easy, and inexpensive storage solution, your home will be toy and clutter free soon!  Besides storing planes, trains, and automobiles, try using them to store Legos, play food, art supplies, and more!  Please leave a comment on the creative places you can use these canisters!

Happy crafting!
Alisha's Signature



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