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  • by Barb (Edtl) Shelton

Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It (Part 3)

By now, you have chosen the theme of your can (in Part 1 on Themes & Contents), are hopefully working on getting the contents to go in it, and you have covered it (in Part 2, on Covering Your Can), so your next task is to dress it up!

Collage of aspects of decorating your can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

BUT FIRST! ... in case you're not sure how you got here or what this is about, here are all five posts, just so you'll know the context that this post is in...​

Collages of all 5 parts of creating a Gift-in-a-Can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

(Links to each of these

five parts are given at the

end of this blog post.)


So... let's get going!


...I'll be giving directions for how to decorate your can, plus I'll include links to items that will be helpful. (If a link doesn't work or the product item is out of stock, please email me and let me know!)

My detailed instructions are designed to keep you from being frustrated, but if you are a minimalist who is not into detail, you're welcome to head on over to the Minimalist Instructions blog post where I've made the process much simpler. (~which will leave out important details that actually simplify and streamline the process, but it's your choice.)

(Amazon Affiliate links are in some of the products I'll be mentioning herein. The Honeycomb Oasis Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to at no additional cost to you.)




There are two easy, basic things I do to decorate my cans:

1) TOP: Put a paper circle on the top of the can, and tie some ribbons onto the pull-ring.

2) SIDE: Put a belly band around the side of the can.

Whatever other embellishments you have on hand can be added to snaz it up a little more.

Let's start at the top... literally...



Here are seven can tops that have all been decorated using the same basic idea of tying several ribbons to the pull-ring on the top of the can which has been covered with cardstock circles.

This first can has just a few ribbons and the tag is tied on with a bow...

Top of Organizing Kit-in-a-Can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

This one was a baby gift. I used earthy colors and added raffia for a natural touch for this nature-loving couple.

Top of tan and green Baby Can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

I did this yellow, black and white color scheme for my yellow-loving sister:

Top of yellow, black & white Sewist's can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Lots of bright-colored ribbons for this Teacher Gift-in-a-Can:

Top of Teacher's can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

I did this Can of Comfort in softer colors. You can see a bit of the pull-tab ring front and center/left. It has a die-cut butterfly perched on the top with a string of rhinestones along the middle ~ all of which I use for card-making as well.

Top of Can of Comfort / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Here's a Baby Gift-in-a-Can that I also used a Stampin' Up Butterfly Thinlets Die for. Plus I added softer ribbons and a tiny BABY bracelet purchased at a craft store.

Top of blue, green & white Baby can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

In this Christmasy one, you can see more of the pull-tab itself, but the ribbons are more sparse. As you can see, a can is pretty with lots of ~ or even just a few ~ ribbons!

Top of Christmas can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /




Cut a circle that fits inside the indented top of the can, which is 2 3/4 inches for a regular 16-ounce can.

I used my Framelits (used with the Big Shot die-cutting and embossing system) to cut my circle, but before I had those, I would find a circle-shape (like a small lid in my leftover containers bin) that was the right size. I traced around it on the paper with a pencil, and cut it out with scissors.

Next lay your fresh-cut circle onto the can top and feel for the pull-ring. You can see its impression on my sky-blue piece below. Not desirable, but it ended up being covered up by ribbon ties, so just don't press too hard on the cardstock circle around that ring cuz you're not going to cut it there! You only need to make a cut that will enable you to slip the circle under the ring (which is not connected) and around the point where the ring is attached to the can, not around the whole ring. And it only needs to be big enough to slip under the ring and around that connection.

Blue cut circle ready to put onto can top / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

I always have to mess with this and re-trim it a few times before it will slip under the tab base ~ which, by the way, you have to lift up ever so slightly to be able to push the circle under it. Just be careful to not pull up too hard, or it will break the seal and open the can! And, by now, you have gone to a lot of trouble to keep it intact!

I'd give you a pattern, but I've found that not all can top ring connections are created equal! So there's not one best way to do it. Besides, this cut-out part will be pretty much covered with ribbons anyway, so you won't see much if any of it, even if you end up crinkling it a bit, as you can see I did.

I used a scallop circle punch (Stampin' Up! ~ now retired) for my next guava-colored layer, and cut out a little portion of it so that it, too, would fit under the tab. Don't worry if it's not perfect as this part will end up buried under the ribbon ties. Glue this scalloped piece on to the larger circle.

Guava scalloped circle ready to put on top of can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Put liquid glue or glue stick onto the back of this piece and scoochy the whole piece under the pull-ring. Glue stick and liquid glue allow greater flexibility to get it in place, which is needed for this part. (So I would not use snail adhesive for this!)

Blue and guava circles glued together, on top of can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

ANOTHER CAN-TOP OPTION: See the black scalloped piece in the photo below? That was die-cut with a scallop circle die in the Layering Circle Framelits Dies. The outer tan circle piece beneath it was die-cut with a plain circle in that same set. (These work with the Big Shot system which I use all the time in my card-making and crafting creations.)

Top of Teacher can with black scalloped circle piece on top of can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Find several ribbons in your ribbon stash that go with the colors in the paper that you covered your can with. If you don't have a ribbon stash, ask a crafty friend if you can raid theirs. Worst case scenario, make a trip to a craft/fabric shop. You can use just one type/color of ribbon for all your ties, or as much of a variety as you want. I just happen to have a lot of ribbon.

