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5 Ways To Use Vintage Kitchen Canisters

By Rachel

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Last Updated on December 13, 2023 by Rachel Granholm

Function and purpose is the name of the game when it comes to kitchen canisters. I’m excited to tell you about 5 ways to use vintage kitchen canisters!

Vintage kitchen canisters appeal to antique collectors and home decorating aficionados alike due to the wide variety of colors and styles. These canisters are just as useful today as they were in decades past and so cute to boot!

Today’s blog will teach you a little bit about the history of food canisters, the styles they come in, and 5 creative ways to use vintage kitchen canisters.

Kitchen and food canisters have been a part of the American kitchen since the middle of the 19th century. The popularity of these canisters has stood the test of time throughout the 20th century and still going strong!

The earliest canisters were made of tin and were sold by traveling merchants or at small country stores.

a variety of vintage tin canisters

Tin canisters for coffee and tea were listed as kitchen essentials in the year 1849. The tin canisters usually had printed or painted designs on them and sometimes you will find company logos or names on them due to advertising.

You can find vintage tin canisters at antique stores today selling for between $30 to well over $200.

Later in the 19th century and throughout the 20th century, glass and ceramic canisters were extremely popular.

Because of the many variations provided by these materials, it helped homemakers find a canister set that matched any color scheme or decor style in their homes.

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Colored depression glass, milk glass, and clear pressed glass were popular in the early 20th century. Hoosier cabinets and other kinds of baking cabinets typically came with a set of glass canisters to go on the cabinet shelves.

Later, ceramic canisters became popular from manufacturers like Fiesta. Due to the huge array of colors, these canisters were widely adored.

Pricing for this category depends on the material, rarity, and age of the canister. Hoosier glass canisters can range from $20-$80 while the vintage ceramic canisters come in around $50.

Enamel canisters, my favorite type, were wildly popular in the middle of the 20th century.

These canisters were typically quite colorful and are very collectible today. You can find small sets for around $40 and large, complete groups of enamel canisters for around $200. The knobs on enamel canisters can include Bakelite and other early plastics as well as wood, metal or glass.

Lastly, as quality plastic became more readily available in the 1950’s, kitchenware companies took advantage of that and started producing sets out of plastic.

There are many cute and colorful plastic canisters to be found from the 1950’s-the 1970’s. These plastic canisters typically will represent the decor style and colors of that decade, for example, canisters from the 1950’s will appear in soft pink, light blue, and light sea green.

1970’s colors included orange and brown (think Brady Bunch!) Vintage plastic canister sets can be found for between $15-$50.

When looking for these fun vintage canisters, antique stores are great places to start as well as garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.

If you find a canister or a whole set that you love and cannot live without but aren’t sure how you will use them your home, here are some ideas.

5 Ways to Use Vintage Kitchen Canisters

  1. In a craft room- to hold paintbrushes, yarn, stencils, etc…
  2.  Laundry room storage- for clothespins, rags, or cleaning products.
  3.  Bathroom storage- for hair ties, bobby pins, headbands, or jewelry.
  4.  Planters- these canisters make really pretty planters for faux or fresh flowers!
  5. As a vignette- they look pretty as a collection on top of kitchen cabinets.vintage kitchen decor on a wooden peg shelf

Closing Tidbits

These canisters, in any of the materials listed above and from any era, add a touch of vintage to any room in your home. Sometimes they will show up in places that you least expect them to be, like at a thrift store for $2!

However you choose to use your canisters, you will not be disappointed as to how much joy they will bring to you and to others. I hope these 5 creative ways to use vintage kitchen canisters was an encouragement for you.

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If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more.

Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

Hey! I’m Rachel!

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique, vintage, and thrifted. Let’s journey together!

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