Several spools of ribbon on top of a piece of designer paper / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Cut ribbon pieces about 5 inches (13 cm.) long. You'll trim them shorter later, but you need enough ribbon to be able to tie it into the ties.

If you want to do full bows, you'll need closer to 9 inches (24 cm).

A few pieces of ribbon cut at 5 inches / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

(The width of the ribbon affects the length you need. If your ribbon is narrower and thinner, you'll need less because the ribbon is more flexible. Wider, thicker ribbon needs to be longer.)

Tie on your ribbon with only one tie ~ or knot ~ as shown below. For most ribbons, one knot is all that's needed. If it's slick, thick, or doesn't seem like it'll stay on, double-knot it. The ribbons will be so crammed on, they're not going to go anywhere.

First ribbon tied onto the top of a can pull-ring / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

I like my ribbon ends cut at an angle, but cut them however you prefer.

Continue tying on more and more ribbons. The more ties you have on there, the less space there'll be in the ring to pull them through, so in the photo below, I'm using tweezers to pull the ribbon-tip through the ring.

It's also easier, the more you get on there, to insert them from inside the ring and pull them to the outside. (Reversed from what I've shown in the photo below because I hadn't figured this out yet!)

Keep pushing your tied-on ribbons around to one or both sides of the ring as you go so that you have more room to insert your new ones.

First 3 ribbons tied onto the top of a can pull-ring; pulling in a fourth / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Tie on as many or few as you like! No rules! After all your ribbons are tied on, trim the ribbon edges ~ which I call "giving it a haircut." No need to get them all the same length; having the sizes vary is great!

Trimming ribbons on top of a can pull-ring / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

I used my Butterfly Thinlets Die to die-cut a black butterfly and attached it on top using glue dots. I also added a few rhinestones down the middle for some bling!

The top of a Can of Comfort / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /




You don't have to have a belly band; the paper covering the can could be all the decoration there is. This one is pretty without adding anything else:

Organizing Kit-in-a-Can - no belly-band / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

I just happen to like the added touch of a belly band around the middle, plus it helps keep the paper on the can more securely in place.

I've made my belly bands with various types of papers as well as ribbons, stickers, and roses.

My cardstock base is often a strip of cardstock that coordinates with the decor of the can. I make it 1/4 inch longer around so it'll overlap a bit. This is the light blue strip in the photo below.

Can of Comfort - full can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

I put a contrasting punched piece over the blue. The lacy guava piece above was punched with a now-retired Stampin' Up punch*, then I tied a ribbon over that into a bow, and attached a fabric rose (with a couple of glue dots) to the middle of the bow.

[* This punch (pictured) could be used instead. Use it to punch two narrow strips the width of your belly band (plus that 1/4 inch for overlap); attach both of these to the top and bottom of a 1/2" strip of cardstock.]

Or you could use any border punch you have on hand!

Here's the baby gift-in-a-can I made with similar ideas:

Baby Gift in a Can / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

As you can see in several of the projects, it's handy to be able to cut straight lines quickly and easily. I use my Stampin' Up's Paper Trimmer ALL the time, and highly recommend it! This one is extra-wide and can cut 12-inch paper and my favorite part: the ruler and grid are protected by a durable clear plastic cover, so the lines will never wear off! It includes storage compartments for Bone Folders and more. I loooove it! I've used several different paper trimmers over the years, and this one FAR exceeds them all! It's well worth the $30!)

Stampin' Up Paper Trimmer / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

And here are two similar-but-different belly bands on my Christmas cans:

Christmas Gift-in-a-Can - green, with red belly-band / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Instead of tying a ribbon around the can, I just tied a bow and attached it with glue dots.

Christmas Gift-in-a-Can - rose-red, with green & red belly-band / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It  (Part 3) /

Both of these could be any-other themed cans by using different colors on the belly band. For example, the green can could have yellow, gold, and/or blue, and the rose-red can could have purple.

The dimensions for all belly bands are easy to figure out: just measure around the middle and add 1/4 inch.



Here are the cans I made for our three daughters for Christmas, and the matching daughter beneath each can:

Top 2/3 of three Christmas Gift-in-a-Cans + the 3 daughters I gave them to / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It (Part 3) /

And the full view of those three cans:​

3 Christmas Gift-in-a-Cans, full view / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It (Part 3) /

And here are six more finished cans:

6 Gift-in-a-Cans / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It (Part 3) /

As you can see, I used the same format for all the belly bands, but with different papers, embellishments, colors and punches.

You'll also want to add some sort of tag. That's coming up in the next post in this series: Gift-in-a-Can: Filling, Sealing, & Tagging It (Part 4)!

If you want to see what has been and what's to come in this series before heading to Part 4, here's the...



All 5 parts of the Gift-in-a-Can series + YOU ARE HERE / Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It (Part 3) /

  • Gift-in-a-Can: Themes & Contents (Part 1) - I present 24 great ideas for gift-in-a-can themes that you probably wouldn't have thought of, but will hopefully love! It's sure to get your creative juices flowing!


Hexa-pic of Gift-in-a-Can: Decorating It (Part 3) /

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